Friday, July 21, 2017

Scammers and Thieves

I know, I already talked about this on Monday, but since then, another issue has come to my attention.  Several friends* discovered that their books had been stolen in their entirety and listed as being published by a scam publisher - under their name with their copyrighted cover art and everything, but with none of the monies coming to the author.  As far as I know it's only on iBooks, and Apple is being cooperative, but the loss for some authors is totaling in the thousands.

These shitheads take the books, list them for a dollar less than the authors are selling them anywhere else, and rake in the bucks. 

Short answer: If you see a book for free or for cheaper than it ought to be - even on a reputable website - check to make sure you're getting a legal and legitimate copy.  Otherwise, it's stealing.  All of my books say Sold by Amazon, with no actual publisher data, except for paperbacks which list Createspace.  I am the publisher, so if you see anything otherwise, it's a scam and I'm not getting a penny.  Hell, I only sell through Amazon right now, so if you see my books listed ANYWHERE else, it's a scam.  They're thieves and they're part of the reason I have to scrape and scrounge to publish books. 

Having said that, though, not all writers publish exclusively to Amazon, so keep your wits about you when you're shopping.  Cheaper may seem like better, but it's not.  It's screwing your favorite authors and putting money in some heinous asshole's pocket instead.

Better more powerful people than me are on this one, but as soon as they nix one, another crops up.  Like publishing books wasn't hard enough.  Sheesh.

And if you're a writer facing all this bullshit, keep your head up.  Fight the good fight when you can and cover your ass when you can't.  :hugs:

*As far as I can tell, none of my books are listed on iBooks.  Yet.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Introducing Jeni Braxxon

Hey All! 

On a whim this morning, I'm going to introduce you to my current heroine - Jeni Braxxon.  She stars in Sleeping Ugly, a paranormal mystery of sorts. 

Now, I'm still peeling back Jeni's layers, so some of this might be subject to change...

It was morning and I was ugly.
Near as I can figure it, I pissed in the wrong witch’s pool at some point.  All I know is one night I went to Spanky’s, drank a lot, danced a lot, and went home with the first available hottie.  The next morning, I woke up cursed.
And ugly.  Did I mention ugly?
Not the best outcome for a twenty-two year old fashion model, let me tell you.  I had a photoshoot the following week.  I had an agent who kept promising me the cover of Vogue if I kept going the way I was.  Sure, twenty-two is a bit old for a modeling career to take off, but I had hopes.  It had to take off.  It wasn’t like I had skills to do anything else.  Even on a good day, I’m not fit for fast food or retail sales.  Like this, I’m not fit for even that. 
Who wants to buy food or clothes from a hag?
I spent the first twenty-four hours of my ugliness trapped inside my apartment with the drapes drawn and the door closed.  After the initial shock of seeing myself, I threw towels over all the mirrors.  It was like someone was sitting shiva in there.  Until I tried to get ready for bed. 
With nothing to do and nowhere to go, I opted for an early bedtime.  Brushing your teeth is an interesting experience when you can’t see yourself.  So I sucked it up and pulled the towel down.  Prepped for a glimpse of gruesome, I got the second shock of the day when a nearly normal me stared back.  Other than looking like I had the roughest day of my young life, I was me again. 
Chalking it all up to the worst hangover ever, I swore off booze and went to bed, confident in my beauty.  I didn’t remember falling asleep.  I don’t even remember dreaming.  I closed my eyes in the dark one minute and opened them the next in the soft light of dawn.
I wish I could say I felt a tingle or a twitch.  Even a burning sensation in my nether regions would’ve been preferable, because it would’ve provided a warning.  Nope.  I got nothing.
Except ugly.  Overnight ugly.
At first I totally doubted my sanity.  Nobody gets ugly overnight.  Then again, no one gets pretty throughout the day either.  Either a person is always pretty or they’re always ugly. 
Psychotic break now or one earlier in my life—neither option made me feel any better about myself.  Of course, the only other answer seemed just as crazy.  Magic isn’t real.  Curses don’t happen in real life…
Unless they do.

I hope to have the first draft done by the end of the month and then in my editor's hands sometime after Wish Hits the Fan goes live in September.  (Or whenever JC gets the final edits to me, if that's feasible at the time.)  We'll see.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Cheaters and Liars and Scammers

Not a happy subject for a Monday morning, but I'd like to take a moment to address something I heard about this weekend.  People are out there cheating and lying and scamming their ways onto the bestseller lists at Amazon.  Apparently, there are 'services' that guarantee they'll have hundreds of people 'read' your book in Kindle Unlimited (for one low price, of course).  This shoots your book up the bestseller lists, which presumably gets you more sales.  This also gets you paid for page reads in KU.  But they aren't actually reading the books.  And those people who buy the books based on their list number are getting kind of pissed because they got scammed into buying a less-than-stellar book.

