(But you will hate it. Nothing to see. Move along.)
Over on the Books of the Dead Press blog is a long post from James Roy Daley about what it’s like to be a publisher. I’ve never dealt with the problems of having other peoples’ work on my shoulders, but running a self-published imprint I can tell you, all the rest of this also applies to self-published authors as much as it does to anyone trying to do this as a business with a stable of writers. Give it a read, because it really does explain succinctly why publishing can be stressful for everyone involved. Yeah, it’s no fun for us writers, but it’s no walk through a garden of money trees for small press publishers either.
What I like is how the path of publishing followed includes everything, right up to “you had a brain fart and said something stupid.” I can so relate to that! Although I think at this point, I’ve just fallen into a rut of one long brain fart, and I stopped caring about damage control. Anywho, also good was “5 more terrible reviews came down the pipe and two of them are from people that haven’t read the book; the urge to respond is overwhelming.” Yar, it’s even more problematic when reading reviews that make me go, “What fucking book were you reading? It sure as hell wasn’t mine!”
And don’t even get me started on the section on formatting problems, little digital hiccups that take a happy file and turn it into a potential ebook PR nightmare so awful, you do overtime to reformat the whole book overnight and upload it again. And then there’s, “Oh, sure, all the ebooks look fine, EXCEPT for the Kindle file.” Sure, only the most active book market, where your book is looking so butt ugly, even you, its figurative mother, will not love it. So that’s a do-over too. Unless you choose to work with KDP directly, which comes with its own little list of headaches and potential gotchas. And then there’s the “joy” of opening your latest print novel and finding a typo on page one despite you going through three proof copies “to be sure.” SOB!
So, yes, I can totally, completely relate to the sentiments expressed in the post. While it is long, I think it is totally worth your time, as it gets “better” as it goes along. So if you’re wanting something interesting to read while waiting for my next flop to drop, try reading what a publisher has to go through to earn “easy money.” It very clearly illustrates the maxim “If the grass seems greener elsewhere, that’s because the grass is growing where the septic tank is buried.”
So on Twitter, I was pointed to a game article where Satoru Iwata expressed hope that fans would improve word of mouth ads for Nintendo’s games over a few months old using DLC. His theory is that adding new levels and game upgrades will keep fans talking and making new coverts, because presently, even if gamers really like a game, once they’re done with it, they stop talking about it. This is a problem I can relate to.
I hope that using DLC works for Nintendo to rebuild fan loyalty, and my first thought was how on Twitter, I tweet what games I’m playing. Once I’m done with a game, there’s no reason to keep promoting it, so digital content adding to the original game is one way to get me to continuously promote old games. It’s a case out of sight and out of mind, so the DLC plan helps keep the names popping up n my Twitter stream. As an example, new DLC packs for Forza 4 keep me buying new cars, so I still have new reasons to play the game, and thus to tweet: “I’m playing Forza 4 again.” In this way the product stays fresh even after it should be considered stale.
I’m already in the habit of tweeting a list of my top 8 artists as compiled by Last.FM, and as my listening is all done on my phone, pretty much my whole music day is tracked. (Sometimes I shift to the Zune Player on my desktop, or I forget to activate the scrobbler while I’m listening.) So I’m promoting music both on Twitter and through my Last.FM profile every day. It may have been a long time since I reviewed Janelle Monae, but I still promote her albums every day thanks to these listing tweets.
Thinking about that got me thinking about how I promote books, which is not the same thing as WebLit. When a WebLit friend has a series, every chapter or episode is a promotion, and if I’m online and catch it, then sure, I’ll retweet that. So the serials have a built-in method of generating word of mouth, if the quality of the serial is good enough to warrant excitement. (Or if the writer has other writer friends willing to help them promote.)
