Fictive Universe

Fictive Universe
By Alan Petersen | www.FictiveUniverse.com
About this podcast
Aspiring fiction writer Alan Petersen's podcast about writing his first fiction book and trying to generate sales writing & self publishing fiction books/e-books.
This podcast will cover the progress of writing my first book. I’ll share the good, the bad, and the ugly of fiction writing.
I’ll also provide listeners and aspiring fiction writers with tips, tools, tricks, and unsolicited advice about the writing and self publishing route.
I won't be going the traditional publishing route of trying to find an agent and/or publishing house by sending query letters, etc. I'm going DIY self publishing and those are the topics that will be covered in this podcast.
In this podcast

Alan Petersen

Fictive Universe

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Latest episodes
Jan. 22, 2018
Send to KindleDistraction free writing can easily be achieved by using a free software program that blocks you from accessing all of the time-sucking distractions on your computer from "doing research" on Google (translation: hour losing rabbit holes), Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, games on your machine, looking at photos, or an old document, et al. that can distract you from writing and amps up procrastination from the writing task at hand can be blocked so all you can do on your computer is write! Distraction free writing with Cold Turkey Writer Cold Turkey Writer is a nifty software program that blocks your computer from doing anything but writing! You select a word count goal or time goal that you want to reach and when you meet those goals you will be allowed to unblock your computer so you can access the time-suck things like Facebook and Twitter. Full video demo of distraction-free writing in the video below. Watch the video... Send to KindleThe post Distraction Free Writing appeared first on Fictive Universe.
Jan. 4, 2018
Send to Kindle2018 word count tracking spreadsheet for writers is now available! I've written about word count tracking spreadsheets in the past. And you can click on this post to download a free basic spreadsheet (direct download, no email address needed). But if you're looking for a more advanced Word Count Tracking Spreadsheet then look at the video below for a demo of my souped up word count tracking spreadsheet for 2018: Buy with PayPal $9 Word Count Tracking Spreadsheets There are a lot of word count tracking spreadsheets out there. I must have tried them all... most didn't do everything I wanted them to do and most of them were out of date (by several years). Updating an old spreadsheet from 2014 to 2018 is tricky without breaking the formulas so I decided to have my dream 2018 Word Count Tracking Spreadsheet developed just for me! Excel Guru My past experience as a business systems analyst came in handy. I wrote the specs for my dream word count tracking spreadsheet and I hired an Excel developer from UpWork. He created an awesome Word Count Tracker that has everything I wanted: Tracking word count on a daily, weekly, and monthly bases An at-a-glance dashboard with beautiful charts to look at the data Project-based, so I can add as many writing projects as I want and allows me to work on multiple projects. Red, green, yellow status of progress for reaching my word count goals Easy to use. I just plug in my daily word count and the spreadsheet formulas crunch all the data automatically. Highlights Click images to enlarge. Back browser to come back here. The Dashboard   Project Overview   Daily Word Count Tracker   Excellent Feedback I shared the spreadsheet with several online writer friends and the feedback blew me away. They absolutely loved it. So I decided to offer for sale here. It's cheap, just $9. It would be great if I can recoup the money I paid to have this spreadsheet developed for me which is another reason I'm making it available for sale. I'm sure you're going to love it! Important Note: NO REFUNDS Because you're downloading the spreadsheet with all its formulas there is NO REFUND! So make sure you really want this Word Count Tracking Spreadsheet before you buy it! Watch my video where I show you the entire spreadsheet in action that way you can decide if it's for you. Another caveat, I paid a professional Excel developer to create this spreadsheet. It has some pretty advanced Excel formulas, at least they seem very advanced to me. So if you buy the spreadsheet and you start to mess around with the formulas and you break the tracker, I can't help you fixing it because it's over my head. So if you're going to mess around with the formulas, make sure you make a copy, so you have the original version handy to go back to if you mess things up. FAQs So this is just a spreadsheet? Answer - Yes. It's an Excel Spreadsheet. XLSX file format. I'm a Mac user, so it works with Excel for Mac. I've also checked it out with Windows and it works. Does it work with Numbers or Google Sheets? Answer- No. What's your refund policy? Answer- There is no refund policy. All sales are final. What kind of support do you offer? Answer- None. I can answer basic questions but if you have questions about the formulas or if you break the spreadsheet by messing with the formulas and need my help to fix it, I can't help you. My suggestion is to keep an original copy handy in case you need it. Buy Now for $9 Send to KindleThe post 2018 Word Count Tracking Spreadsheet appeared first on Fictive Universe.