David Gaughran, author of Let's Get Digital (the self-publishing bible in my opinion), talked all about it on his blog, and FB, and through his Twitter page.  He also gives ways you can combat this crap, if you're motivated.

Personally, I'm too tired and sad to mount a battle against this.  As if there weren't enough hurdles to making sales in this business anyway, here's another one. 

Now, I'm not going to sit here and tell you I haven't been tempted to do some pretty unethical things to get sales.  Tempted, yes.  Like I'm always tempted to eat watermelon.  But like eating watermelon, the aftereffects of being unethical are BAD.  Karmically bad.  Metaphysically bad.  Soul cramps, if you will.  So, I don't do it.  I won't do it. I will never pay someone to commit fraud to give me a leg up.  Make book on that.

If I never sell another book because I refuse to be unethical and an asshole, so be it.  At least I'll be able to live with myself and sleep at night.  (Or if I'm not sleeping, it's not because I have soul cramps.)

Anyway, I guess there will always be people who have no problem being unethical.  Cheaters and liars and scammers.  If you're a reader, be on the lookout for books that come out of nowhere to land on the bestseller lists.  I guess there's a way to tell what the book's previous ranking was before it hit #1 (the Movers and Shakers lists?), and if you see a book suddenly jump from the hundred thousands to the single digits, be wary.

Meanwhile, I'll be sitting over here writing quality books without any scammy crap to get in your way.  I don't load unrelated back matter for more page reads.  I don't spam.  I don't pay people to read my books or to review my books.  I don't use services to give me a leg up.  I just write books that I hope readers will enjoy.

On a happier end note, Sleeping Ugly is moving right along.  Just under 3K written yesterday which left me at 19699 words so far.  I hope to have this first draft done by the end of the month.  Totally doable, if I don't fall off the wagon.

Oh, and before I forget, there's a Goodreads Giveaway starting this morning and running through the 31st.  One winner will receive a paperback copy of Up Wish Creek for their very own.  

Monday, July 10, 2017

At the Editor, Time for Stats

Hey Everyone!  Since I got Wish Hits the Fan off to the editor last night, I thought it might be fun to run down some stats for you.

So, Wish Hits the Fan (Once Upon a Djinn #4) is currently sitting at 62990 words (or 62969 in .doc form - why that's different I'll never know) and 222 pages.  This is, of course, the third draft of the book, so let's back up a bit.

The first draft of the book was only 47859 and 179 pages.  I finished that on February 25th of this year.

The second draft was 58339 words and 205 pages.  I finished that on June 26th.

Then, because I had dragged my feet all of the month of May, which put me behind so that I didn't get the 2nd draft done until the end of June, I beat myself with a stick and cranked through to get the 3rd draft done today.

It wasn't due to her until tomorrow, so we're starting the clock then.  JC has promised me a 3 week turnaround.  So, July 31st?  Fingers crossed it doesn't have too much wrong with it, so I can turn it back in to her quick.  I'm still looking at September, but the quicker I get it done, the earlier in September this will be in your hands.  Yay!

Now, one of these days I'm going to have to keep track of the hours I actually put in on one of these things.  I know for the past few days, I started working on the edits around 7am.  And I usually finished up around 8pm, on average.  BUT, and it's a big but, I don't work straight through.  I work for a while, break, work some more, break, call my mom/go fishing, work some more, do chores, work... you get the idea.  All told, though, it took me about an hour to enter a page worth of edit notes, and there were 19 of those to change the 2nd draft into the 3rd draft.  And, it took me about an hour to make a page of edit notes.  So, figure about 38 hours over the course of about two weeks.

Ugh, it felt like more, but unless I missed something somewhere, that's it.  Plot holes fixed, typos eradicated to the best of my ability, continuity issues smoothed. 

All I know is that when I finished last night, I felt like a deflated balloon.  And tired.  Now I can rest... a little... before I jump into my next project.  What that will be... your guess is as good as mine.  I had a wonderful idea for a new book when I was trying to nap yesterday afternoon, but it was gone by the time I got up.  D'oh.

