A Wild Tomorrow: A Podcast

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

Alexander Supertramp


I apologize about my lack of updates recently.  But I’m happy to say it’s because I’ve been busy: completed one novel and halfway through another.  If all keeps going well, I should definitely be on track to publish my new trilogy, The Witch’s March, next year.  And then also as you know the holidays… what time hasn’t been taken by my work has been spent happily in the company of family.  Whatever holidays you celebrate, if any at all, I hope were happy and warm!

As you all know, I am a strong advocate for seeking adventures both on pages and off.  Back in college, I was surrounded by business-minded people who were passionate about finding their jobs with the best firms where they could climb themselves to corporate success.  I really admired them, and still do.  To give you my attitude when I was amongst them, I think it’s easiest to explain via my ‘littles’ within my business fraternity.  One of them a New Business Account Executive for Google in New York City, and the other is an aspiring actor in Los Angeles.

Dylan Pritchett served on my pledge class’s executive board with me, and he stayed active in the fraternity with me as well.  Yet, somehow, through our almost three years of knowing each other, I never knew his real dreams.  I think that we were just in an environment that told you if it wasn’t a tradition 9 to 5 job, you weren’t going to succeed.  And while I would never tell any of you what to do with your life, I would encourage you to not limit yourself to others’ expectations.  Getting that waitressing or receptionist job so you can work less hours and focus on the bigger, better dream is not a bad choice.  It’s not belittling; it’s inspiring.

A Wild Tomorrow is a platform dedicated to helping ordinary people achieve their extraordinary dreams.  Whatever they may be, Dylan wants to help you find your purpose, achieve your dreams, and live your life the way you’ve always wanted to.  On your own terms.  Not in 5 or 10 years.  Today.  He offers multiple methods for you learn, including both a podcast and a blog.  His learnings aren’t limited to just one type of help either: he offers advice on keeping your mental health strong, coin in your bank account, and happiness at the center of everything.

Finding your dream is like finding a mountain.  You can see its beauty already, but know that the further you climb, the better it’ll be.  Start that climb today, and let A Wild Tomorrow give you the tools you need to make the climb just a bit easier, and the journey just that more enjoyable.

Chapter 35: How to Price Your Book & When to Set It to Free

You might not think of pricing as part of your marketing, but it definitely is.  One of the bonuses to self-publishing is that you have complete control over your price and can change it whenever you want based on how the sales are going.  Before we get into where your book price should lie, I’m going to go into Amazon’s different royalty plans via KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing).

KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) has different royalty plans based on the format.  For paperback, you’ll automatically be set to 60% with a minimum price of $9.06, but please realize that 60% doesn’t include what they’re taking out for printing.  You can also do expanded distribution where your books becomes available to more readers through bookstores, online retailers, libraries, and academic institutions (for a hit of bringing your royalty down to 40%).  Although this is AMAZING and can definitely help expand your audience, just keep in mind that it just puts your book on a list, and Amazon doesn’t guarantee any extra sales.  It also increases your minimum price to $13.59.

­For eBooks, KDP lets you pick between two different royalty plans.  35% and 70%.  Of course, I would suggest using the 70% in most instances (duh, higher percentage means higher paycheck) but you can only select this option if your eBook is between $2.99 and $9.99.  If you’re writing a long series, I would highly recommend bringing the book down to 99 cents and doing the 35% royalty.  I’ll get more into ‘why’ later… I would also suggest looking at the global market places and bringing the to X.99 across the board.­

One of the bonuses to being self-published is that you have a lot less overhead compared to traditional publishing, as well as the fact you get a higher royalty per sale.  This means that we have the opportunity to change our prices a lot more depending on what we’re seeing on our sales report.

Non-fiction books tend to sell for higher than fiction.  Why?  Because the readers are generally looking for a book to answer one specific question for them, where for fictions the readers tend to shop continuously until they find something they like.  I would suggest checking the top 100 in your category and see with what price you can get away with.  Don’t sell your debut indie novel for $12 when even top sellers in your genre are selling for $8.

