I haven’t posted much here in a long time. It’s challenging when nothing seems to be happening, when writing isn’t going well, to talk as if things are okay. It’s been a challenging year (yes, another one), and I just find that I don’t want to speak publicly about it. It’s hard to feel, sometimes, like anyone cares. I know people do, I know you’re out there, but knowing doesn’t really alter my perceptions.
But it’s time to climb out of the hole, take a peek outside, and see what the lay of the land looks like, now that spring seems like it might finally arrive (the rain this year has been relentless).
So, here’s what’s going on.
I’ll be running a Kickstarter for the Mac version of TrackerBox in the near near future. If you have been waiting for a Mac version of TrackerBox, this is the only way it’s going to happen. I’ll post more when it goes live.
I have been writing, but I’ve been writing songs. You can hear demos of some of them on SoundCloud. They’re all kind of rough, but you should get the idea of what I’m aiming for. And when I say they’re rough, each of them were written and recorded in a single day. The plan is to write a few more, then do some work on the demos, and record an album.
I’m still working on the multiplayer part of the game Paperback, which you can find on iOS and Android. It’s a great word/card game. That should be done soon (I’m timing the TrackerBox Kickstarter around when I think that will be done).
Do not worry, more books will be coming. I can’t leave Robert and company, Grim, or the other the crew from Minders alone for too much longer.
If you’re still listening, thanks for hanging around in my absence. I’m going to try to be better about posting regularly.
When I first released TrackerBox, the plan was always to have an introductory price, and then raise the price to something that made more sense based on what TrackerBox is and the market for it. It’s been sitting at $60 since 2012, and since then, I’ve updated it fifty four times. I’ve added features, marketplaces that people have requested, and I haven’t charged one extra cent for that ongoing support.
I’ve had people suggest that a yearly subscription fee might cover the cost of that ongoing support, but I’m not at all interested in charging a subscription fee. I want to offer you a one time fee for something you get to keep and continue to use on your hardware. I want it to be a value for you over time.
But I still need to support the ongoing updates.
I’ve looked around at the other options available, and there isn’t another application available for your desktop that does what TrackerBox does. There are services where you put in all your information, and they give you similar information, but they will cost you at least $60 a year, and if you have any number of books at all, they can cost twice that or more.
With all that in mind, I’ve chosen to raise the price of TrackerBox to $89.99.
It’s $30 less than the first year of the biggest alternative, and you get an application on your computer that is frequently updated, doesn’t require you to store passwords on someone else’s website (or even your own computer), and saves you hours of time each month over playing around with spreadsheets.
I have some more updates planned for TrackerBox in the coming months, and I’m working on a solution to a much asked about port to Mac. I don’t know if it will happen, but I’m working on finding a way to make it happen.
So, if you’ve read this far, and you’re completely angry with me for raising the price right as you were about click that buy button, I’ve got a coupon for you.
Through the end of August, you can get TrackerBox at the old price of $59.99 by entering the coupon code TBAUG2016 at checkout.
I have talked for over a year and a half (might be two years, now), about releasing a Mac version of TrackerBox. I’ve even done quite a bit of work on it, and could probably have it complete in a month of concentrated work.
But, as I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve had a lot of personal life difficulties that have pushed it out, further and further, and I think it’s time to be realistic about the chances of me ever finishing the Mac version of TrackerBox. They’re pretty much slim to none.
It’s not that I don’t want to give my favorite writer friends who work on a Mac the opportunity to shave hours off of the time they spent dealing with their numbers. I’d really love to be able to do that. However, I have an eight hour a day side job, kids to manage, books I want and need to write, a wife to keep happy, and the the current versions of TrackerBox and StoryBox to support.
Recently, after our car decided to stop shifting gears, I had to visit the doctor because I had soreness in my left arm, a high heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and unexplained sweating. After an examination and an EKG, he prescribed anti-anxiety medication.
It became clear to me that there was a reason the Mac version of TrackerBox kept slipping. I just don’t have the bandwidth for it.
I’m really sorry I’m not able to follow through on it, but I’ve got to do what’s in the best interests of my health and my family.
With all that said, if there is some intrepid Mac programmer out there who would like to help take the Mac version to completion (I estimate it’s about 30-40% done), contact me and we’ll see if we can work out the details. You would have to know Objective C and C++ fairly well, and I would like to see examples of software that you have taken to completion.
StoryBox 2 is done. Finally. Eight months of tweaking and rearranging and wholesale changing have made StoryBox into a more flexible piece of writing software than it has ever been. And if you’ve used it, you know that it was already flexible.
My goal with StoryBox 2 was to clean up as many of the dusty corners as I could, and to do a better job at having things organized while still available to use everywhere, including in full screen mode.
