Mail Chimp

Monday, April 30, 2012

New Media

My heart is atwitter
At the little things you like
And how I melt
When you kiss my face
Book of our lives
The timelines
I wait
In delight
For each
New chapter...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

October Surprise - No Free Books

If we can start a quiet campaign now and generally agree not to give any books away during the month of October (especially Halloween-themed books!), we can see if we can positively affect the bank accounts of struggling authors.

Do your part to spread the word. A book worth reading is worth paying for. You've stopped deforestation (Okay, not really, but, you know. It's a start.) Now let's stop literary devaluation.

Or perhaps come up with a catchier slogan. But let's stand together and sell some books, indie authors. Stop cannibalizing your sales, just for the month of October.

Heh, okay, I like that one.

Guest Post - Pandora Poikilos

A reader or writer – which would you rather be?
By Pandora Poikilos - http://pandorapoikilos.com/

I had two passions in my life when I was growing up, reading and writing. As a child, I looked forward to the little hardcover Labybird books that I would be given as presents. Food would finish and clothes I would outgrow but books ... now those were gifts that would last a lifetime.

I learnt about mystery from Nancy Drew, laughter from Adrian Mole, life's complexities from Pip and family life from the March sisters. I would explore more authors later on and in my teen years I would learn to explore my gift to myself, writing. In an era when computers were not a household necessity, I would scribble my thoughts on paper, send them via snail mail and look forward to when I could see my name appear in the local newspapers. Numerous articles later, I was convinced that writing was my talent and went on to get a degree in communications and an internship with an international news agency.

But I was tested and I failed, miserably. I was diagnosed with IIH (Intracranial Hypertension) about four days after I received news about the internship. I convinced myself that if I couldn't write the way I wanted then I wasn't a writer. I gave up on writing and I explored all other options I could think of. I was pushed and shoved into situations I was not comfortable with, let alone happy and kept going one disastrous attempt after another. I needed to find my calling.

Years later and so much more broken than when I started out, I put pen to paper again. This time, I surprised myself. Since then, I've been tested numerous times. Brain surgery, a lump on my back and eyes that cannot stand the glare from a computer screen but I'm not giving up. Not this time.

One particular incident when things got exceedingly difficult stands out. For a short while, my eyesight was so bad I couldn't type the chapters I had handwritten, I felt downright miserable.

Cue the arrival of my knight in shining armour. No, Peas didn't show up on a white horse to take me to a majestic castle, he offered me far more than that. Everyday, he would come home from work, he listened and typed as I read out my work.

We had so much fun, the hours together have even led to the 'birth' of Bruno McGrath but more on that in time to come. For now, I believe that you cannot be a writer if you are not a reader. But having done both I would rather be a writer. To me, it is my breath. Love and light.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

$.99 is the New Free

Hey, indie writer. Guess what? Things change.

I know, right? It's crazy. But what worked last year might not work this year. Yes, lots of new Kindle and Nooks and iPads, lots of new readers. And lots and lots of free books filling them up.

Sure, it's great to have 1500 books at your fingertips, in case the zombie apocalypse comes ahead of schedule or whatever, although in that case I hope you have invested in some sort of solar charger. Guess what? Most people will never read 1500 books in their lifetimes.

Game over.

So to sell a book to these people, they'd have to flip through this digital metric shit-ton of books and say to themselves, "None of these are what I want to read. I think I shall go purchase a new one, instead." Then they have to find your obscure ass.

Do you see how unlikely that is? Not to mention, the new ebook machines aren't ebook machines. They're web browsers and Twitterboxes and mobile Facebook units. Angry Birds delivery devices. Do you think your book can compete with Angry Birds? Fuck off.

$.99 books suck all around. People turn their noses up at them, increasingly. The profit margin is practically nil. $.99 screams indie writer. For some reason, a lot of people don't seem to like indie writers. Fuck 'em.

