Grigory’s Gadget Dream Cast

Every author dreams, at least a little bit, that their book will some day get adapted to the big screen. Here is my dream cast for a Grigory’s Gadget movie!

Cara Delevingne

Zoya Orlova played by Cara Delevigne

Just have to dye that hair purple ūüėČ

Aimee carrero

Anya Filipova played by Aimee Carrero

Summer Bishil

Lilia Alkaeva played by Summer Bishil

Ansel Elgort

Demyan Volkov played by Ansel Elgort

Jessie T Usher

Nikolai Polzin played by Jessie T. Usher

Bryan Cranston

Captain Edward Sokoll played by Bryan Cranston

Nicholas Hoult

Alexi Sokoll played by Nicholas Hoult

Lucy Lawless

Captain Snezhana Krupina played by Lucy Lawless

Naveen Andrews

Pavel played by Naveen Andrews

Keke Palmer

Tonya played by Keke Palmer

Oscar Isaac

Yeremiy Robertov played by Oscar Isaac

Neil Patrick Harris

Gotfrid played by Neil Patrick Harris

Daniel Dae Kim

Adam played by Daniel Dae Kim

David OHara

Igor played by David O’Hara

Isaac Hempstead Wright

Pyotr played by Isaac Hempstead Wright

What do you think of this cast? Are there any actors/actresses you think would be better for different characters? Let me know!

One Year After Publishing Grigory’s Gadget – What I’ve Learned

Sunday, March 12th, marks one year since Grigory’s Gadget was published!

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Since about a year has passed since publication (wow!), I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned in terms of writing, publishing, marketing, and more.

In terms of writing, I’ve discovered that it gets a lot harder after publishing a book! There’s an added pressure that simply doesn’t exist if you’re an unpublished author. Now I need to finish the next book – people are waiting! I can’t just push it aside for months or years, nor can I switch gears to work on a different project. Well, I could, I guess. But my personality won’t allow it!

One thing that surprised me about this process is which distribution channels sold the most books. Most information on the internet would suggest that eBooks are the way to go in this regard. However, as you can see on the chart below, I’ve sold almost a majority of my books through vending events and consignment.

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I have attended 8 vending events since publishing Grigory’s Gadget (and I have two more this month!). These events, combined with selling books by word-of-mouth, have proven to be the best way to get my book out there.

Smashwords was my second-most successful distribution channel, thanks in large part to their sale events they have multiples times per year. Amazon, via Kindle Direct Publishing for eBooks and CreateSpace for paperbacks, was also successful.  Books sold through Indiegogo and Amazon were pre-sale books. IngramSpark by far is the least successful distribution channel. I still suggest that self-publish authors utilize this channel, however, if you have any interest in getting your book into brick-and-mortar stores.

Another factor that contributes to the success, or lack-there-of, of each distribution channel is the fact that I haven’t done much in the way of advertising. I’ve dabbled a bit in Facebook and Amazon ads, but never saw an impressive return on either. I’ve done a couple interviews, and had my book reviewed on a few blogs. I’ve also started to utilize Newsletter Swap, which actually seems to have boosted my sales quite a bit. (By the way, if you haven’t already, you should join my email list!)

For now, I still won’t be putting a lot of money and effort into advertising, since writing is still a (passionate) hobby for me. For the time being, most of my writing-related efforts will be directed toward the actual act of writing. I need to finish the first draft of Serafima’s Stone!

Have you grabbed a copy of Grigory’s Gadget? In celebration of its anniversary, Grigory’s Gadget will be on sale throughout the month of March!

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Find the eBook on Amazon and Smashwords!

Get the discounted paperback through my CreateSpace eStore using the code 8CAZ5J8X!

Fantasy & Sci-Fi Network Christmas Sale

This weekend, December 17th and 18th, the Fantasy & Sci-Fi Network is hosting their annual Christmas Sale!

All weekend, authors of fantasy and science fiction novels, novellas, and short stories will be having awesome deals. Books will be either discounted or free, and there will also be giveaways and chances to talk with the authors! The sales will be posted in the Facebook event and on the Fantasy & Sci-Fi Network website. Grigory’s Gadget is on sale for $0.99 until the end of the month on Amazon and Smashwords!

I’ll be hosting the event on Sunday December 18th from 12 to 1 pm EST. You’ll be able to find me on the Facebook event page, or on Twitter using the hashtag #FSFNet. Feel free to ask me any questions about Grigory’s Gadget, writing, reading, or anything else! I have some questions/prompts ready to go to get the conversation rolling, but feel free to chime in with whatever topic you want!

Machine Work by Hopie Chan

Meet the Characters: Zoya Orlova

(Image Credit: Machine Work by Hopie Chan)

For this series, I’m going to delve into the characters of Grigory’s Gadget in the style of those fun/silly surveys that pop-up on social media from time-to-time. I’ll also include name pronunciation, because I know a lot of people have been asking about that! (That being said, you can pronounce the names of my characters however you like, I’ll just be listing the “official” pronunciation) First off, the main character: Zoya Orlova.