With that in mind, I created the MenuBar – a strip along the bottom that takes up no more room on the screen than the combination of the Menu and StatusBar that previously existed, but gives you more functionality, including a Countdown Timer, 6 different word count meters, the clock and session timers, and, of course, the menu. The menu, instead of being text, is now a set of six icons. It takes a moment to get used to it, but once you do, I think you’ll like the fact that they are out of your line of sight.
The next big thing is the new export dialog. It allows you to save Export Profiles for each story. The Export Profiles save every setting, as well as a list of the selected files. I use this to make separate eBook exports for each retailer like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. This way, I can customize the front and back matter for the retailers, and if I need to make changes, I don’t have to worry about making mistakes when selecting which files to export. The profile saves those selections.
The third big change is the Full Screen mode. In Full Screen, you now have access to every tool in StoryBox. You can do your outlines in full screen, you can do your Storyboarding in full screen, and you can have multiple documents visible side by side in full screen. You can set a different theme for full screen than you have in Windowed mode, and you can even set up the MenuBar differently.
In the coming months, I’m going to back off StoryBox development, to a degree. I will fix bugs over the summer while I concentrate on getting a Mac version of TrackerBox out, as well as the four books I have currently finished writing, but haven’t published. After that, releases will focus on one part of StoryBox at a time, the first of which will be search features.
There are 114 changes from 1.5 to 2.0, many of them minor, but far more than I could talk about in a blog post. Check them out and download StoryBox 2 from StoryBoxSoftware.com.
It’s May 31st. Yes. I was planning to release StoryBox 2 today. I planned to release Fragments today, too. Neither of them are happening.
StoryBox 2 will go out of beta sometime next week. I had to do some updates to TrackerBox that were not planned due to Barnes & Nobles change over from PubIt to NOOK Press. Now, the only thing holding StoryBox 2 up is fixing up the help file. I’ve already done a bit of work on it, but it needs more, especially with all the additions and changes, including changes that occurred after version 1.0 that never got included in the help. I will work on that this weekend.
Fragments has a different story. I started the formatting (which occurs after editing) last Friday and quickly discovered there were things I didn’t like. These things were there despite having been read by four other people, not including myself. The book was written last summer, and I’ve written a lot since then, so perhaps it’s just me growing as a writer, but I couldn’t let the book go out with things I hated in it. So I’m running through it one more time in an attempt to clean out those things that just bug the crap out of me. I’m sure, if I read it again six months from now, there will be more writing in it that I don’t like, but I feel I owe it to you to at least like everything in it at the time I release it.
So you can probably add two or three weeks to the release date for Fragments. I’m going through it as fast as I can, but I’m not rushing it, and it’s a long book. I think I’ve said it before, but it’s nearly 30% longer than Shattered. Reworked is coming along, but it’s probably going to be another 20-30% longer than Fragments. And, though I had planned it as a trilogy (planned is a loose term, here – imagined is probably better), I have an inkling there will be a fourth book.
This also means Zombies Bought the Farm will be delayed, but since it’s far shorter than Fragments, I’m hoping it won’t be much more than a week later than my original plan.
Today (May 31, 2013) is the last intentional day to get Shattered for $2.99. It’s $2.99 at pretty much all of the retailers listed on the Shattered page.
I mostly don’t blog here about my software, anymore. It’s a separate business from my writing, and I prefer to keep the two as separate as possible. However, I wanted to mention a development, just because I thought some of you might be interested.
Today, I uploaded the open beta of StoryBox 2. You can download it and use it, and write awesome stories with it.
StoryBox 2 has a 45 day trial. The days are non-consecutive. If you open it up on one day, it counts as one. If you don’t open it up on a day, that day won’t count. You get 45 actual days to use it. If you open it and forget to open it again for six months, it won’t expire on you in that time.
This is a change. I know it’s a change. I know some people won’t like it, but it’s something I have to do.
The original StoryBox versions will still be available until StoryBox 2 is finished. Those of you who are using StoryBox for free right now can continue to do so until the end of time, but the only updates going forward will be to StoryBox 2.
Also, the price of StoryBox will be going up by $5 once StoryBox 2 is finalized. All existing registered users will be able to upgrade to StoryBox 2 for no cost. So if you want to save yourself $5, register before StoryBox 2 is finalized. I don’t know the exact date, but there’s a list of things to do on the beta page, and when that list is empty, StoryBox 2 will be done.
I hope you try out StoryBox 2, if you are at all inclined toward writing, or if you’ve been using StoryBox 1.x, and I’d like to hear what you think.
A list of some of the major changes:
- Menu moved to bottom center of the screen
- You can now open most tool windows while in full screen mode.
- Themes use larger fonts and have been updated in many instances.
- Combined all of the wordcount bars into a single tool window called Progress
- Reworked the Export window. You can now save export profiles and toggle which files are included directly from the Export screen.
- Individual story properties are now in the Document Properties window when you select the Story document
- Added an Export To HTML option on the right click menu for the outline view
- Many changes to ePub export to fix lingering issues on several devices. It also now passes epubcheck validation.