$.99 books move units, though. And they move up the sales charts. Moving up the free charts on Amazon is like...some clever simile I don't feel like coming up with. I don't know. Pissing in the bathtub. Yay! I gave away X amount of books!

Yes, and that is X amount of books you are guaranteed not to sell. Because those people got it for free.

I understand about getting your name out there and acquiring fans. But who wants a bunch of broke people as fans? How likely are they to buy your next book when they already got this one for free? All you really have to do is lay back and wait for the next free run of any given KDP book and it's yours for the clicking.

You're also much more likely to get shit reviews from kooks with an agenda if you give books away. But if you paid $.99 for a book and you didn't like it, that's your fault, not the author's. That's also $.35 in the author's pocket, whether you liked it or not, and actual sales rankings, not a worthless jaunt up the free charts.

So, the next time your KDP Select free promo time rolls around, try making your book $.99 instead. I think you'll be pleased with the results. We need to cultivate book buyers at this point, not book readers. At least I do. I have expensive habits and kids to feed. Girlfriend needs a diamond ring of considerable value. I still want that all black 2010 Chevy Camaro. Hawaii beckons.

You're not going to make it with one book at $.99, no matter what. 10 books at $.99? It could happen. Once you're charting well and things are otherwise running smoothly, then you can switch your price to something profitable without falling back into obscurity. Sure, you have to sell 6 times more books at $.99 to make what you do at $2.99. I'd rather sell 6 than zero, personally.

Writers are as fickle as their readers. I'm sure I'll change my mind in a week or two.  But for now, all of my books are $.99, from the 85,000 word thriller to the stoner zombie novella that seems to piss people off to no end.

I wanted to be a writer, not an economist...

Pageburner, Zombie Killa, Radar Love, Hurricane Regina, Perfect Me, Six Stories Short & Sweet - $.99

Supernova

You - my love eternal
Set me ablaze with flames infernal
The best part of the afterlife
My better half
My lighter
The candle
Torchbearer
I made you
And you made me
So who are we to blame?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sample Sunday - Untitled

I'm not revealing the title because this one isn't even being written on, currently, and I don't want to lose the great title. It's about a first-time serial killer rapist who abducts a teenage girl, and they fall in love... unedited.


She walked unclothed to the door and looked both ways in the hallway like a child tentatively crossing the street. Pet was haunted by the belief that she had done something wrong in her relatively juvenile life, but she was unsure what it could be. Seeing and hearing no one, she fairly tip-toed her way down the hall to the bathroom, where she naturally turned on the light and shut the door.
Shortly thereafter, the man returned to find Pet missing, having in essence left him at the altar.
He panicked and ran from the room, grabbing a knife as he exited. When he saw the light on under the bathroom door, he felt foolish. And then angry about feeling foolish. He stood to the left of the door and when she began to walk down the hall, grabbed her from behind.
She saw the knife before she felt it, the same one that had unnerved her when she saw it the first time in the grotto. By then it was too late to scream, his hand now covering her mouth so tightly it hurt. He simply returned her to the altar and tied her up again, never saying a word.
The hand with the knife hovered between her spread thighs.
Well, this is it, Pet thought, I’m going to die.
He rotated his elbow, raring back to drive the blade home, and said in a whisper, “I am your punishment.”
Even in the last seconds of her life, she was incredibly turned on. As the knife blade flew toward her crotch, she found herself replying, “And I am yours.”
As the last possible instance, he spun the knife around in a deft maneuver that was clearly a practiced one. Instead of puncturing her with the blade, the over-sized handle slammed home, leaving Pet writhing in orgasm with the blade protruding. For a few moments it quivered and vibrated like a tuning fork as she squirmed and rolled from side to side within the confines of her ropes.
When she finally looked up he was gone. Pet hoped he would be back, and soon. He had tied her much tighter the second time and she wasn’t sure she could escape again. After a while, she began to suspect she had been abandoned. She focused her efforts on a series of contractions intended to push the knife handle out. It was over-sized and wooden, which made it slow going despite her outstanding muscular control. Two minutes later, it dropped to the altar with a thump just as he re-entered the room.
Wordlessly, he began to untie her. She sat up, rubbing her wrists as he released her ankles. Neither mentioned the knife.
Pet swung her legs around and sat at the edge of the altar, naked and unashamed.
“That was fun,” she cooed. “For a little while, I thought you were gonna kill me.”
The face that was looking at her turned away.
His hand went to his pocket, and she knew his pager was going off again.
“I have to go,” he said. “My wife…”
“Your wife?” she shrieked, leaping down and advancing on him, causing him to retreat from the finger jabbing at his chest.
“I knew you were no serial killer. You don’t fit the profile.”
Pet didn’t wonder why she felt disappointed.
“Asshole,” she hissed.
“Now what?” he asked.
“Now what?” she mocked. “You’re asking me what to do?”
He looked into her violet eyes pleadingly.
“You leave. I stay. And in return, you give me…everything I want.”
She looked at him with defiance in her eyes.
“Or?” he asked.
“Or you kill me. Or you go to prison for life. Or I kill you. There are lots of ways to go with this, I think. It’s all the same to me,” she sniffed.
Checkmated, his eyes searched the floor.
“Can I go?” he asked without looking up.
“One more thing,” she said, causing him to look up at her.
“What?”
“Kiss me…”

