Neil D. Ostroff's Blog

December 15, 2014

Finishing a new book is like giving birth to a child (yeah, I know this analogy has been done to death). And as I finish my latest, I’m feeling especially proud of my newest child. Not only for the accomplishment of finishing my twelfth book but because it is exactly the book (and baby) that I wanted to write.

What do I mean by this? Since I indie published my first book in 2011, I’m been slowly catering my plots and stories to what I want to write and not the stories I think will sell the most amount of copies. When I had my NY agent he got disillusioned with me because I could not keep in the same genre. I would write a sci-fi one year and a thriller the next. He even disliked DROP OUT, a romantic suspense, which has gone on to be my best seller at over 25,000 copies sold.

Indie writing is the best of all worlds. I can write what I want about forbidden topics, people, places, and deeds, without scrutiny. I can write in any genre without fear that months of work could be denied even a chance at publication because of simply writing in the wrong genre at the wrong time. I can write for the pure love of storytelling without worry that a scene might be too intense or the message too controversial.

AS IT IS IN HEAVEN is complete and should be available no later than the New Year. It is an inspiration thriller, if there is such a genre? It doesn’t matter that the book doesn’t fit the norm, what matters is the book got written and the message is available for anyone to read without worry if the book will sell enough copies to keep the editor and publisher in business.

Please check out my blog ALWAYS WRITING to learn more about my books and myself.

http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com
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Published on December 15, 2014 11:23 • 2 views • Tags: books, fiction-books, literary-fiction-books, romance-novel

December 2, 2014

Sitting down for the final full read of my latest book AS IT IS IN HEAVEN, I am reminded of the events leading to this point. Although the book is not as long as I envisioned (only @ 20,000 words) the novella has communicated the story I wished to express. It is complete.

I wrote the first sentence to this novella on April 12th 2014. I wrote what I consider to be the last completed scene on December 1st 2014. This is an usually long time for me to write a novella, but the intensity of the subject matter warranted more complex thought than my usual fast-paced, action thrillers and sci-fi. This book will change reader’s lives.

In my complete immersion into this story I have come to neglect my other ten books and have done little in the way of marketing and promoting them. My sales have dropped off because of this. However, I believe the sacrifice was worth it. This latest novella is just that spiritually life changing.

As I get ready for the format and book design process I am excited that I can now spend the cold winter months re-emerging into the indie publishing world. I do have an outline for book #2 in THE END TIME SERIES and will probably dabble a bit with a first draft, but my main drive is going to be promotion.

Discussing AS IT IS IN HEAVEN with Anne Rice (yes, the Anne Rice) I believe I may have a big-ticket winner on my hands. She liked the concept of the novella and especially liked the title. And she is someone who knows the business.

So, as I’m heating up my coffee and adjusting the lights in my office to the highest illumination, I begin the final read. There’s even a few flakes of snow dropping from the sky. Perfect.

Please check out my blog ALWAYS WRITING to learn more about my books and myself.

http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com
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Published on December 02, 2014 11:20 • 9 views • Tags: books, fiction-books, literary-fiction-books, romance-novel

November 23, 2014

As I’m putting the finishing touches on my latest novella, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN, I am also getting ready to spend the winter months holed up and marketing my other twelve books. I do this intensive marketing every year around this time because the cold weather keeps me inside and guilt free.

I’ve been reading a lot of writer’s forums lately and there seems to be a bit of pessimism in the air regarding the state of indie publishing and publishing in general. Mark Coker CEO of Smashwords just came out with his annual predictions for the industry and it does not shine a very bright light. http://blog.smashwords.com/2013/12/20... He believes the market has become oversaturated. The enormous sales growth of ebooks that indie authors have enjoyed the last few years may come to a screeching halt. What does this mean for me and all the other indie writers?

It is true that my sales have slowed over the last year. When I published my first book nearly four years ago, it was an open market on the internet. Book promotion sites were few and inexpensive to advertise on and I would get tremendous sales from a few small ads. In recent years however, the internet has exploded with reader friendly sites that charge authors huge promotion fees to reach a subpar, book buying audience. Many of these new sites claim the newbie author will see a big jump in sales for an atrocious fee. I have tried a few of these sites out of curiosity and let me tell you, there is almost no return on investment when you have to sell five hundred books to recoup your fee.

So what do we authors do? Giving up the craft is not an option. Either is spending our life savings on advertising. I suggest we just keep at it. If you’re the type of author who cannot stop writing whether you are selling or not, then I say don’t. Keep publishing your books and sending them out into the cyber-world. Who cares if the market is flooded? Who cares if inexperienced authors with terrible books are buying up all the advertising spots? Do the writing because you love the writing. This will give you all the satisfaction you need.

Less than one percent of all published authors make a living solely on books sales. Those who don’t, write for the personal enjoyment. If you’re lucky enough to sell a few books, or many thousands (as I have), rejoice in the fact that total strangers are willingly entering the worlds you created from mere thought. And if you end up selling millions well, you deserve it!