Oct. 20, 2017
Send to KindleCheck affiliate link video for down in this post. Quick lowdown on affiliate links This post is about affiliate marketing, but it's something that authors should be doing on your author website in order to add another source of income to your business. Note: if using affiliate links on your website you need to disclose that relationship so make sure you have a link to your "Affiliate Disclosure." It's required by the FTC here in the U.S. Here is mine. Anyway, if you're referring to products or services you use, you should be checking to see if they have an affiliate program. Amazon's Affiliate Program, for example, should be a must for writers. And once you have setup your affiliate links on your website, you should not just forget about them, because on the Internet, links break! Why do Affiliate Links Break? There are a lot of reasons why this might happen. The merchant goes out of business. Or they sell to another company. Maybe they shut down their affiliate program. Of if they use a third-party company like Commission Junction, the merchant might bring in in-house (like eBay did a few years ago) or they switch to another network. Although the reasons vary, the merchant usually makes these changes without letting affiliates know. And when they do let you know that they're making changes the onus is on YOU to update your affiliate links so you're not screwed out of your commission. It Happens More Than You Think I've lost track how many times this happened to me. And it just happened again. I have a post and video about how to setup your manuscript in CreateSpace. In both of these, I was linking to CreateSpace via the affiliate network they were using. So I was doing my affiliate link checking and lo and behold that link was dead. Over one thousand unique clicks and over twenty thousand video views on YouTube and the link went nowhere. Not only is this frustrating because CreateSpace failed to notify their affiliates but it's also frustrating to folks that read my post or watched the video to click on a dead link. So I chanted "Serenity Now" a few times and got to work fixing the problem. Pretty Link to the Rescue Luckily, I use a fabulous WordPress plugin called, Pretty Link. It's a nifty plugin that lets me keep control of my affiliate links or any link that I'm redirecting (useful for tracking stats). Pretty Link not only offers great stats on my links (hits, clicks, uniques, etc.) but I can easily change the target link in a few seconds. Once I change the target URL in Pretty Link, the link is magically fixed everywhere. I don't have to fret or manually try to figure this out and make changes all over the place. Pretty Link has a lite version that is free, which works just great. And when/if you need a bit more oomph to your link tracking, their pro version is very affordable (Pretty Links Home Page). Check Affiliate Link Video Okay, now that I've explained the problem that led to record this video to help you out, here is the "check affiliate link" video which shows you, in real time, the dead affiliate link problem and how to easily fix it with Pretty Link. Send to KindleThe post Check Affiliate Link appeared first on Fictive Universe.
Oct. 2, 2017
Send to KindleI'm moving WordPress Site because I'm changing web hosting companies. Just like moving in real life, I was dreading making this move for the obvious reasons... Downtime Deadlinks Broken Images Manually intensive Expensive (hiring someone to move my WordPress site) A lot more headaches kept popping in my head But thanks to a plugin, it was so simple. A few clicks here and there and in less than ten minutes I moved over 4,000 files for my WordPress site that was over 150BM in size! It didn't even take a couple minutes to import that 150MB WordPress site to its new. I was lickety-split, worked perfectly, and it was a complete breeze. Moving WordPress Site Plugin Doing my research there was one plugin that kept coming up to tackle the daunting task of moving my WordPress site. It's called The All in one WP Migration plugin and it's fantastic. And if the WordPress site that you're moving is less than 500MB, it's free! You can also add extensions to the plugin if you want manager your WordPress site move using Dropbox (and several other options), but I just went with the file option. You can watch the video below as I'll show you moving my content/file heavy website for my author interview podcast WordPress site. But it's as dead simple as installing the plugin on your existing WordPress site, clicking EXPORT. Then wait for the zipped folder of your WordPress site to be downloaded to your computer. Then going to your new WordPress site. Install the plugin. Click on IMPORT and upload that zipped file. Then a few minutes (if that) for the plugin to do its thing and that's it. Moving WordPress Site, complete! Please note, this only applies if you're using a self-hosted WordPress site on your domain (via WordPress.org), not a WordPress.com site. Moving WordPress Site Video Send to KindleThe post Moving WordPress Site appeared first on Fictive Universe.