WARNING: Mild spoilers for Grigory’s Gadget contained in this post!

Name: Zoya Orlova (ZOY-ah or-LOH-va, alternatively ZOY-ah OR-loh-va)

Name Meaning: Zoya – Russian form of Zoe, meaning “life”; Orlova – feminine form of Orlov meaning “son of Oryol”, oryol meaning “eagle”

Age: early 20s

Physical Appearance: Pale freckled skin, violet curly hair, gray eyes, thin but muscular

Hometown: Lodninsk, Morozhia (LOHD-ninsk, moh-ROHZH-ya)

Family: Only child and orphan; mother was murdered when Zoya was young, father committed suicide not long after; she was raised by her grandmother, who passed away from lung cancer while Zoya was in college

Relationship Status: in a relationship with Demyan Volkov

Education: studying engineering, with a focus on steam engines

Religion: None

Greatest Strengths: Loyal, quick-thinking

Greatest Weaknesses: Rash, quick to anger

Favorite Color: Teal

Hobbies: Tinkering, “dance lessons” (secret code which actually refers to sword fighting lessons)

Biggest Goal in Life: Settle down somewhere peaceful, warm, and free surrounded by friends

Grigory’s Gadget Book Launch in Review

Last Saturday (March 12) was the Launch for Grigory’s Gadget – Book 1 of the Gaslight Frontier Series! It was held at Mermaid & Weasel in Buffalo, NY, and it was a great success! I actually sold out of my books (oops!), but more on that below.

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Along with my book, I also sold my homemade Grigory’s Gadget candles (in the scent Mulled Cider and Chestnuts…mmmmm…) and my custom-blended Grigory’s Gadget teas from Adagio.
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I wound up doing two readings: one of the opening scene of the book, and one of the scene where my characters are first abducted by pirates!

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And, yes, I sold out of books. On the one hand, that’s great! On the other hand, I wouldn’t have sold out so quickly if 12% of the books I had ordered from IngramSpark didn’t have cover defects. 5 of the 50 books I had ordered were not cut properly, and so had a white line along the edge. A 6th book looked like it had been run over by a car: there were large black streaks across the cover!

I filed a claims with IngramSpark about these books, but did not hear back from them until after my Launch event. They will be replacing those 6 books, and I don’t have to return the defects (I’ll be selling those at a discount). It would have been nice to know that before Launch day…

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If you’re interested in grabbing a copy of Grigory’s Gadget, it’s available in paperback form from my eStore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble, and in eBook form on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and iTunes.

Check out these reviews of Grigory’s Gadget:

I also did an interview with the Steampunk Cavaliers HERE.

Grigory’s Gadget Launch Day!

Tomorrow (March 12)¬†is Launch Day for Grigory’s Gadget – Book 1 of the Gaslight Frontier Series! You’ll be able to¬†find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Smashwords, and Kobo! You can also get the paperback through my CreateSpace eStore. It’s also on Goodreads!

If you’re in Western New York, stop by Mermaid & Weasel on Main Street in Buffalo for my book launch event (along with their store anniversary party!). I’ll have copies of Grigory’s Gadget to sign and sell, along with Grigory’s Gadget-themed tea, candles, and t-shirts!

Here are a couple reviews of Grigory’s Gadget:

I also did an interview with the Steampunk Cavaliers HERE!

CreateSpace vs. IngramSpark – My Experience

CreateSpace (Amazon’s self-publishing platform) and IngramSpark (Ingram’s/Lightning Source’s self-publishing platform) are probably the most popular sites to self-publish print-on-demand (POD) books, and they both have their pros and cons. I decided to utilize both sites for my novel, Grigory’s Gadget, for several reasons:

  • Publishing through CreateSpace:
    • Title set up is free, unlike through IngramSpark
    • Your royalties will be higher per book sold on Amazon
    • The cost to¬†order copies of your own book is less than through IngramSpark
    • It’s very user friendly
  • Publishing through IngramSpark:
    • Books are distributed through Ingram, which is what brick-and-mortar stores use to order books
    • Books are returnable, which means brick-and-mortar stores are much more likely to stock your book

Those are the pros of each website that I knew going in. Now that I’ve submitted my book through both sites, received physical proofs, and am preparing to officially publish (Grigory’s Gadget will be on sale in just over a week – on March 12!), here is my experience:

  • Title Set Up
    • CreateSpace
      • As I said above, title set up is free
      • The process is very straightforward and user-friendly
    • IngramSpark
      • Title set up is $49, but this fee is waived if you order 50+ copies of your book within 60 days of set up
      • The process is still very straightforward; basically, it just doesn’t look as flashy as CreateSpace
  • Proofing my book
    • CreateSpace
      • Once I uploaded my files, I was able to digitally review them almost immediately, via a very cool online proof page that even shows my book in a 3D view
      • I was able to order my proof less than 24 hours after submitting my files, and the book was printed and shipped only a few hours later (impressive!)
      • I received my proof 5 days¬†(which included¬†a weekend) after ordering
      • LESSON I LEARNED: Do NOT OK your proof until you’re ready for your book to be officially on-sale. I had my book on pre-sale with a set publishing date. CreateSpace doesn’t care what you say your publishing date is – if you finish submitting your book, it will put it on sale. If you have a set publication date, just let the book sit there until a couple days prior to that date.
    • IngramSpark
      • Once I uploaded my files, it took less than 24 hours for them to be approved and for a PDF proof file to be generated
      • At that time, I was also able to order my physical proof
      • I¬†received my proof¬†7 days¬†(including a weekend)¬†after ordering.