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Shayna Gier's Gone Crazy

Author Shayna Gier, who wrote the fabulous 'Stuck In Estrogen's Funhouse' is having a giveaway attack. Help her out, would you?
 _________________________________________________________________
Hey!

There's just 3 days left for the Small Blogs Big Dreams giveaway hop and do I have big dreams for Shayangier.com.

Yesterday, SG.com just passed 1000 visitors in 30 days! To celebrate, I'm opening up a 6th prize pack IF I can get one of the widgets on the side to say there's 50 followers. So if you'd please twitter/facebook/email and just share the heck out of this link http://bit.ly/HQQi92 I'd appreciate it! There's already 25 or so followers, so 25 more shouldn't be too hard to grasp, right?

And money is tight, but if we way overshoot (100+ followers) I'll add more winners accordingly.

Thank you for helping this giveaway be a success and for participating!

Sincerely,
Shayna Gier

 _________________________________________________________________

Oh, and Radar Love is free this weekend and next. Which Shayna is giving away for me, as well. Doh! http://amzn.to/superlove

Thursday, April 19, 2012

My New Cover Artist - And Yours?

This guy had some fairly innovative designs, is reasonably affordable, and is also really helpful in making changes and working with the author to provide the desired cover. And we all know, people judge books by their covers. Exclusively.

Well...

But check this out:

http://humblenations.com/2012/04/16/jason-christie-branding/

He did three mockups and wrote a little article about it. I am a marketing genius.

Ok, so I lucked out, and he's really cool. Check out his work. He also writes great blog posts on design. Best of all, he understands branding, which is exactly what I need, as all of my books seem to be in different genres.

On the other hand, I got my ass handed to me here. But I'm fine with that.

http://booknotselling.blogspot.com/2012/04/hurricane-regina.html

"Why Is My Book Not Selling?" - These people will tell you exactly what they think. This sort of criticism is worth far more than the opinions of family and friends, commercially, but it's also a lot more useful than the tripe you usually hear in a one-star review or something. Imagine a school of professional piranha stripping your novel bare en masse. Then you take the skeleton and rebuild it.

It is an invaluable service. The cost? Free. But I hope you respond well to criticism...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Petition Amazon To Remove Thumb

Amazon's great. Unless you don't like them. They sell my books. I have no qualms with them. But within this great framework lie problems. Just little, niggling things. Simple to fix, but instead slow to die.

As the owner of this comment said on some message board, "Tell me, then, why George R.R. Martin's books, which are FANTASY, sit atop the SCIENCE FICTION category?"

(List also culled from user complaints on message board.)

