About Jason M. Brooks

Jason is an avid reader, a published author, an inconsistent blogger, a dabbler in the art of video production, and an expert in self-publishing. In 2009, Jason self-published his first book, and since then, has helped other authors bring their passion to life in print, eBook, and audio book formats. Jason has published over 100 titles between himself and various writers, and has helped numerous authors build and launch their author platform. Jason enjoys sharing his experiences and knowledge with fellow writers on his blog at www.jasonmbrooks.com.

Production Notes: Wild Space: Reclamation

Wild Space Reclamation is the second book in the Wild Space Series One series written by author Jason M. Brooks

Wild Space: Reclamation continues on after the events of Wild Space: Onslaught. I thought about jumping the series ahead a few weeks, but I didn’t want to lose that survival aspect to the series so soon. So, the crew ends up just days into their plight with nothing to use to repair their ship. That helps set the stage for so much in this second book of the series.

In Reclamation, we get to know the characters a bit more as each one develops in their own way. Let’s take a quick look at the remaining character bios.

WARNING: The production notes are filled with spoilers from this book and others in the series. If you haven’t read the book yet, please read it before going on. You’ve been warned…

Character Profiles

Lieutenant Gretchen Markson: Gretchen is a fireball who doesn’t take crap from anyone. I loved her moments with Captain Avery in the first book. While Gretchen doesn’t factor in as much in the second book, she has an important role to play in this series. Gretchen begins her career as my version of Lieutenant Uhura from the Original Series of Star Trek. She’s the communication officer with superior linguistic skills.

In the Wild Space Universe, I imagine that the world would have only a handful of dominant languages left. In the series, I call them the Big Five. They are; English, Russian, Chinese, Arabic, and Hebrew. Her gift is being able to speak nearly all of them fluently. My belief is that over time, these five languages would begin to meld and the people of the inhabited worlds in Wild Space would speak in new dialects of the known Big Five. Having Gretchen on board to translate any new languages had great value and that was one of the biggest reasons why John wanted her on this mission.

Marvin Kent: Marvin is a civilian contractor who is in charge of the Deep Space Drive program. His business – which he inherited from his parents – is the brains behind the research that developed this engine. The only reason Marvin is sent along on this mission is because Admiral Goodrich demands it. The Admiral has plans for the next generation of the Deep Space Drive engine and Marvin needs to be there to conduct research.

Marvin is blind to the risks of being on a starship. He was clearly expecting an adventure, but he soon gets more than he bargained for. By the end of the first book, he is thrust into a role of leadership. Does he have what it takes? The second book is going to force him to find out.

Lieutenant Grant Gustafson: Grant is the muscle of the Independence. He’s the top security officer and quickly becomes a friend to Commander Reid. He is fearless and highly skilled, which will come in handy as the series continues. Grant is loyal to those he serves. We’ll see his character grow as the series continues.

TRIVIA: One of my favorite Star Trek episodes ever is one from Star Trek: Enterprise titled Azati Prime. In this episode, the Enterprise is slaughtered in space much like the Independence was. Outnumbered with no way of calling in reinforcements, they are truly on their own to figure out a way to survive. I captured that in the first book and I was desperate to at least have fun with it one more time before getting the Independence back up and running.

Chapter by Chapter Breakdown

Chapter 1: The events of Reclamation pick up right after the events of Onslaught and really, this book could be called Onslaught Part 2. We see Captain Avery laboring with the crew to get the ship back into working order. Michael sees the captain doing things he really shouldn’t be doing. As a young first officer, he’s trying to figure out his role on the ship. Does he protest the captain’s decision to put himself in bodily danger or does he keep his mouth shut?

I wanted to establish two important things in this chapter. Number 1 – This isn’t Star Trek. The men and women in this universe struggle with real human emotions at every turn and they don’t always live in harmony. While John and Michael are working well together, there is friction and it will come to a boiling point later on in the series. Number 2 – The struggle to survive isn’t just about fixing the ship, its about fixing the people on the ship. Everyone has been impacted physically and mentally. Hence the title: Reclamation. This book is about the characters fixing their boat and reclaiming the person they once were before the onslaught.

Chapter 2: Because these are short books, I need to keep the action flowing so John makes his way to the bridge where he finds out that a ship is quickly approaching and he and his crew need to figure out a way to prepare the ship for battle in a matter of hours. I also decided it was time to show that not everyone is dealing with their role reversals in good order.

Marvin Kent is having trouble as the chief engineer. Those in the engineering department are not accepting him as Captain Avery had hoped. I added this conflict between Marvin and his subordinates because in my years in the military I can attest to the need for a leader to gain the trust of his men. I felt that for Marvin to be believable, he would need to run through the gauntlet and prove himself to the men and women who have been placed in his charge. Being that he has no military background at all, makes his acceptance that much more hard.

TRIVIA: As I was writing chapter 2, I realized that this was how I could answer the question of “How do you fix a ship with no spare parts?” The answer is, you hijack a towing vessel and steal the parts from that ship. I’ve tried to recall any movie or sci-fi television show that did something similar. I can’t recall watching anything with that sort of plot, so as of this writing, I believe I came up with something original in sci-fi writings. Feel free to comment below if you can think of something that debunks that thought. I have to believe someone did it at some point in time.

Chapter 3: Lieutenant Kelly Avery isn’t equipped to be the Chief Medical Officer on the Independence. In reality, it should probably be one of the nurses, but for whatever reason, I had her appointed to the position. So, how do I make her believable in her new post? I need to give her the tools to do the work.