Sept. 21, 2017
Send to KindleBookBub Author Profile The BookBub Author Profile is a valuable piece of online real estate that BookBub offers you, for free. Even if they keep turning you down for their email promotions, they offer all authors a chance to "claim" your "BookBub Author Profile" for free. BookBub is a major player in the book publishing industry so it behooves you to claim your BookBub Author Profile so that you can have your author brand (profile pic, your books, and bio) on BookBub. Once that's setup you'll be listed in their directory of authors and your profile will include an option for readers to "Follow You" on BookBub that way when you have a new release, BookBub will reach out to those readers via email to let them know. Managing Your BookBub Author Profile and Fixing Mistakes Once you set up your profile on BookBub it's easy to forget about it. I did. Then one day recently, I decided to double check my profile page to make sure it was still up and running. It was, but there were several books listed on my BookBub Author Profile page that were not my books: There is another author with my name, spelled the same way, down to the one L in Alan and all Es in Petersen. He writes non-fiction books about sociology. I write fast-action, high-octane thrillers, I don't want his books on my profile page. Luckily, BookBub makes it very easy (easier than Amazon) to fix your author profile page. You can watch me fix my profile page in real time in the video below: The quick and dirty steps: Log into your BookBub partner account. Click on the "Manage Books" button. Then click on "My Books" link (not sure why BookBub doesn't have a more direct link to My Books but for now, it takes two steps). From the "My Books" section you'll see all the books listed on your BookBub Author Profile. Click the "Request Change" link. Then follow the prompts from there. I like to add a message which is optional: It appears that triggers a manual review since a message states that it might take up to a week for the change to happen. You'll see a "Changes Pending" message appear next to the book you want to be removed. That's it. Simple. Don't forget to subscribe for more author tips. Send to KindleThe post BookBub Author Profile Fixing Errors in My Books Section appeared first on Fictive Universe.
Aug. 21, 2017
Send to KindleHow to Add cPanel Email to Gmail in 7 Steps In this post, you'll learn how to add cPanel email to gmail. I'll walk you through the process in the video tutorial below, I'll show you how to easily add another email address (preferably from your own domain like yourname dot com) into Gmail. What You'll Need Your own domain name (Something like AlanPetersen.com) A web hosting account with cPanel About ten minutes   Why Gmail and cPanel? I've been using Gmail as my main email account for about ten years. It was called "Gmail Beta" for at least a couple years ago. It's convenient, easy to use, and it's what I'm used to. We don't need to get into the whole "you trust Google with your email account" in this post (I don't). cPanel is a popular web hosting account interface which is provided by most of the major web hosting companies out there. So since I use Gmail and cPanel for my web hosting account (which I use to setup my email addresses) it makes sense that I use those two tools to create and manage my email addresses. Cpanel and Gmail make it really easy to do this (watch the video and my step-by-step screenshots down below. How to Add cPanel Email to Gmail (Video) How to Add cPanel Email to Gmail in 5 Steps 1. Log into cPanel 2. From the Email section click on "Email Accounts" 3.Write the email account name you want in the corresponding field (i.e. [email protected]), select password, and click "Create Account". You have created a new email address in cPanel 4.Click on the "Setup Email Account". From that page, you'll need your username (your email address), the server and the SMTP details (will be listed in that cPanel page) 5. Go to your Gmail Settings and click on the "Accounts and Import Tab" to add that email address to Gmail. 6. Here is where you'll need to enter the email account details from cPanel like the SMTP info. Follow the prompts to add that email address. 7. Enter the confirmation number that Google Gmail will you send to confrim you own that email address and that's it! You're reas to use that email address in Gmail. Watch video above to see this process in action. Send to KindleThe post How to Add cPanel Email to Gmail appeared first on Fictive Universe.
Aug. 7, 2017
Send to KindleCan you Import a Scrivener Template That was Created in Windows Version Into the Mac? Import Scrivener template made in Windows into Scrivener for Mac? Short answer, yes! Watch this video: How to Import a Windows Made Scrivener Template into Scrivener for Mac For a long time, I didn't realize that I could import a Scrivener template that was created in the Windows version of Scrivener into my Mac version. This seemed apparent to me when I would try to import a Scrivener template and I saw an exec file staring back at me. I'm not a programmer, but as a layman, I was led to believe that you could run a Windows ".exe" or ".exec" file on a Mac without having additional software to do some translations. It just seemed it was beyond my tech comfort level. So I was surprised to learn that if a Scrivener template was created in the Windows version of the software, as a Mac user, I would just see that nefarious exec file, that I shouldn't let that file scare me away. By doing a simple Scrivener template import the Mac version would be able to handle it and show me the template without any issues. No muss, no fuss. You can watch me import a Windows made Scrivener template into my Mac version of Scrivener (see video above). Here are the steps (couldn't be easier): 1. From Scrivener create a new project and click on the drop-down menu on the bottom left-hand side of Scrivener: 2. Browse to the template on your computer. You'll probably see that EXEC file icon, but that's okay. If you look at the file name extension you should see ".scrivenertemplate" so you're good to go. Click on it and then just import it. 3. The template will be imported into your "Fiction" templates (could also be in the "Non-Fiction" and "Miscellaneous"). Choose the template and that's it. Start writing! Send to KindleThe post Import Scrivener Template appeared first on Fictive Universe.