Missing sub-categories that should be standard.
Completely miscategorized books.
Misplaced subcategories (Dark Fantasy is under Sci-Fi?  Really?)*
Misfiled books with poor response time to fixes.

But the real problem is that damn beige bar that sits there all month when you don't sell books.

Look at the light brown under blue green turf. Topsoil. Dead and buried, it says. Skies filled with smoke and soot. Pollution, desolation. Your book is sediment, settled to the bottom of the rushing Amazon to stilled waters. Observe how it mimics racism, with we poor relegated to the darker earth tones in contrast to the open air above. It's a battle of elements.

Or just a crap design choice that no one paid much attention to. They don't realize how much time people spend staring at that bar. While I'm on the subject of Amazon's book sales/or not, doesn't it bother Italy that they are somehow below what I am going to just assume is Estonia in the country rankings?

So, Amazon. Get your head out. Hire some sharp indie writer to seek out, research and correct these things. I bet a bunch of 'em need jobs. And give the end user the power to make the little brown bar any color we want!

* Cheeky comment belongs to original poster, whoever that was.

Monday, April 9, 2012

How and Why I Am A Motherfucker

This document right here. I hesitate to use the words, "This bitch right here." Because I've now got it down to a magical semi-science, and you can do away with all of your silly worries about fulfilling a few guest blog posts or that your novel is coming along too slowly. What, you're only writing one novel at a time?

Coming up with your own content will now be part and parcel of your being. I realize at this point that I am alleging to be building toward something. I am. I'm trying to, anyhow.

But it's so damn simple. Yet, I know, even at this late hour as I write this, I know it to be true. It will work. If it doesn't, you suck.

Welcome to your new world: the never-ending document.

See? I was already fucking off, reading, stupidly,
http://www.pharopromo.com/1/post/2012/03/5-simple-ways-to-increase-your-productivity.html.

Get the fuck back to work. Because this endless document is your new home. See those four walls, the border around your writing application? That's your fucking castle. Fuck your home. If you're homeless, you'd better get some composition books for your downtime. And what are you reading this for, homeless person, in the first place? Get the fuck back to your job of being homeless.

Do you know how dark and ugly work is for men? Our entire self-worth is derived from how much money we make, how we make it, and women. I'm surprised the suicide rate isn't higher.

So make it your work. Confine yourself in your little box for as long as a real job. I don't know about you, but I am incredibly slack.

But get this. See outside of those four walls? (Erm, you really need to resize the window from full-screen. There's a lad.)  When you're not writing, you should be bringing people to your writing. That usually just involves more writing, one way or another. Email, blog posts, unique tweets, Facebook.

The reason the endless document works is your current workflow doesn't accommodate train-of-though, necessarily. Doing all of your writing in a single document forces you to keep writing, keep polishing. Keep fucking publishing.

You don't necessarily have to keep *saying* keep fucking publishing, but I hope the phrase catches on. Hey, what's your name, Konrath.

I also recommend you take a new, gangsta approach to other writers. "Hey, what are you guys writing about?" Fuck what they're writing about. Your writing needs to be as far away from the rest of them as it can be. Style and original ideas are all any writer has.

Until it's time to promote your work. Then I highly recommend you befriend other writers at your skill level and start working together. There is nothing better than a good review written by a great writer. And you'd better read and review their work, too. It is a two-way street, for sure, on an information superhighway. Ha! First use of that phrase in ten years, I bet.

If you're at all inspired, you'll have ideas added to your document faster than you can expound upon them. Article ideas like this, possibly:

"Skittle flavors are ridiculous. Flavors inside of colors. False colors. False colours in parts of Europe. Skittle Riddles. The riddle is, "Why in the fuck am I eating seven-eights of a pound of Skittles?" But you know, ladies. You know."

But that's just how I'm a motherfucker. *Why* am I feeling sort of trumpety about myself?