Doncha hate when that happens?

Monday, July 3, 2017

Why Publish in Print?

You know, I wish I had the answer.  I still publish in print, despite the fact that I haven't sold a print copy of a book in over a year.  In fact, the print copy of Natural Causes should be available soon - good lord willin' and the crick don't rise.  (And the reason it's months after the ebook release is exactly the fact that I haven't sold many print books and it ain't cheap getting these without anything to show for the expense.)

I guess part of the reason why I publish in hardcopy is because I like print books.  I especially like holding a print copy of my books in my hands.  I like petting them and smelling them and thumbing through them.  It's a thing.

Another part of it is that I read somewhere that having a print copy available - even if buyers choose ebooks instead - adds legitimacy to the book.  :shrug: I'm not sure if that's true, but I do know that with sales off the way they are, I'm willing to try. 

Another part of it that offering free copies of print books is supposed to help with sales and reviews.  Sometimes yes, sometimes no.  If they actually read the book and want to read more of my stuff, they can find all the books in the back of either print of ecopies of my books.  And if they actually read the book they received free, they could possibly write a review.  (Umm, except for that one gal who got a copy free through Goodreads and put it up for sale almost immediately as a New, Signed copy.  Good luck unloading that, lady.)

In truth, I'm not sure what having paper copies of my books actually does for me.  Other than the expense of copies and shipping, it doesn't hurt to try.  Who knows, maybe the wiser heads are right and they really do help.  Either way, I have physical proof I wrote books for after I'm dead, right? 

What do you think? 

And, if you want a copy of the version of Blood Flow with the original cover say "pick me" in the comments.  I'll draw a name or two at the end of the week.  

Friday, June 30, 2017

Independence Week Book Sale!

Hi all!  Just thought I'd let you know that Blood Flow is on sale today through the 7th for only 99c.  You know, because it's a political suspense and what better time to have a sale than around Independence Day? 

Agent Randi Kruz knows Project Hermes is killing people. But the government won’t allow anything to hamper their plans for microchipping the populace. Despite numerous threats against her, she has to uncover the truth before anyone else dies. Locating the madmen responsible will be difficult. Stopping them might be impossible.

From the reviews...

"...BloodFlow is a taut medical/political thriller that rides the edge of reality in today's tense political climate. There's murder, villainous politicians, and heroic investigators and doctors...." 

"This is a very good book! With technology advances I can see this happening someday. Nanotechnology is great, but it can be deadly if misused and controlled by evil. Great book!"

"Very real story. It was well written and the three main characters were terrific. It is scary in that this could so easily be happening today...."

"... It’s a scary scenario which I can definitely see happening in the future. The main characters were solid, their voices clear and their dialogue sound. Their interactions with each other & the other characters were realistic and believeable....I found it an absorbing read and I’m happy to recommend it to y’all."

It's got a 5-star rating on Amazon (3 reviews) and a 4.75-star rating on Goodreads (4 ratings, 2 reviews).  

Now's your chance to give it a whirl.    

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Any Questions?

I would usually put a post like this up at Outside the Box, but since I do have followers at The Writing Spectacle who don't follow here, I'm putting it there yesterday and here today.   If you've already read it / commented on it there, you can ignore this.  Unless you have further ideas, then have at it.

You see, I'm working on the final book in the Once Upon a Djinn series.  And I want to wrap everything up, if I can.  (Not that I'll never write another genie book, but I want all the questions from books 1-3 answered in #4 so readers can leave feeling satisfied.)  To that end, I was wondering what burning questions readers would like to see answered in this final book.

Now, yes, the book is already written.  All the way through.  And I finished the first edit pass last night.  But I might've missed something.  I don't think I did, but there's always the chance I'm wrong.  This is your chance to tell me what you're dying to know.

Yep, there's always still a chance I won't have wrapped something up to your satisfaction.  Them's the chances we take when we read a book, don't ya know.  But I'm trying.

To help, here are a few things I know for certain I have addressed...

- Zeke's disappearance in book 3.
- the cliffhanger at the end of book 3.
- the mysterious glimpse Jo was given into the future in book 2.
- the ultimatum the other supernaturals gave Jo in book 3.
- what happens with Reggie?
- the disappearance of Hans

Anything else?  I'm sure whatever we don't catch now, JC will catch when she gets her hands on WHTF.  But I want to know what you're thinking.

If you have any non-genie related questions, you can ask them now, too, if you want to.  I'll answer what I can.