Please check out my blog ALWAYS WRITING to learn more about my books and myself.


http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com
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Published on November 23, 2014 12:31 • 2 views • Tags: books, fiction-books, literary-fiction-books, romance-novel

November 20, 2014

Is it cold where you are? Is air carrying a bit of a chill? How about getting a little chillier with a good book? FROSTPROOF is available free for one more day on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0083WSXL0

In the mood for a little more chill. DEGENERATES is also free until tomorrow on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007FFN5LY

Completely snowed in? Hello Buffalo! My four-book Omnibus of thrillers is a Kindle Countdown deal right now! That’s four books for just $1.99!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KY57LY4

Light a fire, grab a blanket, and curl up with a good story. You deserve it.
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Published on November 20, 2014 09:04 • 5 views • Tags: books, fiction-books, literary-fiction-books, romance-novel

November 12, 2014

Being a writer means experiencing dizzying highs and terrifying lows as a novel transforms from mere idea bubbling in the brain into reality on the page. There are times when you believe that everything you’ve written is total crap and there are times when a character reveals something or does something that you hadn’t expected and you find yourself on this emotional high.

Emotions can swing greatly from one day to the next (sometimes hourly). Today is a good day however, because people have purchased copies of my 12 published books, which for me, is the reason I write.

Sure, I’m happy for a big fat royalty check, but I think for many artists and musicians having an audience for your work is as soul-satisfying as hitting it big. If I never write another word, I’ll always be happy in the knowledge that all the time I’ve spent alone writing has been worth it.

I wish I could appropriately express how it feels to not only entertain readers with stories that I love writing, but for readers to think highly enough of my work to shell out their hard earned cash to retain a copy for themselves. Thanks to all my readers for making this possible.

To read more about myself and my books please check out my blog: ALWAYS WRITING. Much appreciated.
http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com
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Published on November 12, 2014 12:23 • 4 views • Tags: books, fiction-books, literary-fiction-books, romance-novel

November 6, 2014

Since I started my blog ALWAYS WRITING nearly four years ago, I never in my dreams thought that it would receive several hundred thousand views. My base of followers has grown steadily and my page views per day are increasing nearly every week. I would like to thank all of my followers and interested readers for that.

Looking back years ago at my first few posts, I can clearly see an old-soul writer trying to understand a twenty-first century technological world. Many of those first articles dealt with my discovery of indie publishing and lamenting about how I had spent decades trying to make it in the regular publishing community. I wrote about my former NY agent and the many close calls we had together. I discussed my writing past and my obsession with the craft. But mostly, what is fascinating about reading my old posts is experiencing my journey from first indie published book up to my latest novel, which will be my thirteenth.

There have been a lot of rollercoaster up’s and down’s along the way to readership. The lowest was the day after I parted with my agent and the heartbreaking decision I made then to give up the writing dream and spend my time doing other things. The highest, the day I checked my Amazon stats and saw that I had sold my first book as an independent author; that book soon becoming dozens sold, and then hundreds, until eventually several of my books briefly reaching below the 100 rank in the entire Amazon store.

This blog has chronicled my frustrations and elations as each of my books (those I’d written in the past and those I wrote after discovering indie publishing) has been published and unleashed into the cyberworld. It is an electronic diary from extreme novice to current book-selling author. A nearly forty year adventure writing stories and finding an audience to enjoy them currently packed into 421 posts. Since my first blog post about my new author’s website (now defunct) to my latest post about an awesome new five-star review, this blog chronicles a writer’s life in the current world. If you’re already a follower then thank you for listening, and if you’re a curious reader stumbling upon me or writer just checking me out, I invite to join this blog and journey with me through the new author indie revolution.

Please check out my blog ALWAYS WRITING to learn more about my books and myself.

http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com
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Published on November 06, 2014 11:30 • 3 views • Tags: books, fiction-books, literary-fiction-books, romance-novel

October 24, 2014

Nice new review for DROP OUT. The book is really affecting lives!

Read what Kindle Nation Daily called "the sleeper hit of the year" what Kindle Fire Department called, "riveting, touching, and deeply heartwarming, a book that will stay with you forever"; an Indie Book of the Day winner in 2012.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005FX0K7U


5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary, moving story of loss and rebirth., October 23, 2014
By
Pete Barber (Lake Lure, NC) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase (What's this?)
This review is from: Drop Out (Kindle Edition)

This novel was a real roller-coaster ride. Opening at the moment on 9/11 when the planes hit the twin towers, the author takes us inside those buildings, and the action sequence, the fear and chaos and emotions had me turning pages well past my bedtime. The loss suffered by the main character during that terrible day plunges him and us into a desperate unforgiving dip from which he can only be rescued by a second disaster (natural this time). I don't want to put any spoilers in, but I highly recommend that you read this story--it will move you and also renew your faith in human resilience.
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Published on October 24, 2014 12:08 • 6 views • Tags: books, fiction-books, literary-fiction-books, romance-novel

October 20, 2014

A few days have passed since my Kindle Books and Tips promotion for DROP OUT http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005FX0K7U has finished and I must say the results weren’t that bad. Though I have said in the past that I don’t believe paid promotion on websites has a return on investment and are good for exposure purposes only, this one seems to have paid out.