Enter, the Emergency Holographic Medical Protocol. This is an interactive computer program that can oversee the most delicate surgeries and continue the teaching the Kelly will need in order to keep the crew healthy. I modeled the EHMP after “The Doctor” on Star Trek Voyager. However, I didn’t want him to become a character himself or it would risk taking away Kelly’s role in this series. The EHMP is a program and nothing more.

I also introduced Lieutenant Travis David in this chapter. His role is light but is important as he plays a pivotal role in Sedition. In this chapter, I give Kelly an opportunity to flex her muscles. I don’t like to write damsel in distress. I also don’t want her to be at the same level as Gretchen, but I want her to hold her own. She gets to do that in this chapter.

Chapter 4: It’s time to take a look inside the head of Marvin. He blames himself for not saving those in the engineering station when the ship was being attacked. His lack of military experience and his self-proclaimed failure under pressure, leaves him weak in front of his chargers. I placed him in a room with Commander Reid so he could have a sounding board to help him work through his issues.

Commander Reid is kind of the quiet leader during this period of time for the ship. Captain Avery seems to be on a death wish, the crew is being insubordinate so certain leaders, and now he’s playing therapist to Marvin Kent. I like seeing this role for Commander Reid as it helps set him apart from Captain Avery and also builds credibility to his leadership skills.

Chapter 5: Chapter 2 hinted at Captain Avery’s plans to capture the enemy ship for parts, and this chapter puts those plans into motion. This is also the chapter where Michael asserts himself as Captain Avery’s right hand man and puts his captain in his place. I knew for Commander Reid to become a believable first officer, he was going to need to flex his muscles. The argument between these two men is the point in which this happens.

TRIVIA: The question needs to be asked, “Why not just take the working ship and abandon the broken ship?” The answer: While I don’t disclose it in any of the books, the reason behind saving the Independence is that the Captain still believes he can get the crew and ship, home. With Marvin on board, there is a good chance that the young man can find a way to rebuild the Deep Space Drive – just in case the E.S.S. Freedom cannot come and rescue them. The design of the Independence is the only design that can support the Deep Space Drive technology.

Chapter 6: This is the point where Marvin Kent seals his place as part of the leadership of this crew. As I mentioned earlier, this book is about reclaiming what was lost. The onslaught was a grave violation on the crew of this ship. Each one is dealing with that violation in different ways. Some are rising, some are falling, and others are plotting. In real life, when we deal with tragedy, we all come out of that tragedy as a different person. Chapter 6 continues the theme of reclamation as we see Marvin relate to his men and women and assert himself as their commanding officer.

Chapter 7: Commander Reid leads the assault on the tow ship and they quickly discover that the Empire has a presence on this ship as well. It isn’t the easy hijacking that they had planned for. During these events, I introduce Lieutenant Grant Gustafson, who will become Commander Reid’s personal ally and I also introduce Buckley and Rogers.

Buckley and Rogers seem like insignificant characters at first, but there is more to them. They display some of the changing attitudes of the crew. There is a lack of respect for those in leadership positions and these two display that in their actions. Furthermore, they also show a lust for vengeance, which is secretly boiling beneath the surface of many members of the crew. Neil discovers this first hand.

Chapter 8: Chapter 8 was about making things click into place. The tow ship provides everything they need to repair Independence and the situation was perfect to give them a way to transfer the engine of the tow ship to the Independence. I wanted to make this nice and tidy so people didn’t ask the question that I mentioned in the trivia above.

TRIVIA: Reclamation provides the setup for Sedition, the next book in Wild Space Series One. As I was writing this book, I hadn’t yet dreamed up the idea of the EUSF Intelligence and Security Division. As I introduced Rogers in Chapter 8, I developed his backstory and for the first time, deviated from my initial outlines and created the idea of the ISD.

Chapter 9: Up to this point, I really hadn’t dealt with one major issue of conflict… how should Captain Avery deal with having his daughter on the ship and in harm’s way? At first, this was a safe mission of exploration, but now he is seeing that there is real danger. I included a brief exchange between Kelly and John to help tidy up this unresolved issue.

As this chapter drew to an end, it was time for the Empire to strike again. This time, the crew was ready and Captain Avery had an opportunity to show his skills in commanding a vessel. This is a redemption chapter.

TRIVIA: In this book, I introduced the next in a long line of pilots for the ship. While it isn’t evident to most readers, my helmsmen are the “Red Shirts” of this series.

Chapter 10: Captain Avery sends out a distress message to Star Fleet to let them know that they are alive and needing rescue. From the very beginning, I knew that I would never allow them to be rescued, but I wanted readers to believe that there was some hope for this wounded crew. I also decided to play with the sexual tension between Lieutenant Markson and Captain Avery. The two are professional officers, how will this play out?

I wanted Captain Avery to maintain his integrity, yet I wanted to introduce an element that could cause him to cross the line. Gretchen Markson is that element. I made sure to reestablish that tension in the closing pages of book 2.

Epilogue: Here is the setup for Wild Space: Sedition. I hinted at the ISD through the thoughts of Lieutenant Ryan Thornberg. He is attempting to build a crew to help him overthrow the captain. Thornberg is using the anger inside the crew to gain their loyalty to his cause – though they don’t really realize that he is only using them as pawns to complete his larger objective.

Wild Space: Reclamation, is at its core, a story about the internal struggles of the crew after having to deal with a near death experience. How do they rebuild their lives after such trauma? How do they reclaim the elements of themselves that were lost in all that destruction? These are the questions that are asked at the beginning of the book and we see answered by the end.

Is Pronoun a Good eBook Distributor?

Is Pronoun a good eBook distributor? I have been taking Pronoun self publishing services on a test drive and I'm excited with my results.