I would say the most common price for indie authors just starting out is $2.99 for eBooks and $9.99 for paperbacks.  As you build a loyal audience and start to have more steady purchases, start to up your price.  It’s all about supply and demand.  Once your readers know that they like your books, they’ll be willing to spend more because its quality is guaranteed.

If you can get your book cover artist to make a paperback cover, make your book paperback.  Amazon will produce the books for you.  I’ve done it for my books, and although they’re not the BEST quality, they’re still really good and seem sturdy.  Even if you see you’re not making the paperback sales, I would keep it up there.  Amazon tells its customers the prices of both, and seeing the eBook price compared to the higher paperback price will make your potential readers feel like they’re getting a better deal.

Take advantage of your independency with the price and price pulse.  Price pulsing is doing limited-time price changes for a specific sales period.  You lower your prices for a short time and promote the sale.  Blast it any venue you can find that you’re having a sale.  For Kobo and iBooks, you can schedule price changes in advantage, but you have to go in manually for Amazon.  Be sure to do this a few days earlier than your announced sales date, because it can sometimes take a few days to reflect the change.  Also, don’t forget for Amazon to go back in there to change it back to its normal price once the sale is over.

If you have multiple books out, use the opportunity to set your books to multiple price points.  It’s a great way to spread out your risk and see what works best.  I would definitely suggest the lower price points being at the beginning of your series and upping the price once you know you have the readers hooked.

A question I know a lot of authors ask is “how can a free book make me money?”  Or they think that by setting it to free, they’re undervaluing all of their hard work.  But think of a taste tester at a Publix (or other grocery store… sorry I’m from Florida!).  You try the delicious cheese or dessert for free, and next thing you know you’re buying the whole pack.  As a reader, why would you spend money on a book or series when you have no idea what to expect?  Especially when they can get another book from a big name author that they know they can trust for quality.  That’s why free works best with the first book in a series.  Get them invested in your characters for free, and then they’ll be handing you their money all series long.  In fact, some reports have shown that 60% of readers who buy a free book will go on to buy another book from the same author.

If you’ve recently finished a novel or are about to, and have questions where you should set that price point, comment below and I’ll do my best to help!

Chapter 33: Mastering the Gray Area

So often, stories follow a simple formula: good versus evil, us versus them, heroes versus villains. It follows the same rule that most author choices do: it doesn’t matter what you write, but how you write it. Quality writing comes from bold writing, but everything has to be written with an air of caution. If you’re going to give a character a noble trait, make sure to note it as noble. Likewise, if you’re going to give a character an evil trait, make sure to note it as evil.

With that said, most people in the world aren‘t a 0 or a 10, or even a 1 or 9. Writing gray characters are what make shows like Game of Thrones (except Season 8, but I don’t want to go down that road right now) and Umbrella Academy so successful.

A common route to take with gray characters is their confliction when making decisions. That doesn’t have to be true. They can just as easily be an antagonist who feel justified in their actions for sympathetic reasons. Or a hero who will sacrifice the few to save the many. To get to know the character better, think of those gut-wrenching questions like the trolley dilemma. Don’t be afraid to pull from their backstory (and they really should have one if your thought there was “what backstory?” to waver their decision in a different direction than the rest of their personality my convey.

There are generally two main categories of gray area characters. The lovable villain and the anti-hero. The lovable villain: who we know is bad but forgive them do to a few redeemable qualities. Think of characters like Loki or Darth Vader. Then, the anti-hero: who has no intention of being good but has some moralistic code that makes him/her rise to the occasion. Captain Jack Sparrow or Dexter Morgan.

I’ve always noticed two particular patterns when writing gray: characters that start together in the middle of the spectrum commonly end up in 2 opposing sides by the end; and, if characters seemingly start out one side of the spectrum at the beginning, they are pulled to the center by the thought.

