John M. Wills

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Rescuing Finley by Dan Walsh (Kindle edition)

51jg0ONcRxL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Rescuing Finley is a refreshing, comfortable story, one that leaves the reader with a good feeling about society and the inherent goodness in people. Chris Seger, a former Marine, lost a leg while serving his country in Afghanistan. But he suffered more than just physical pain—he developed PTSD—a condition that interferes with his ability to interact with people in a normal manner.

Amy Wallace has her own troubles. Drug addiction and a few brushes with the law resulted in a prison sentence. Her behavior caused her family to reject her. Now she finds herself alone and scared in an environment that is both dangerous and potentially violent.

A very special dog, Finley, has suffered his own trauma. Finley’s master, Chaz, was killed while serving in the Middle East. Chaz’s mother was watching Finley while her son was gone, and now she’s stuck with a dog she can’t control while she grieves her son’s death. It becomes too much for the woman, and she finally brings Finley to a shelter.

Finley is chosen for a special prison program that trains dogs and matches them with military members suffering from PTSD. Amy becomes one of the inmate dog trainers in the program, and draws Finley as one of the dogs picked to participate. Chris accidentally discovers the dog-training program through a friend, and learns that adopting one of the dogs is possibly the answer to his PTSD problem.

Rescuing Finley is a delightful story suitable for all ages. It’s a tale of despair, hope, love, and more importantly, redemption. What’s unique about this novel is that Dan Walsh gives Finley a voice, one that rounds out this character driven narrative. As we see the story unfold through the eyes of the dog, we come to better understand the compassion and love these animals have for their caretakers. It’s a beautiful account that will warm your heart.

Kindle Now Pays For Pages Read

As you know, July 1st began the KENPC (Kindle Edition Normalized Page Count), a formula by which KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select Books will be paid for the number of pages read, rather than just the sale of the book. The payments vary, obviously, if the customer reads only a few chapters versus the entire

The July 2015 numbers are in—Amazon KDP is paying $0.005779 per page read. The new payout seems to favor longer books if you compare the new payout to the old. However, if you remember when you wondered how long your book should be, it turns out that the new system doesn’t really favor longer books. You will receive the same payment whether you write a 300 page single book or 6 books. The key to getting the most money for your work is whether the readers are interested in your book. If they are, they will read more pages, thus the author receives more money.

What’s the takeaway? Expect to receive $0.0058 per page read. We are entering a new era of royalties.

Try A Novella

Nightstand Cover low resI’ve had conversations with fellow writers who tell me they dream of writing a book. However, some of these aspiring novelists always seem to have a reason why they have yet to realize their dream. They insist their wonderful, unique storyline is sure to be widely accepted,  but then moan that the task of writing a book is just too demanding. Is that a valid excuse? I guess it might be. On the other hand, writing a book might also be a wonderful cathartic exercise.

In lieu of writing a 300 – 400 page novel, might I suggest writing a novella? It has many of the characteristics of a novel, yet lacks some of the structure and requirements. A novella is basically a long short story. If you research novellas, you will find varying opinions regarding what length they should be. The most common answer is probably somewhere around 20,000 words.

The novella is an interesting piece of literature because it doesn’t seem to fit well in conventional publishing mediums—magazines and books. It’s too long to be included in some online publications, yet it’s too short to be deemed appropriate for print.

Nevertheless, a novella is a great way for a writer to develop characters and plots. It’s also a good way to flesh out a writing portfolio. While there are no chapters in novellas, there can be distinct breaks to divide sections. Novellas contain protagonists and antagonists, conflicts, and more than enough space to fully develop settings.

So, where is the market for this type of writing? Some publishers may consider a novella as a print piece or ebook. However, Amazon recently introduced “Kindle singles” in their online store that specializes in standalone works like novellas. Writers follow simple instructions to upload their work and, voila, a best seller may be born.

I took a test drive at the Amazon Kindle store and created my own anthology, “The Nightstand Collection.” It’s a collection of my short stories and poetry. The process of self-publishing was straightforward and easy to understand. Amazon even provides a video demonstrating the steps involved in an easy to understand tutorial.

My recommendation? Don’t be afraid to experiment. If you’re reluctant to commit to a novel, try the novella. If you have success with writing a novella, you may have discovered your writing niche. Or . . . the novella may just be the springboard that launches your book career.


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