Maybe I’m alone here, but Pronoun is not a company whose name I was familiar with until a month ago when it was announced that Macmillan purchased them. Since then, I’ve spent some quality time examining Pronoun to see if they would make a good eBook distributer.

After taking them for a test drive, I’m ready to reveal my findings.

Pronoun offers some very intriguing tools when you go through the setup of publishing your book.

  1. Pronoun offers a “Cover Comparison” tool that allows you to compare your cover with the covers of books found in your category. This tool has great value. As I was loading Wild Space: Onslaught, I discovered how lacking my covers were in comparison to the covers of other books in my category. I immediately went to work in correcting this issue and I’ve already seen an improvement in book sales.
  2. When you upload your book to Pronoun, they take your finished manuscript and format it into an ePub file and Mobi file and give you six options for a professional layout that looks sharp on eReaders. The only thing I had to do to format my book for this service is to highlight the chapter headings and insert page breaks. The rest was done flawlessly through Pronoun. They also developed the table of contents for me. Very nice.
  3. When selecting categories to place your book, Pronoun gives you the stats from Amazon’s site and shows you the rankings of how similar books published through them, performs on Amazon’s Kindle Store. This is valuable and leads into point four…
  4. When you begin picking your keywords, Pronoun gives you the top-ranking keywords from Amazon’s Kindle Store – based on your selected category. They share the penetration rate, and show you how popular that keyword is with customer search. This data is priceless… and free through Pronoun.
  5. If you wish to distribute your book to Amazon through Pronoun, Pronoun gives you the option to set your book at free and Amazon honors that request. This beats having to play the price match game with Amazon. While I’m not currently taking advantage of this feature, I will be doing it in the future.
  6. Pronoun distributes your book to Kindle (if you choose to publish through KDP yourself, Pronoun will promote your Kindle link on your Pronoun book page), Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and GooglePlay. You have the freedom to choose who you wish to have Pronoun distribute your book to with no penalty or pressure. For me, I currently use Pronoun to distribute to iBooks and GooglePlay. The rest I do myself through their respective sites.
  7. Pronoun provides a slick service to send your finished eBook out to prospective reviewers. They provide download links for the ePub file and Mobi file (Kindle) that are easy for reviewers to go to and download their format of choice. Again, this is a free service and you can send out unlimited emails to all your potential reviewers.
  8. When you price your book, Pronoun shows you how your list price stacks up with other similar titles in your category. Most companies are offering this now, but I just wanted to point out that Pronoun is doing this also.
  9. Pronoun provides every author with a slick landing page for their books and for themselves as an author. I don’t personally use mine, but I set it up as it is one more valuable way for people to discover me and my books on the web.
  10. Like all other publishing platforms, Pronoun allows you to keep all your rights and keep all control over your titles. You can pull your titles from Pronoun at any time. Another added bonus is when you adjust your prices or modify your files, the changes go live within 48 hours on all sites.
  11. Finally, Pronoun offers pre-orders for your books through all services. I’ve never had much success with pre-orders, but the option is there for authors who do like it.

Pronoun puts authors back in control of every aspect of their title. If you need help in getting your book published, they have many options to help you connect with people that can help you realize your vision and keep all your rights.

All in all, I’m impressed with Pronoun and I can’t think of anything negative at this point except that they are a middleman. But I find a middleman is great to have when working with iBooks (because they require a Mac to publish books on their site) and GooglePlay (because I have found them to be inconsistent when trying to publish an eBook through them directly). It also gives me a free pricing option that is in my control if I use them to publish to Kindle.

Their interface is well planned out and the uploading is a breeze. The bonus features that I highlighted above make publishing an eBook a simple process with added marketing value.

While I’m not planning on making any distribution changes with my books currently in print, I am planning on releasing my future eBooks through Pronoun exclusively so I will have complete pricing control over my books. Doing price matching through Amazon has been a pain lately as they randomly switch my first book back to full price at odd ball times and then I have to price match again. With Pronoun, I can control when I want my book to go free on Amazon and Amazon will honor it.

In my opinion, Pronoun puts authors back in control of their works – something I feel Amazon has been slowly taking away from their authors. As I mentioned in my last post, I have long been a fan of Kindle Direct Publishing, but I’m tired of being forced to do things their way. Kindle only lets you promote your book for free for 5 days in a 90-day period as long as you make your book exclusive to them. If you wish to work the permafree angle, you need to get their cooperation – and that has been hit or miss for many of us authors.

Is Pronoun a good eBook distribution option? I say yes. I’m on board with them and I invite you to visit their website and see what they have to offer.

PLEASE NOTE: I AM NOT receiving any compensation from Pronoun for my review. I AM NOT receiving any affiliate compensation if you visit their site. I am offering my own, honest opinion of Pronoun and its services based on my personal experiences.

Is it Time to Leave KDP Select and Diversify?

Is it time to move on from Kindle Direct Publishing and diversify by using services such as Pronoun, Smashwords, Kobo, and Nook Press?

Here’s a question that every self-published author needs to ask themselves in 2017: Is it time to leave Amazon KDP Select and diversify? As 2016 came to an end, I asked myself that very question, and here’s my discovery.

I started releasing my serial series Wild Space back in May of 2016. I decided to make them Kindle exclusive, so I signed up for KDP Select or Kindle Direct Publishing Select for those not familiar with the term. KDP Select forces your book to be only available on Amazon’s website for purchase or to be part of their Kindle Unlimited reader program for 90 days. After 90 days, you can choose to keep them in KDP Select or you can pull them out. But during this period of time, your books cannot be available for purchase anywhere else.