If I had to sum up out to create the perfect gray area character, I would ask yourself these six questions:

  1. What is their overall goal?

  2. If higher on the scale, what is one thing that would make them cross the line?

  3. If lower on the scale, where do they draw the line?

  4. What is one thing unexpected about them?

  5. What is their background?

  6. Do they have any emotional wounds?

Chapter 29: When To Publish Based on Genre

While it’s true that a series (or an author) with an active following has a bit more wiggle room for when they choose to publish, it’s an indisputable fact that the timing of when you publish will affect sales.  Yes, most readers have one or two (or three) genres that they like to stay within, but why not have your book published at the right time?  Like in the early summer months when they’re dreaming of their summer vacations?  Or if your audience is YA, giving them self-help non-fiction for when they realize they get back into the mind-set of school?  Or a self-help book when the new year is starting and they have resolutions to keep?  Or even a cook book they decide they need because they’re trying to be healthy again?

Please notice that there’s some wiggle room of when to publish.  Also, please note that if you’re doing a series, when to publish the sequel and so on should rely more heavily on when the first is published than the month.  Also, please recognize that in addition to some genres appearing in more than one month, some of these items/genres might overlap in reference to your book (e.g. Romantic Fantasy), so when in doubt, choose the stronger theme of your book – or which one  best fits with your timeline.  Below I have the list, including some successful books published during the window:

January (“New Year, “New Me”)

February (Least published month adds to marketing visibility opportunities)



  • Mystery (Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn published on April 22nd)
  • Women’s Fiction (The Hideaway by Lauren K. Denton published on April 11th)
  • Design


  • Adventure
  • Fantasy
  • Travel
  • Women’s fiction
  • Biographies (Robin by Dave Itzkoff published May 15th)
  • Mother-targeted


July (similar to June but quieter month so similar visibility opportunity as February)

  • Adventure
  • Fantasy (Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling)
  • Travel
  • Women’s fiction
  • Biographies




  • Paranormal
  • Academic
  • Political (Change We Can Believe In by President Barack Obama published on September 5th)
  • Fantasy Sequel (Legendary by Stephanie Garber published September 29th)
  • Cooking
  • Debut novel


  • Horror (Gilchrist by Christian Galacar)
  • Political
  • Cooking (holiday recipes)
  • Non-fiction (established writer)
  • Photography
  • Art



  • Children (A is for Adorable by Elizabeth Sarpong published December 4th)
  • Illustrated
  • Quiz
  • Novelty
  • Dictionaries


Fun little-known fact is that the holiday season is actually not the best time to publish.  Some recent numbers show that there was about $3.5B book sales made in summer when there was only about $2.5B for holiday gift giving.  With that said, don’t let trying to make all of this fit into your novel stop you from publishing at all.  The best way to publish is to publish at all.

Chapter 26: An Author’s Perspective on Why The Little Mermaid (2018) Failed As A Film

As someone who has been possibly too obsessed with mermaids ever since I was a child, using The Little Mermaid (2018 film) as my prime example of a bad movie makes me so sad. I had high hopes for this movie, and when I recently watched it I couldn’t help but dissect where I think they went wrong. It’s what led me to decide to write this particular blog. I’m going to start by giving you a quick example of how a great movie follows the structural path K.M. Wieland talks more in depth about utilizing in Structuring Your Novel Workbook: Hands-On Held for Building Strong and Successful Stories. Then, I’m going to go into a detailed explanation of things to look out for when writing a book or film that leave a sour taste in readers’ and viewers’ mouths.

First, let me start by saying I’m purely criticizing the writing/production of this movie. The actors (Poppy Drayton and William Moseley) did a great job. It was the lack of key plot points throughout the film, and moments that were undersold that made the movie as a whole feel entirely too anti-climatic. After going over the poor plot structure, I’ll then go into poor character utilization/development.