But whether we’re talking print or ebooks, I don’t tend to bring up a book title after I finish it. This is true of good books and bad, and the only exceptions are the books that were SO GOOD, I had to keep promoting them even months later. There’s a few books that spring to memory that qualify for the distinction, and I’m happy to say there’s as many indie titles as there are pro titles from big name authors. But if a book is merely good instead of mind blowing, it gets relegated to the same status as the books I despised. Either way, I’m like, “Let us never speak of this again.” (more…)
I’m going to share two stories with you about two seemingly very different topics, but both sharing a common theme. First, imagine that there was a law enshrined in your land as one of the most important tenements of your government, and that someone was violating that rule. Now imagine that everyone except one person was okay with that violation, so they let it stand. If one person pointed out the violation and got the law enforced, what do you suppose the other people ignoring the law would do? Do you think they would stay rational? Like maybe they’d say, “Well huh, I guess we were breaking the law. Okay, fair enough, let’s try to be better.” You think that’s what really happened?
Then you’re either naive or in denial. Because what really happened is, people started sending threats to a teenage girl because she’s an Atheist and had a prayer taken down out of her school. Separation of church and state? Whatever, hippie chick, there are traditions to be respected! (Traditions made by organized religions after that pesky idea about separation of church and state, and traditions that romanticize conformity and oppression as actually being nurturing and educating.)
(EDIT: The more I think about this, the more this real life event SCREAMS for a YA author to spin it into a courageous tale of a non-believer standing strong against Christian persecution. A 16-year-old protagonist, clearly in the right, being brave in the face of tradition and righteous indignation. You don’t even need no romantic angle to make this into a solid book with a great heroine. Come on, writers. I know one of you is bold enough to cover this story and give Atheist teens a book to rave about. Please, make this happen.)
And you say, “Well but that’s a few religious fanatics.” Nuh-uh, this girl has to be escorted to class by cops because EVERYONE hates her. Forget a “few rotten apples,” because this whole place is full of rotten sentiments posing as religious devotion. I find it sad how many people demonstrate their love of God by making threats against other people. It’s even worse coming from people who supposedly believe in turning the other cheek. But being honest, the day I see morally incensed Christians actually practice what they preach about turning the other cheek, I’ll be flabbergasted and speechless.
But let’s move on to story two, where a blogger is attacked as “the worst person in the world.” Pretty freaking harsh, so what did they do? Did he advocate genocide or make a case for eating baby seals in front of their sobbing mothers? No, he didn’t provide links to the HELLO KITTY items he was blogging about, and the fans of the merchandise are flaming him with comments like: “I don’t know how your wife can put up with you. I think it’s utterly disgusting and you’re not fit to live on earth the way you treat us.” (emphasis mine)
REALLY? For not linking to a mass-produced item that you can fucking Google in 3.6 fucking seconds from the search window of your browser? And what the fuck is wrong with people that every day they take first world shit and turn it into a reason to be rancid inhumane shitheads? The first story shows how religious dogma can turn ugly even as people preach about wanting to earn God’s love. But the second story is more disturbing because the “religion” that this man ran afoul of is the Hello Kitty fandom. And they’re wishing death on him with just as much venom as the people threatening the teenage Atheist. Neither group has a valid excuse, but looking at the second story, how can any fan not cringe and say “Okay, that’s taking our fandom too far?” So how come this poor guy is getting comments like this regularly? In short, what the hell is wrong with you people? Why is it that you can turn your first world problems into the worst travesty that ever happened, ever, but you can’t recognize when real travesties have occurred? (more…)
“Every woman artist has to kill her own grandmother. She perches on our shoulder whispering, ‘Don’t embarrass the family’.”
You regular readers know I hate writing advice and writing rules lists. I think of them as make work for writers who’ve run out of interesting things to say and are instead trying to find something to offer out to cover their awkward silences. So you wouldn’t expect me to come up with a list of guidelines for writerly success. But today, I have some advice for women writers: do not be ashamed of your voice, and do not be afraid to say things in public that would offend your mother.
This runs counter to the advice of about a billion social media gurus, most of whom only have one book, and that’s a writing advice self-help book. All of these people have a non-fiction book, and they advise fiction authors about how to succeed, as if the methods of marketing in the neurotic world of self-help will work exactly the same in the world of fiction writing. They won’t, and if you’re a fiction writer, most of their advice will hamper your efforts, not help. But of all their lousy advice, their comments to women may be the most damaging and useless.