I had great success with the first 90 days of KDP Select, however, as I re-enrolled for another 90 days, I suddenly found my sales and page reads falling flat. I tried a few marketing techniques to get them fired up again, but I just couldn’t get the ball rolling again. So I asked myself, is it time to break free from KDP Select and try something new?

In October, I selected to not re-enroll my books in KDP Select. Immediately, any momentum in sales or page reads I had, disappeared completely – even though I had one month left in exclusivity. I’m not saying that Amazon stuck it to me, because I’m a small fish in a big pond – but I did notice an instant loss of sales and page reads when I chose not to renew my KDP Select contract.

Coincidence? Probably. But for the record, I’m not the only person to have noticed this.

As November rolled around, I started to set up my books on Smashwords (for distribution to libraries), on Pronoun (for distribution on iBooks and GooglePlay), on Kobo, and on Nook Press. The second the books came off exclusivity through Amazon KDP Select, I was ready to launch the books on the other platforms and start a new journey. Granted, I had no idea what to expect, but I was ready to go. I set the first book up as free and the rest at 99 cents and I was off to the races in December.

As the new voyage into diversifying my books began, I noticed that my Kindle sales were non-existent but immediately, my Nook sales took off. For every five free books that were acquired by Nook readers, three of those readers came back and purchased the rest of the series. I was shocked at this result. I have read all the reports that said that Nook is dead, yet my Nook sales were doing what Kindle hadn’t done. By the end of December, I had sold more books through Nook than I did through KDP Select.

Now, I’m not saying that this will ring true for all authors, but these are my results. Sales on iBooks, Smashwords, and Kobo haven’t impressed me at all, but Nook sales blew my mind. I was getting solid results.

Another thing I saw was the return on investment.

I set up the first book in the Wild Space series to be permafree and the rest at 99 cents. For those not familiar with the term permafree – permafree is the act of setting your book up on a site that allows you to set your price at free and then asking Amazon to price match the book at free. On Nook, I found that for every 5 free books, 3 readers would return and purchase the rest of the series. On Kindle, for every 15 to 20 free books, only 1 reader would come back and trickle through the rest of the series.

So why is that?

I don’t have sales data to back up my theory, but I believe that Kindle readers are used to snagging free books and most of the time they sit on them – perhaps never even reading them. I’m a Kindle user and I can attest to that. My library is packed with free books I’ve never read.

Meanwhile, Nook hasn’t had the same amount of attention paid to it by independent authors. While Kindle Direct Publishing has soared, Nook and the others have been vastly ignored… which may make it an untapped potential. There are not nearly as many authors giving away their books for free on Nook as there are on Kindle, so the Nook readers find more value in those free books and may very well read them.

Another theory I have is that Kindle readers are converting to subscription based reading and are purchasing far fewer books. When I weigh the difference between sales on Kindle and sales on Nook, I am far better giving up my exclusivity and branching out to other platforms, because my sales on the other platforms are destroying the few sales and reads I was getting on Select.

I’m thrilled with the results I’ve found in diversifying. I don’t miss KDP. I’m finding a new audience that I would have never found had I not taken the chance and diversified.

Is this the right move for you?

I’m not sure. But maybe its time to experiment and find out. If you are exclusive on Amazon and haven’t been impressed with your sales, let your KDP Select expire and branch out for a few months and see what happens. If the results don’t impress you, go back to KDP Select and have the piece of mind in knowing that you are right where you need to be.

When I started my self publishing journey in 2009, I was sold on being exclusive through Amazon, but now I am convinced that every author needs to weigh their options and look at the possibility of branching out to other platforms.

You might just find – like me – that it’s time to see if the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. I have found that it is.

The Big Guns of the Empire

Wild Space is a science fiction series written by Jason M. Brooks

As the Launch Week Celebration comes to an end, I’m excited to discuss one of the greatest improvements to the series… the new cover designs featuring Imperial Battleships.

I know this week is all about the launch of Wild Space: Transformations, but it’s hard to ignore the sparkling new covers.

When Wild Space: Onslaught first launched in May of 2016, the cover featured a serene background with a happy little ship just floating along. But for anyone who has read Onslaught, you already know that the cover didn’t even come close to telling the reader what was about to happen in the book. That has long been one of my disappointments.

But now, thanks to the 3D models provided by SolCommand, I am able to present a definitive version of the Independence and I can add images of Imperial Battleships – something I didn’t have the ability to do before.

Wild Space: Onslaught is written by author Jason M. Brooks and is available on Nook, Kindle and all other ereader devices.I always dreamed of the Independence being surrounded and under fire from enemy ships – just as the opening scene of Onslaught, described. Once I modified the 3D model of the Imperial Battleship, I was ready to apply it to the cover and add in some firepower and an explosion to boot! The end results are a stunning contrast to what was featured on the original cover.

I also added Imperial Battleships to the cover of Ghosts and made that cover pop as well. With the new-found ability to enhance the action on the covers of my books, the skies the limit as my covers now have the ability to tell a story to draw in potential readers.

As I get ready to begin work on Wild Space: Series 2, I already have plans to debut more Imperial ships, a new “hero” ship, and a wicked new enemy that will be bringing its own fleet to the party.

So, this has been an exciting week for me with big changes that are setting Wild Space up for a bright future. While Transformations brings to an end the first series of Wild Space, there are many more adventures coming, and at long last, the Imperial Fleet will be right there, chasing them across the stars.

Until next time!

The Wild Space Series Gets a Fresh Look!

Wild Space Series 1 is written by Jason M. Brooks a self published author.

The Launch Week Celebration Continues!

It’s been an exciting week for me as Wild Space: Transformations launched on Tuesday and has been selling like crazy.