Because I just realized the majority of my readers are, and will always be, fabulous, beautiful, intelligent women. That's no accident, but even I always thought I was writing for both men and women. I don't know the ratio, but it's overwhelmingly in favor of women readers.

Why do I think this is cool? Because, let's face it. You can't have sex with them all. Sooner or later, you realize that the best you can do in life is find that one girl and make her the happiest she can be for the rest of her life. So going mind-to-mind with the rest of them is the next best thing. Probably better, because even a cockswain such as myself probably couldn't get that deep into your head just having sex…

And that's also a form of power that's really interesting and unexplored by me, as of yet.

So give it a try. I know how most people work. Get an idea, maybe, open Word or whatever. Don't. First of all, Word on all platforms is too slow for this kind of stuff. Use some Notepad-type app that always blazes.

An intermediary step might be to start drafts of your article ideas directly on your blog as they come to you, but that is a half-assed way to go.

Both of these approaches are complete failures compared to the volume of output you'll get if you adopt the endless document method. Oh, excuse me, I have to go post this to my blog. Or send it as a guest post. And then I have to get back here, because I have a killer idea for a new blog post…

Bam! See how that works? I've already started writing another article. And check the word count. Get back to work.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Rebirth of "Blaxploitation"

There's an interesting new trend going on lately, and a positive one, I think. "Street Lit" is gaining in popularity among black readers. Wahida Clark, for example, is on the NYT best sellers list for what she calls "Thug Love" novels.

Apparently, she's moving into Wal-Mart territory. If you remember the 70s, or listened to rap in the mid to late 80s, you're no doubt familiar with Iceberg Slim, Donald Goines and writers of that ilk. But for a long time, people seemed more content to commit street crime that write about it. We have come full circle, now.

I think this is a positive trend for a number of reasons. For one thing, if it gets actual thugs reading, wow. That's a big deal.

For another, I've always gotten the impression that most black fiction is of the Bill Cosby variety. I read, say, "She's the One". You could change that entire novel from black people to white people with a simple search and replace, I think.

I've tried to write a few black characters, with varying results. Tessa Rack and Oracle Jones in my funny sci-fi "Perfect Me". It's a comedy, so I hope I can be forgiven the broad brush they're painted with. But Maxine Jackson of "Pageburner"? I'd like to think she's a pretty fleshed-out and realistic, erm, drug-dealing black cheerleader studying computer science...

Well, I'll keep trying.

Joey Pinkney has a nice interview with Wahida here: http://joeypinkney.com/urban-lit/interview-wahida-clark-author-of-payback-aint-enough.php

Also, there aren't many good rappers out there anymore. I hope more of them pack in and become writers, instead...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Iain Manson Rules!

I found this poem tucked away on a thread on Kindleboards. I think we indie writers have found our Kerouac.

The Thinking Vampire

John Locke was a philosopher ―
He shared the world with Pepys,
Whose diaries cure insomnia,
And thus they sell in heaps.

Imagine my surprise on hearing
Locke is selling too.
I'd thought none read philosophy
It seems that millions do.

I've tried his work myself, and while
I don't deny he's clever,
I never thought he'd make it with
Such cerebral endeavour.

I think the lookout's poor for all
I gloomily confess,
When millions read philosophy
And still the world's a mess.

I told a friend, who said “I find this
Altogether shocking
In a world that's run by vampires.
Do you read Amanda Hocking?”

“I've never even heard of her,”
I said, “What has she written?”
He told me that she tells the tales
Of ladies who are smitten

By dead men who've returned to life.
I said “My patience fails.”
“It would,” he said, “if you could see
Her quite enormous sales.”

It's true I sell no books
And nor does Jennifer or Connor
Or Kimberly or Nicholas:
Ours the Beige Bar of Honour.

But soon my sales will soar because
I now know where it's at:
I'm working on a book about
A philosophic bat

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004LGTNQQ/?tag=kindleboards-20

Buy one of his books so he doesn't bust my chops about stealing content...