When structuring a story plot, a good base to use is always:

  1. Hook (introduces conflict) (1-5%)
  2. First Half of First Act (5-25%)
  3. First Plot Point (key point) (25%)
  4. Second Half of First Act (25%-50%)
  5. Half-Point (shifts plot in some way) (50%)
  6. Second Act (50-75%)
  7. Third-Plot Point (creates higher stakes for climax) (75%)
  8. Third Act (75-90%)
  9. Climax (biggest obstacle faced) (90-98%)
  10. Resolution (99-100%)

A good example of a movie that follows this structure is Gladiator.

  1. Maximus is offered a reward by Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and he says he wants to go home.
  2. He’s then asked by the dying Emperor to take control of Rome and give it back to the people, in spite of his son Commodus.
  3. Maximus, after learning that Commodus killed his father, vows to stop him and carry out Marcus Aurelius’s last wish.
  4. Maximus escapes execution only to be captured and sold to Proximo, who makes him a powerful gladiator.
  5. Maximus fully commits to his goal and burns all bridges by arriving in Rome and revealing his true identity to Commodus. This marks him as a hero to the Roman people.
  6. Maximus refuses to help the leader of the Senate as Commodus plots to destroy both of them.
  7. Maximus officially gives everything up and highers the stakes by escaping from Proximo.
  8. He leads his former troops against Commodus.
  9. Maximus faces his biggest obstacle that determines the fate of the film and has final battle with Commodus in the arena.
  10. Maximus is united with his family in death, and his body is carried away in honor by the new leaders of the Roman republic.

It’s these key moments that make both books and films into great stories. Likely it’s what you see in trailers because they’re the points filled with the most action. Not only did the plot didn’t follow this path, but the path it did take when it did have key points, it was the under-selling and lack of action within them that made the movie feel like it didn’t give enough to hold onto. I’m going to break The Little Mermaid (2018 film) into these 10 steps and dissect what the film did wrong. Pay attention to how the movie either skips a step or under-delivers, and the consequences.