But it’s not just the sales that have been so exhilarating for me. It’s also the new covers that grace the front of all six books in the first series of Wild Space. I spoke about the new ship design in a BLOG POST earlier this week and now I would like to officially announce the new looks of all six titles.

When I first released Wild Space, I purchased an image of a space ship to be used on the covers. However, I was very limited on what I could do with that image. I wanted to have explosive scenes on the covers. I wanted to be able to display a ship with the ability to be as iconic as the Enterprise or Serenity or the Millennium Falcon, but the ship I was using, just didn’t have that potential.

And then I discovered SolCommand, a website made up of hard working designers who give away 3D images of ships to game designers or artists. It was here that I found the designs for not just the Independence, but my Imperial fleet and many other ships that will one day grace the covers of my books.

Granted, I still had to paint the 3D images, but it was well worth the time to learn how to do it. For the first time ever, I have covers on my books that tell a story, and that is what a good cover should do.

The following images are the before and afters of all six books. Take a look at the huge difference:


Wild Space: Onslaught

Wild Space : Onslaught is the first book in Wild Space Series 1 and is written by author Jason M. Brooks.

Before

 

Wild Space: Onslaught is written by author Jason M. Brooks and is available on Nook, Kindle and all other ereader devices.

After


Wild Space: Reclamation

Wild Space Reclamation continues the adventures of the crew of the Independence. This series is written by Jason M. Brooks

Before

 

Wild Space: Reclamation is written by author Jason M. Brooks and is available through Amazon.com Barnes and Noble, iBook, and Kobo.

After


Wild Space: Sedition

 

Sedition is the third book in the Wild Space series by Jason M. Brooks. This is part of Wild Space Series 1.

Before

Wild Space Sedition is the third book in Wild Space Series 1 written by Jason M. Brooks

After


Wild Space: Ghosts

 

Wild Space: Ghosts is the fourth book in Wild Space Series 1 by author Jason M. Brooks.

Before

Wild Space: Ghosts is written by author Jason M. Brooks and is book 4 in Wild Space Series 1

After


Wild Space: Heist

 

Wild Space Heist is a science fiction series by author Jason M. Brooks and is available for Kindle on Amazon.com

Before

Wild Space: Heist is part of Wild Space Series 1 written by Jason M. Brooks and is one of six books in the series.

After


Wild Space: Transformations

 

Wild Space: Transformations is written by author Jason M. Brooks who is a self published author who enjoys self publishing.

Before

Wild Space: Transformations is the final book in Wild Space Series 1 written by Jason M. Brooks.

After


As you can see, the covers have immensely improved! I love the new look and I love the idea that at long last, the Imperial Battle Ships can appear on the cover with the Independence – giving readers a chance to see how stacked against them, the odds of survival really are.

I have more ships cooking up on the burner and they will grace the covers of Wild Space Series 2 and beyond. Watch my blog post as I’ll be sharing those images in the days to come.

If you haven’t already begun your journey through Wild Space, be sure to pick up the first book in the series. Wild Space: Onslaught is FREE for all eReaders. If you subscribe to my monthly newsletter, you can pick up the second book for FREE as well. SUBSCRIBE HERE to claim your free copy of Wild Space: Reclamation.

I’ll be wrapping up the Launch Week Celebration with one more post as I look at the long awaited reveal of the Imperial Battle Ships.

See you then!

Wild Space: Transformations Has Launched!

Wild Space: Transformations is the final book in the first series of Wild Space written by Jason M. Brooks

As many of you already know, Wild Space: Transformations has at last, launched. It was a long journey and I thank all my readers for being patient as I put the final touches on the grand finale to the first series of Wild Space.

Many readers have asked me what the deal is with calling this the Series 1 finale.

What Does That Mean?

As I’ve mentioned before, I am writing Wild Space as if it were a television series. Each book is short with the intention of being able to be read in just a few hours – much like a television show. I also decided to break up the series into a set number of books – or episodes. In this case, each series of Wild Space will be comprised of 6 books – or episodes.

Onslaught served as the first book, or in television terms – the series premier episode. Transformations is serving as the series 1 finale, or in television terms – the season finale. Due to the unbelievable response from readers, Wild Space will be back for a second series before the end of the year. In fact, it will probably be back much sooner than I had anticipated.

I never imagined I’d have the amount of success with Wild Space as I have had. Readers are gobbling this series up and it has forced me to put many of my other projects on hold. I do want to finish up two books that I have in process, but I also don’t want to slow the momentum created by the success of Wild Space, so I’m guessing those projects might continue to be on hold while I go back to work in crafting the second series for the hungry readers out there.

I can’t thank you enough for all your enthusiasm. Please, continue to spread the word about this series and I will continue to pump out the books.

Changes Ahead!

As I discussed in my blog post on Monday, Wild Space: Transformations is sporting a new Independence. I had an opportunity to revamp the ship and gain more flexibility in cover design, so I took it. I’m super excited by the new look and I’m already receiving feedback from other readers about the exciting new look.

Transformations is a book about changes in the lives of the crew and in the trajectory of Wild Space. Wild Space isn’t just about the crew of the Independence. While to this point, everything we’ve experienced in this region of space has been through their eyes, the glorious part about this series is, I can introduce new characters and share their adventures. This is something I did with Captain Miranda Waters.

Most readers probably forgot about her after her few appearances early on, but after Transformations, I can guarantee readers are going to want to know more about her. In fact, I have an exclusive short coming out that will bridge the gap between Transformations and Book 1 of Wild Space Series 2. I’m going to make it an exclusive title for subscribers to my monthly eNewsletter. So, if you want access to this short story, titled; Kill Switch, you need to SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER and I will send it to you as soon as its ready to go.