Lots of women social gurus will tell you “Don’t say anything on social media that you wouldn’t want your mother to read.” But let me pose a question to you: if you’re a romance or erotica writer, and your writing persona is a milquetoast presentation that would make mother so proud, what kind of image are you sending to your readers? “I baked cookies with dear hubby and read to my two dear sweet children, Nathaniel and Thadeus. Please, buy my book Whipping Princes Leia’s Cooter!”
Now if you’re selling Christian fiction and want to be seen as the female equivalent of Ned Flanders by readers, then okily-didyum-dokily, you go on and be a mealy mouthed good girl and make your momma proud. But if you’re a horror author whose last book contained gruesome and gory acts that made your mother queasy, then why would you want your writing persona to be so out of phase with your writing voice? (more…)
I think it’s time for a ramble about where I am creatively. I believe TV tropes would still have me listed in the disillusioned artist category, unhappy both with my previous performances and with the audience reaction. (Or, lack thereof depending on which book we’re talking about.) But, even if I totally stopped pushing titles, I’ve been making sales. I know, I’m as surprised as you, really. I even had a few souls brave enough to read Peter’s books who didn’t hate my guts forever after finishing it.
But I’m assessing my previous pace and goals, and I don’t want to go back to that. Hell, when I have the revved up days of blogging or typing, it hurts my wrists when I’m only going for 2-4 hours instead of my old 8-14 hour schedule.
I really don’t know what projects I’m going to work on after completing the current crop of titles, but just what I have on my plate makes contemplating the rest too hard. I can only mentally juggle so much and still have time for casual reading and gaming.
But it seems nothing can kill certain stories in me. Some characters aren’t willing to give up, even if I was. They want to tell their stories, and they pick at me worse than my nicotine addiction ever did. I have to write them, even if no one wants to read my crap. But….but, some people do want to read my crap. Some people even open their wallets and pay for that crap. I have no idea how to handle promotion to you folks, and so I still won’t. I know this is harder on readers waiting for random releases when there’s no hint from me that this or that book dropped. But this is still just my hobby, and with all due respect to my regular buyers, once my previous promotions stirred you to get a copy, everyone else still ignored me. And man, if you six or so regular buyers ever abandon me, I am so, so fucked. (more…)
Today is my first day off of Vicks Sinex Aloe in two years. I have an addiction to it because my deviated septum means my right nostril is always making mucus. When I lay down and roll on my side, that mucus travels to the other side and irritates it, resulting in a buildup in both sinuses. I have had this problem most of my life, and throughout childhood, it was my habit to suck the junk back through my nose and into my mouth and play Spit or Swallow?
If what I had in my mouth was small and mostly liquid, then it wasn’t so gross to swallow because it’s like having a mouthful of thick saltwater. Really not that bad. But some mornings I’d suck back a huge patch of leather booger PLUS a huge wad of viscous snot with an irony taste of blood and pus. This is going in a toilet, cause no fucking way is that crap going into me for digestion. I don’t care if it’s mostly protein, I still don’t want it. I feel confident that most people would agree with me if said nasty clot was in their mouths. Semen is actually nicer, and I spit that out too. (Sorry guys, I’m no swallower. That shit is nasty.)
So, back about two years ago, when cold season hit, I started taking Vicks. I’d done it before, leading to a one year addiction, and quitting wasn’t easy. That’s because without Vicks, breathing through my nose requires constant playing with my nose to clear it. So I can sit there and pick stuff out or snort water and let the water loosen stuff before I blow it out. Either way, I’m still sticking my fingers up my nose. So lady-like, right? But with Vicks, I spray, wait, and sploosh, one minty booger to play Spit or Swallow? with. And as an added bonus, for the next six hours, no boogers at all. How could I not want to be addicted to breathing free without picking my nose all the time? (more…)