Now for the side-by-side comparison of my proofs! For both CreateSpace and IngramSpark I used a 5×8 trim size, matte cover, and cream paper. In the following images, CreateSpace is on the left and IngramSpark is on the right.

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Front Cover: The covers are almost indistinguishable (in the photo above, the CreateSpace book looks a bit darker only because of the way the light hit it; the darkness levels on both are actually about identical). The main difference I noticed is that the CreateSpace cover feels a bit smoother, while the IngramSpark cover feels slightly more rubbery. The CreateSpace cover also shows fingerprints more prominently, as can be seen in the next photo:

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Back Cover: I will admit I leave fingerprints pretty readily on everything, but they definitely don’t hide on the CreateSpace cover! Another obvious difference for the back cover is that CreateSpace reserves that specific bottom-right corner for its bar code, while IngramSpark lets you float the bar code pretty much wherever you want. It’s also smaller. Not a big deal, but something a cover artist would obviously have to consider.

Another note: the IngramSpark back cover doesn’t appear to have been trimmed properly – you can see the thin white line at the bottom. I called IngramSpark’s customer service to request a new proof to confirm it was just a printing error (and one that wouldn’t repeat). I was on hold for an hour (!) but once I got ahold of a representative, she was very helpful and ordered a second proof for me (I didn’t have to pay for the second proof). The second proof looked fine. I’ve since ordered 50 copies of my book from IngramSpark, and have found one other copy (so far) with a similar printing error. I’ll be contacting them again once I take a complete tally of the quality of all 50 books. I’m a little disappointed here: IngramSpark is supposed to be the higher-quality and more professional POD site.

Map Image: I have a map image for my book, as shown above. There’s a pretty clear difference between CreateSpace and IngramSpark here: IngramSpark’s image has a much crisper, higher-contrast image. That said, it’s not like the CreateSpace image is awful. It’s just not as good ūüėČ

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Interior: The first thing I noticed was actually something I did NOT notice: a notable difference in the paper colors. I’ve read a lot of complaints that CreateSpace’s paper is super yellow, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Maybe they’ve changed paper recently? A big difference between the two books is the text. The IngramSpark text is sharper and darker, but it’s also a little glossy (you can actually see that in the photo). So I guess, it’s easier to read unless you’re reading under harsh light? The other difference I noticed is that the IngramSpark paper is very smooth vs. the CreateSpace paper which has more texture to it.

Overall: The IngramSpark book is definitely the higher-quality book, with the exception of the cover printing issues. That being said, the CreateSpace book is definitely not bad. You really can’t tell the difference between them unless you’re doing a side-by-side comparison like this.

  • Preorder Process
    • CreateSpace
      • Short answer: there isn’t a preorder option. And DO NOT approve the proof of your book until you’re ready for it to be on sale!
      • Long answer: there’s KIND OF a preorder option. I’m not sure why Amazon hasn’t consolidated this convoluted process, but here’s the gist of it: When you’re ready to start a preorder for your book, you need to make an account with Amazon Advantage. This is one of their vendor sites (different than Amazon Marketplace; I don’t know what the exact differences are because I’ve only used Advantage). Then you set up your book there with all of its information, set the publication date, and put it on preorder. Once your order is processed, Amazon will request copies to stock in its warehouse(s) (the amount varies, presumably based on some algorithm or other). You don’t need to send them anything – for every order, you just say the product isn’t ready yet. Once the publication date draws near, you need to contact Advantage and let them know that CreateSpace will be fulfilling all of the orders. It’s convoluted and dumb, and I would think a company like Amazon would have streamlined it by now. Oh well.
    • IngramSpark
      • During the title set up, you enter the publication date. Once you approve your files, IngramSpark puts your book on preorder until that publication date. Easy peasy.
    • Note on publishing through both CreateSpace and IngramSpark
      • First off, DO NOT enable Expanded Distribution on CreateSpace if you’re using both. For the Expanded Distribution, CreateSpace sources through Lightning Source anyway, so just let IngramSpark take care of that side of distribution
      • Second, make sure to watch your book listings on Amazon when you start your preorder and/or publish your book, since both CreateSpace and IngramSpark distribute to Amazon. If the books have the same ISBN, they should play nice and not create redundant pages. Sometimes that doesn’t happen, though, but all you need to do is contact Amazon and they will fix it for you ūüôā

Moving forward, I think I will definitely use CreateSpace again in the future. I’m not quite as sold on IngramSpark, due to the increase costs and the cover issues. To be fair, though, I haven’t yet ordered 50 copies from CreateSpace – they may have the same inconsistency issues.