Transformations gave me the opportunity to tie up loose ends for Series 1.

At long last, readers will get some much needed answers to the questions raised in Wild Space: Sedition and I will be tying up some other loose ends. But get ready for some major set ups for the future of the series. Captain Avery and the crew of the Independence have had nothing but one trial after another since arriving in Wild Space, and you better believe that when this book is over, their lives will never be the same. When the final cards are played, you’ll completely understand the title of this book.

It feels good to finally bring Series 1 to an end. Transformations was supposed to be released back in December of 2016, but revisions forced me to push the launch back. At long last, I am getting a chance to reveal the secrets that have been hidden from readers and now I get to set up the future of the series. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I enjoyed telling the tale.

As the Launch Week Celebration continues, I will be blogging next, about the Imperial ships which will now be appearing of the redesigned covers of the Wild Space series. You can visit the BOOKS tab on my website and take a look at the new covers.

Until the next post, Happy Reading!

 

The Independence Gets An Upgrade

The Independence gets an upgrade and new look as Wild Space Series 1 comes to an end. Wild Space is written by Jason M. Brooks

Welcome to the Launch Week Celebration for Wild Space: Transformations. All week long, I will be blogging about exciting topics that revolve around the Wild Space series. I hope you’ll join me all week as I blog about the series and go behind the scenes to reveal exciting details that have gone into making this new book.

The first detail I’m going to discuss is probably one of the most obvious.

You might have noticed a not-so-familiar ship gracing the cover of Wild Space: Transformations. What ship is this that is exploding before your very eyes? This is the Independence of course – a new and improved Independence.

The Independence has officially received an upgrade and she makes her debut in Wild Space: Transformations. She is also going to be gracing the covers of the other five books in the first series. On release day (March 7th, 2017), all six covers will feature the redesigned co-star of the Wild Space series.

When I released Wild Space: Onslaught, I had a designer create 1 digital drawing of a ship that became my sole model for the creation of the book covers for Wild Space Series 1. However, I was never really happy with this design and I didn’t have much flexibility when posing the ship. The most I could do was turn it this way or that way or flip the image around so it appeared to be flying in a different direction.

But three weeks ago, I discovered a wonderful website: SolCommand.com that offered free, 3D model images that I have been able to customize to my liking. Furthermore, I can edit the 3D model with Windows 3D and then put it into PhotoShop and pose it for new, dramatic angles to create exciting covers.

SolCommand also gave me the ability to add more ships on my book covers and create explosive scenes. As I will be discussing later on this week, I was able to create an Imperial Battleship which will now be seen on the covers of Onslaught, and Ghosts, and select installments of Series 2 when those books begin launching later this year.

This Independence at last matches the realities of what I describe in my book. The Independence is built to house a crew of nearly 200 – depending on the needs of the mission. It also uses three forms of propulsion.

  1. Thrusters were an original design on the ship to be used for moving into orbit around a planet or for maneuvering through space.
  2. There is the Interplanetary Jump Drive which is the main drive that helps the crew navigate between planets in travels that can last for a few weeks.
  3. Finally, there is the Deep Space Drive – which is designed to travel vast distances and cut down a 20 year journey between Earth’s United System of Planets and Wild Space. This was the engine that was destroyed in Onslaught.

The original model of the Independence never looked big enough to be able to house all of these features, but this design makes my vision come to life.

So, you might be asking yourself, “Why go through all the trouble of developing a new model to serve as the Independence, only to blow it up in Wild Space: Transformations?”

That is a really great question.

Be sure to read Transformations to discover the answer. Wild Space: Transformations, releases tomorrow, March 7th, 2017 at midnight.

I’ll be back tomorrow to continue the week long Launch Week Celebration with a blog post looking at the making of Wild Space: Transformations – without spoilers. Be sure to follow me on Facebook so you know when the post goes live.

Until then…

Now IS the Perfect Time to Start Your Journey Through Wild Space!

Wild Space is now available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, iBooks, and Kobo. Wild Space is written by Jason M. Brooks

Wild Space launched back in May of this year and was an exclusive title for Kindle. But I’m excited to announce today, that Wild Space has now been released for all eReader formats.

That’s right, if you are a proud owner of a Nook, a Kobo, an iPad/iPhone or any style of eReader, you can now purchase this exciting series from not only Amazon.com for Kindle, but from Barnes and Noble for your Nook, on Kobo for your Kobo Reader, on iBooks for reading on your Apple device, or you can grab a copy from Smashwords and side load it on to any of your preferred devices.

The first five books of the first series are available for all eReaders. In January, look for Wild Space: Transformations to be released on all of the eReaders as well. In the past, when I’ve released new books, I’ve made them Kindle exclusives for 90 days before releasing them in the other stores. But due to reader feedback, I realized that it wasn’t fair to force my other readers to wait for the 90 day period to end, therefore, I will no longer be doing that. All of the books I release will be released globally on day one with no more wait times for readers.

Plus, if you haven’t started reading the series yet, now is the best time to jump on board!

Wild Space: Onslaught… FREE!

That’s right! Wild Space: Onslaught, the first book in Series 1, is FREE at all retailers! There’s no excuse for readers not to try my new series. The first book is free and if you enjoy it, there is an offer at the back of the book to get the second book free as well. You can’t lose with an offer like that. The first 2 books in the series are free and the remaining books are just 0.99 each.

But that’s not all of the Wild Space news that I have.

Book 6, Wild Space: Transformations, is close to done. I have some more editing to do, but it should be out by the end of January. Once the first series is complete, I will be going to work on formatting the entire first series into one volume and releasing it as a hardcover and trade paperback book for all of the fellow book collectors out there.