DROP OUT sold several dozen more copies on that day than it usually does so I must attribute that to the sponsorship. With so many writers and book sites on the internet, readers are being bombarded by suggestions, and with the explosion of the indie movement there are an infinite number of titles to choose. To find a reasonably priced promotional opportunity that actually got me results is like finding a tiny diamond in a desert of sand.

Of course, good secrets don’t last long when there is a worldwide audience at your fingertips and I’m guessing that the more exposure the site gets the more competition to get in; hence, the prices may rise. I will say I am a bit disappointed in one of my other ‘go to’ sites for visible results; Ereader News Today. They went from a commission based advertising platform to charging a flat rate. Instead of being selective in their titles, now anyone can purchase. I did extremely well advertising with ENT before the format change and even got DROP OUT below the 500 rank in the entire Kindle store for a few days. Now, they don’t even have an open spot for months.

All in all, I may change my opinion on the paid advertising websites front and put a little money in more advertising. There are still a few sites out there that are more interested in highlighting quality books over the quantity of authors willing to pay to see their books on websites. At least for the moment, Kindle Books and Tips appear to be one of them.

To learn more about my books and myself, please check out my blog: ALWAYS WRITING.

http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com
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Published on October 20, 2014 11:49 • 3 views • Tags: books, fiction-books, literary-fiction-books, romance-novel

October 6, 2014

Woke up this morning to the first frost of the year. It’s winter writing time. I always look forward to the cold and snow and the isolation they bring. Though I do enjoy the sun, swimming, and warmth of summer it is not my best season for being creative. I found there’s nothing more stimulating than punching out a story while a snowstorm rages outside.

Winter is also the time when I do my best and most prolific marketing and promotion of my books. It’s always hard to spend hours plugging descriptions and links onto writer sites when it’s a balmy eighty degrees, but seeing frost on the window keeps me focused. My best sellers, DROP OUT, DEGENERATES, and FROSTPROOF were all written during the winter months. There’s just something about the grayness of the season that makes me more colorful on the page.

So, as I sit here writing this, wrapped in a sweat suit, sweatshirt, and blanket, I can’t help but wonder what creativity this winter season will bring. My latest novella AS IT IS IN HEAVEN is nearly complete and I have four months coming of chilly isolation to fill. Will I write a thriller, science fiction novel, or another literary? I guess I’ll have to see what the muse offers.

To learn more about my books and myself, please check out my blog: ALWAYS WRITING.

http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com
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Published on October 06, 2014 11:49 • 4 views • Tags: books, fiction-books, literary-fiction-books, romance-novel

September 29, 2014

When you buy a book in a bookstore, what do you look for? Is it the cover that attracts you? The fiery description on the back? The author’s profile picture? With ebooks, consumers can’t take it off the shelf and feel its texture, skim through the pages, or get a sense of the thickness and how long it will take to read. They must rely on the ‘look inside’ feature, good unbiased reviews, a blurb that excites and entices, and the promise of a captivating story to make their decision.


Ebooks are forever. Think about this sentence for a moment. You write a novel, get it formatted, design a nice cover, obtain an ISBN, and then download it onto Kindle, or Smashwords, or any of the hundreds of ebook distributors, and it’s available globally to anyone with an ereader. Not only that, it will be available until the end of time. Fifty years from now I’ll be able to show my great grandchildren my books; they’ll type in the title or my name and poof, there they will be. Talk about immortalizing yourself for all eternity. Isn’t that what art is all about?


I am very lucky to be living in an age where I can imprint myself onto the world and be remembered forever through my books. I do feel for all the paperback writers throughout the last decades whose hard work and effort only got them a six-week shelf life for their masterpiece to hit it and if it didn’t it would disappear forever, going out of print and into the paper shredder.


With ebooks I may still be getting royalties when I’m a hundred. I can write and publish what I want and let the worldwide public decide if the book is good or deserving of the litter box. All without worry that the story is being evaluated for the amount of profit it might generate rather than the mind-blowing experience of the story, as is the case with how the big publishing houses (those that still remain) do business.


My novels won’t sit stacked on some shelf in the back of a dusty old bookstore (if bookstores exist in the future), they will always be fresh and ready for download, ready to draw new readers into noir, eccentric, and illusionary worlds. It’s an incredibly comforting thought knowing my stories will be around forever like the mythology of ancient Greece or fables and folklore of olden times. Ebooks will define me as a novelist until the end of humanity. I can live peacefully knowing my legacy.


To read more about myself and my books please check out my blog: ALWAYS WRITING

http://www.neilostroff.blogspot.com
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Published on September 29, 2014 12:37 • 3 views • Tags: books, fiction-books, literary-fiction-books, romance-novel