  1. Starting with a cartoon animation to describe the history leading up to the film’s start isn’t a bad idea in itself. So why didn’t it work here? It was too long. I was already on my phone bored within the first few minutes of the phone because they took too much time talking about characters I ultimately wouldn’t care about – other than the Elizabeth, the name of this version’s Little Mermaid, but her story is so well known they didn’t need to waste so much time re-introducing it.The story then officially begins with an old grandmother telling her two granddaughters the story of the The Little Mermaid. I’ve seen this narration style done well in feel-good movies such as The Princess Bride and The Muppet Christmas Carol. I’m not sure if it’s that those movies utilized it as a comedic tool to keep the sometimes scary or dramatic plot appropriate for kids, but they did it right. It flowed with the movies and was a nice addition. In this one, it served no purpose. The only ‘reveal’ of any kind relevant to the plot was that the grandmother was actually the niece of Elizabeth’s love interest, Elle, and that she was a mermaid too. While this is a fun fact to know, I think it would’ve been smarter to have revealed that at the end of the movie in a specific scene, but I’ll get to that later. Basically, this introduction scene doesn’t lead up to the conflict any more than the too-long cartoon already did, so it feels wasted.
  2. Elle is introduced as having poor health. Cam, Elizabeth’s love interest, and Elle then leave so that he can pursue the story of the ‘Dr. Locke’s mermaid cure-all healing water’ for his publisher. This introduces the possibility that he is going on the off chance that it’s real and he can help his niece. This would be the ‘going off to Hogwarts’ moment for Harry Potter, except it’s not nearly as impacting. Why? I’ve only seen Cam and Elle for one scene at this point, so I don’t feel connected to them. Then, once they’re journey begins, Cam begins by meeting the patients that have claimed to be saved from their ailments but clearly aren’t. This point in itself isn’t bad, but only not as impacting as it could have been thanks to the lack of earlier set up.
  3. Cam and Elle then visit the circus. Aside from the brief interaction with the fortune teller (that I’ll go more into when talking about the characters later), this delivery was also well done. The key realization that a mermaid is real hits the characters, despite Cam’s skepticism. It’s immediately revealed that she also has legs and that something greater is going on. There’s an introduction of several characters with high potential. Unforunately, the characters are under-delivered later, but within the scene it was mostly pivotal for the first-plot point.
  4. Cam and Elle run into Elizabeth in the woods. This is when the fact that Elle might possibly have the heart of a mermaid is introduced. While this fact in itself is really cool, it was used poorly throughout the film. The fortune teller again warns Cam against being around Elle when she finds him sneaking around the circus. It’s then that he sees where Locke keeps Elizabeth’s soul. There’s also then a large boat scene that helps build our relationship with the characters.
  5. It’s when Cam and Elizabeth jump off into the ocean that the plot dramatically shifts. After sharing some chemistry-filled moments, Cam finally learns that Locke, the villain, has her soul. And Cam wants to help her get it back. Notice how I’m just now mentioning the villain’s name? While I understand, in some plots there’s an edge given by not revealing the villain too soon, that’s not what this is. That’s that we haven’t had a clear ‘this is what the heroes doing to save the day’ moment until now. Here I’m going to mention something else: there’s never a distinct moment where Cam starts to believe she’s actually a mermaid. He was still skeptical when she explained how she had legs from low tide back when they met up in the woods. He needed to have put it together when he saw Elizabeth’s soul being held by the villain, but there was never a look of “holy shit, this is real”. Now, he’s seeing her as a mermaid, and he’s just talking to her like he always accepted it.
  6. The third plot point starts when Cam gets home and realizes Elle has been kidnapped. Cam finds her and after little challenge, rescues her. At this point, we know that Locke wants her because she has a mermaid heart and that’s special. We know that somehow he’s been using Elizabeth’s heart for power up to this point and that’s why he’s been keeping her. When Elizabeth is in her cell, though, Locke tells her that after he has Elle, he’ll never need her again. But, why? If mermaid hearts make you stronger, wouldn’t having two theoretically still be stronger than having one? What is so special about having a human with a mermaid heart? None of that is every explained. We know it’s important, but not really much past that, which ends up making us confused again.
  7. The climax begins as they get Elizabeth’s soul and save her mid-show thanks to the fortune teller stopping time. Cam, Elle, the fortune teller, and the wolf-man begin their quest to get Elizabeth to the ocean before Locke gets to them. I need to comment on both her and the wolf-man. In this climax they’re revealed to be super strong. The wolf-man beats his longtime tormentor and the fortune teller is revealed to be a powerful witch that was hoping to learn from Locke. She even stands toe-to-toe to Locke to help hold him off. But I knew literally nothing about them until this point. Sure, I saw the wolf-man was treated poorly briefly and that the fortune teller cared about Elizabeth, but that was it. So why are they in the arguably most important scene as major characters? It left such a disconnect. I’m not saying to take them out of the climax – they were strong additions. There should’ve just been more introduction in earlier scenes. The action of this climax (although with an obviously low budget for special effects) was rather good. Each character had their moment, and I would’ve appreciated it more had there been earlier bonding moments. Elizabeth makes it to the water, and Elle, who had been having a cough attack and couldn’t breathe from her health problem, is healed when Elizabeth takes her underwater. This is the point that I think Elle should’ve been revealed as a mermaid. It would’ve added more impact to the final climax moment than lousily revealing it through the ‘narrator’ portion of the movie with Elle as the grandmother. Cam also just kisses Elizabeth, and then supposedly never sees her again. That feels like a very anti-climatic end to an anti-climatic romantic subplot.
  8. The plot is instead resolved with the grandmother coughing. Now revealed as Elle, she’s seen swimming as a mermaid with Elizabeth. Again, while a time lapse could work as a resolution if done well, this felt like an ‘oh cool’ moment rather than a satisfying ending.