If you are like me, when you fall in love with a book, you love to put an actual book into the bookshelf for display. I’m going to compile all six books into one volume and release it for collectors to enjoy. I plan on giving away a number of signed copies to members of my Inner Circle, so be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter so you can have a shot at grabbing one of those free books. You can SIGN UP HERE!

And finally…

To celebrate the release of the Wild Space books in all the online retailers, I’m going to be hitting the proverbial road and appearing on a number of blogs and websites during the month of January. Be sure to watch my Facebook, Twitter, and Newsletter for dates and locations of my appearances.

2017 is shaping up to be a busy year for me and I hope you’ll stay with me for the ride.

Until next time!

On A Mission For Our Veterans

One man's mission to help reduce the rate of suicide among veterans.

In one of my recent posts, I discussed the idea that we can’t expect real changes in our society to come from our government. If we are going to see lasting change that affects the outcome of our country, it needs to come from individuals pouring their heart into the lives of others.

I work with a guy who is doing just that, and I’d like to share his story.

Jim Osterman is a vet who is passionate about doing something to prevent the alarming number of suicides that take place each year among our veterans. On average, 22 veterans commit suicide each day – a number that strikes close to home for so many families around America. Jim has experienced the crushing blow of suicide himself, losing two veteran friends to it.

While in the Navy, Jim met Steve Luzynski. Both were from Michigan and had similar interests which helped them bond quickly. After leaving the service, Jim spent several years trying to track down Steve, only to learn in 2012 that he had committed suicide. That was Jim’s first encounter with veteran’s committing suicide, but it wouldn’t be his last.

Not long after, Jim became friends with Frank Steiner who was an Iraq War veteran. Frank also took his own life and this opened Jim’s eyes to an epidemic that up to that point, hadn’t drawn enough attention.

In this year’s elections, both Hilary Clinton and President-Elect Donald Trump, spent a great deal of time discussing the staggering number of suicides taking place among our veterans. At the beginning of the campaign, the average number sat around 20 vets per day. Near the end of the campaign season, the number had increased to 22.  And neither candidate had an answer on how to fix this problem.

But Jim had an idea, and this past summer, he put that idea into motion.

One thing that Jim had always missed since leaving the service, was the sense of camaraderie. Often, veterans leave their respected branch of service only to find themselves feeling a strong sense of isolation and lonesomeness. I can attest to this feeling.

For many years, after leaving the Army National Guards, I missed the men who I served with. When they were deployed for their first tour in Iraq, I had to wrestle with so much regret and guilt because I felt as if I was letting them down by not being there – even after being out of the service for two years at the time of their deployment. There is a bond that soldiers of all branches of the military form with the men and women who they serve by. When that bond is broken, there is always a hole that needs to be filled.

Families play such a large role in a veteran’s life, however, from my experience and those shared by other veteran’s, family cannot seem to fill the hole that the loss of camaraderie creates. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it’s the psychological bonds that are built up through serving in such a high-pressured environment? I don’t really have the answer to that. But I do know one thing, veterans always try to fill that void with something – and it’s not always good.

For some, its drugs and alcohol. For others, its clubs, organizations, or movements. For me, I found my place and filled my void within the church. And for Jim Osterman, he found camaraderie in the air, through skydiving.

Skydiving has become a huge passion of Jim’s. Through his time of developing his skills, he has found a culture that shares many similarities to what goes on within the ranks of the military. Through this experience, Jim realized that he had stumbled upon a great opportunity to reach out to veterans and help them fill that void in their life.

Jim is a firm believer that if the skydiving community can reach out and share their love of one another with the many veterans out there in our country, that lives can be saved. And with that, this past summer, Jim set out on a trek along the East Coast to bring this message to skydivers at 38 drop zones.

He challenged his fellow skydivers to invite vets to the drop zone. He wanted to show the vets what the community is all about and possibly help them fill the void in their life. This message was received with great enthusiasm at each of his stops.

Along the way, Jim invited fellow vets that he had served with to join him at some of the drop zones to either watch or skydive with him. The feedback he’s received from veterans whom he helped make a jump has been overwhelmingly positive. Jim has taken his love of skydiving and married it to his passion to save veterans from suicide. This is a powerful example of what I was talking about when I said that if we want to see real change in our country, then we need to go out and make that change.

Jim is making that change by spreading awareness of the suicide rate and offering a possible solution.

Jim believes that if all drop zones formulated a plan to get veterans to come out, they could possibly save lives and help lower the devastating rates of suicides taking place among our veterans. Next summer he is planning to hit the road again, this time heading west on his motorcycle to share this message with other drop zones.

So, what is your passion? How can you take that passion and use it to make a positive change in our country today? Jim’s quest has inspired me and I’ve already started laying out plans of what I want to do with my passion. I’d love to hear about yours.

Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section below. If you have results to share, email your story to author@jasonmbrooks.com and I might just feature it in an upcoming blog post.

Credit: Portions of this post have been taken from an original article written by Ross Nunn Eastpointe, Michigan

Step by Step Self Publishing – Formatting Your Manuscript for Amazon Kindle: Part 2

Step by Step Self Publishing Formatting your manuscript for Amazon KDP is the second part of a series by Jason M. Brooks

In my last post on step by step self publishing, we focused on preparing our manuscript for the self publishing process. We prepped our manuscript to feed it through Calibre, where the file will be converted into a MOBI file – which is the format that Amazon uses to create its Kindle books.

If you haven’t read the first part of this two part series on Step by Step Self Publishing – Formatting Your Manuscript for Amazon Kindle, you can READ IT HERE!