July 20, 2017
Send to KindleiClever Keyboard Review geared for writers using Scrivener iOS on mobile devices. I use it on my iPhone, so that's what I show in the video. iClever Keyboard Review   I love Scrivener iOS. I use it on my iPhone, but tapping away on the phone's screen with those tiny keys was a bit much, so I began to look for a portable Bluetooth keyboard. I purchased the iClever Portable Keyboard. It's wireless, Bluetooth enabled, and ultra-slim! And as you can see from the video above, it works like a charm with Scrivener iOS on my mobile phone. You can see my Scrivener iOS review and video here. Bluetooth Keyboard That's Ultra Slim The Bluetooth worked right off the bat. It paired easily with my iPhone (some devices are a bit of a pain to pair, but not this keyboard). Send to KindleThe post iClever Keyboard Review appeared first on Fictive Universe.
July 13, 2017
Send to KindleFixing Google search results is pretty straightforward and I show you how to do that in this video: Background About Fixing Google Search Results If you watched the video above, you can see it's an easy process to contact Google via its "Feedback" link to report a problem with Google's search result. For me, this all came about when I Googled my author name, "Alan Petersen". I believe that this should be an important part of your marketing strategy to ensure your author name, your brand is not being misrepresented or coming back with errors like it did in my case. Two Things to Look for in Author Name Google Search Results The two main things I look at when "Googling" my author name are: Is my author website coming up number one in the search results or at a minimum, somewhere on the first page of the Google search results? This is key since Google is one of the largest and in my opinion, the most important search engine out there. I don't care or check on the other search engines like Bing, for example. For now, Google is king and that's why I periodically (a few times per year) check my search results for my author name only on Google. I look for errors in the Google search results so I can fix them. In the example, below, you can see that there is another author by the name of Alan Petersen. It appears he mostly writes non-fiction about sociology. I'm a fiction genre writer. I write thrillers. But for whatever reason, Google has decided to toss in my novel, The Asset, into the search results of the other Alan Petersen. Not good. I wouldn't have known about that error in the Google search results if I didn't google myself! Note: if you use a pen name or multiple pen name, you should Google those names. The Results The jury is still out on that one. I reported the error above to Google last week (as of the writing of this post), and nothing has happened so far. I'm not surprised by that. I figured it would take awhile for them to address it (if they ever do). Stay tuned. I'll provide an update once this is fixed or if I hear back from Google about this. Send to KindleThe post Fixing Google Search Results appeared first on Fictive Universe.
March 17, 2017
Send to KindleSign PDF Documents Free As indie authors and publishers we'll have to documents to sign. Usually, they'll email you a PDF document. I would print it out, then sign it, then scan it back into my computer so I could email back the signed copy. There has to be a better way to sign PDF documents I started to look for a way to do this electronically. You can do that with a premium Adobe PDF sign software at a cost of about $120 PER YEAR. There are third-party software and apps that can do this for cheaper, but you're still paying for software. Since I only need to sign a few documents (if that) per year, I didn't want to pay $70 per year to a third-party or $120 to Adobe (every year). Side Rant I really hate the way software companies are now charging a yearly license fee versus just letting you buy the software outright and then letting you decide if/when you wanted to pay to upgrade. Now all these software companies, Microsoft, Adobe, and just about every other one out there are now clipping you every year with license fees. It reminds me of the airline companies nickel and diming you with fees for everything. Pretty soon they'll add a credit card swiper to the bathrooms. Okay /end of rant. How to Sign PDF Documents for Free I was very happy to learn that I could sign my PDF document from my computer using Mac Preview. It's very simple. I walk you through the process in under four minutes in the video below: But basically, open the PDF document in Preview then click on the "toolbox" icon and click on "sign" then use your trackpad or camera to add your signature to any document. Drag it around, mess with the size, and once you're ready, just hit save and done. Email that signed document back, no fuss, no muss, no yearly fees. All Mac's come with Preview, so if you're a Mac owner, you're set to go. If you're a Windows user and reading this, I suggest you go to Youtube and search "Sign PDF windows" and you'll see several video tutorials on how to do this on a PC. It's not as easy and built-in as with the Mac but it looks like it can be done. Just not as easy as on a Mac (one of the reasons I switched from Windows to Mac back in 2007). Send to KindleThe post How to Sign PDF Document for Free appeared first on Fictive Universe.