Today, in part 2, we will be taking that formatted manuscript and feeding it into Calibre – a free conversion program that can turn our manuscript into any format of ebook we would like. In this case, we’re going to pump out a Kindle version of our book. Kindle uses a proprietary format known as MOBI.

If you haven’t already downloaded and installed Calibre on your computer, you can DOWNLOAD IT HERE! for either Windows, Mac, or Linux operating systems. Trust me when I say, Calibre is a handy took for self publishing. If it’s not in your self publishing toolbox, put it in there today. It’s free!

So let’s get started.

Uploading Your Manuscript to Calibre

  1. Obviously, the first step to self publishing our book through Calibre, is to get the file there to work with. To upload the file, simply click on the “Add Books” icon in the top, far left. It will pop up the file manager window so you can search for your file. Once you find it, click on it and it will now appear in your library on Calibre. In the case of the images below, we are uploading my file that is titled: TAP Calling of the Kings. We’ll be working on that file throughout this post.

step by step self publishing

Step by step self publishing is a post by Jason M. Brooks

2. Now that the file is in our library, we need to begin the process of converting it into a MOBI file. Start by selecting the book you wish to format – in this case: TAP Calling of the Kings. Then select the “Convert Books” icon.

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And now we are in the settings screen where we’ll do some last minute tweaks to prepare it for the final conversion. At this point you should be at the screen shown below.

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Adjust Settings for Creating the MOBI File

  1. The first thing we need to do is select the proper output format for our book. In this case, we want to select the MOBI format. You can see this illustrated in the image above. Once we’ve selected the proper output format, then we begin adding the proper meta data for our book. This gets embedded in the final file format as well as helps us find this material in the Calibre library. As you format more books, it will become quite the chore to find titles that you are looking for, so be sure to fill out the information that is necessary to identify your book. If you notice on mine in the image below, this book is part of a series. So I will fill out the series title information and identify what volume it is. You may or may not need to do this for your book.

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2. Now, let’s add our cover to this book. It’s currently displaying the first page of my formatted manuscript, which happens to be the title page. Click on the disk icon shown to the right of the “Change Cover Image” bar on the main screen. This is illustrated in my next image. Then search through your files for the correct cover image and load it up. Now your cover is embedded into your file.

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I should note here that Amazon has you upload your cover as a separate file so you really don’t have to do this next stage of work. However, if you are like me and you like to do free giveaways on your website, add the cover. That way, you can give the file away as a special promotion and when the reader uploads it on their Kindle device, they will have the professional cover image displayed in their library.

Now We Tweak the Final Settings

Now we need to tweak a few settings – none of it is difficult to do. This final tweaking will get our book ready to make the final conversion into MOBI format.

1. The first setting we need to adjust is found in the “Detect Chapters” bar. To get there, click on the “Structure Detection” box. At the top of the screen you will find the “Detect Chapters” bar. There is a list of defaults that Calibre will search for. For me, I also add an “About the Author” page, a “Preview” page, and an “Other Titles” page to my manuscript.

I want Calibre to detect those pages when it creates my table of contents. To do this, I click in the bar and I manually add the following keywords: about, preview, other. I add the following mark | to match the default type that is already found there. What this does is tells Calibre that any “Heading 1” or “Heading 2” titles that start with these words, need to be added to the Table of Contents. As you can see, it is already preset to find “Chapter”. So no need to make that adjustment.

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4. The next setting under “Structure Detection” that we need to change is found at the “Chapter Mark” drop down box as shown below. By default it will say “Pagebreak”. Click on the drop down menu and select “None”. Now we are set to move on.

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2. Click on the “Table of Contents” icon. The next image indicates the only two changes we need to make here. Click on the “Force Use of Auto Generated Table of Contents”. Then in the dialogue box, add “h1” for Heading 1 or “h2” for Heading 2, depending on how you formatted your chapter headings in part 1 of this series. Remember I told you to remember which one you used? This is why.

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3. Now all we have to do is click on the “OK” button at the bottom of the screen and Calibre does the rest. In a few minutes or less, your book is instantly formatted into a MOBI file that is ready to upload to Amazon.

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Finding Your MOBI File

Now all you need to do is grab your newly created MOBI file and upload it to your Amazon KDP account. I will go step by step through that process in a future blog post.

For Windows users, if you download the Calibre program and allow it to install everything as it recommends (and don’t make any changes to where your files appear) you will find your MOBI file in your “Documents” folder. Click on your Documents folder, then click on the Calibre folder and you will find a folder under your author name. Click on that folder, then click on your book title folder, and finally you will see all of the formats you have created from your original Word document. In this case, we need the MOBI file as shown in the image below. This is the file that Amazon will need when you upload your book file.

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This would be the typical file path to take to find your MOBI file: Documents>Calibre Files>Author Name>Book Title

If during the install you instructed Calibre to put its files somewhere else, you’ll have to look there for the Calibre Files folder.

And that is all there is to the process. It might look intimidating, but it’s not. In fact, it is a simple process that once you’ve done a few times, will be easy and fast.

In future posts I will be looking at uploading your file to Amazon KDP. I’ll also teach you how to prepare your manuscript for uploading to Smashwords, Kobo, Nook and other eReader devices. Eventually I’ll get into preparing print files to upload to CreateSpace and Ingram Spark. And as time goes on, I’ll keep adding more and more helpful, self publishing how to’s. I’m also working on videos to add to YouTube. Unfortunately this will take time to produce because I’m also in the process of writing and publishing my own works.

Busy, Busy.

So I hope you found this helpful and I hope this gets you up and self publishing quickly and with confidence. Have any questions? Comment below. Also, consider joining me on Facebook and Twitter where we can continue the conversation.

Until next time!