Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I Suck at This

Monday I wrote the following status update on my personal FB page: "If you've read any of my books, it would be really helpful if you could drop a review for the ones you've read. Doesn't have to be a long review. Just something like "I enjoyed this book" works. Of course, if the spirit moves you to talk about what you liked and how it made you squee with excitement, that would be awesome, too. ;o) "

And afterwards, it occurred to me that it is REALLY hard to ask people for reviews.  And then it occurred to me that it is REALLY hard to promote anything having to do with my writing, because, in a way, I'm promoting myself.  And I stink at that.

In my view, I either come off as pathetic or big-headed.  Look at that status update up there.  First part, pathetic.  Second part, big-headed.  

Maybe I'm being too hard on myself.  I dunno. 

But I need reviews.  I was thinking about marketing again and I'm once again faced with the quandary of needing to have reviews to market books.  I'd love to splash around some ads for Fertile Ground, for instance, but it only has two Amazon reviews.  Most places require at least five.  The big places that garner more sales definitely require at least five reviews, unless it's a new release and then they require at least five for previous books.  Which might have worked if I'd advertised when FG first came out, but it's been out now for a while, so that's flat out.

The reviews I do have are pretty good, so I'm kinda sure it's not the books.  I mean, I do have the occasional not-so-good review, but those are par for the course.  Not every reader will like any given book.  But overall, it's not like the books stink enough to make people not want to even bother reviewing them.

Of course, once I posted a requested for reviews on Twitter and someone hopped over to give me a low-star review that seemed like she hadn't actually read the book. The nature of the beast, I guess. 

And then there's the whole 'Amazon won't let certain people review your books because they might actually be friends with you and they cannot possibly be objective', which I think is BS.  But I get that other people have played the system that way and now we all have to suffer for it.  Also, the nature of the beast.  Bleh.

Okay, that's probably quite enough whining for today.  If you have reviewed my books, thanks bunches.  You rock.  If you've read any of my books and haven't reviewed them yet, drop a review - if Amazon will let you.  I'll be eternally grateful. 

And if I've read your books and haven't posted an Amazon review for them yet, let me know.  Sometimes I forget to migrate my Goodreads reviews over to Amazon.  (And a few times I have, but Amazon rejected the review because I knew you.  Again, BAH.)

Monday, April 16, 2018

Stuffs

With my other work project finally finished, for now at least, I can focus on my actual work stuff again.  Having said this, though, I realize I am playing catch-up.  I do have a book releasing this week - Early Grave (Book three of my Serial Crimes Investigation Unit series).  Over the weekend, I made a Goodreads listing for it, so that's something.

I know some of you weren't keen on the blurb, but I went with it.  It's in line with the blurbs from the other two.  (I changed the blurb for Fertile Ground, so it's more in line, too.  And creepier.  Can't help the creepy.)

I'm also hip deep in the final edits of Early Grave.  I should have those done over the next couple days and then I'll format.  And THEN I'll upload it to Amazon and make it live so all y'all can finally snag a copy.  So, Friday's still a good day for release and it'll be live earlier if I can swing it.  It's going into the world at $2.99.

BTW, if you missed it, FG is on sale all month worldwide.  It's 99c here in the US and all other prices are adjusted accordingly.  Dying Embers will be free sometime next week (I have to wait until my KDP 90 days is over on Wednesday and after EG is live to set that up.)

I have ideas for three more Dennis Haggarty mysteries.  I still have to write them, so don't look for those any time soon.  Next year maybe.

The way Sleeping Ugly is currently written, it will be a new series.  Which means I'd better get some ideas for subsequent books soon or rewrite SU so it's a standalone.

And I'm still planning on putting Unequal into the world either late this year or early next.  Another dystopian.  Weeee.

So much in my head and so little time to get it all done.  I need a clone.  Or a way to work more hours without going batshit crazy. 

Any questions? 

Friday, April 13, 2018

I Miss Libraries

When I was a mid-sized lass, I would spend hours in the library.  I would've lived in my elementary school library if they'd allowed it.  What a place of joy and wonder.  Then I discovered the public library.  I would've happily lived there, too.  Surrounded by my friends, the books.  I could walk in there and wander through, picking out any books I wanted without interruption or distraction. 

For me, it was mostly the paperback section I was interested in.  Science fiction and fantasy, for the most part, and romance or suspense or mystery.  Anything I wanted, there it was.  I'd even occasionally pick up a non-fiction, although my selections there tended more toward nature than anything else.  Books, though.  And quiet.

That's what a library is to me.  And I miss that.

The last several times I was in a library, there was a big bank of computers taking up valuable book space.  And at the screens, people who could really have cared less about books.  They were playing games or searching the web or writing resumes. There were also kids running around or playing with toys.  Books forgotten.

That makes me sad.

When I was young, all I had to do was give them my name and address, and they presented me with a card so that I could check out any book I wanted.  I tried to get a card at the local library here.  They wanted physical proof I lived here in the form of a utility bill - my driver's license with a local address and checks with a local address were apparently insufficient proof.  Why all hullabaloo?  So I didn't make off with any of their books permanently.  As if.

That also makes me sad.

There's a meme going around FB.  Something about sharing to prove libraries are still relevant.  Except they aren't.  The libraries I loved are gone.  People can get books anywhere they want - for free or for cheap.  I can go to Amazon right now and download a dozen in less time than it would take me to warm up my car for the half-hour trip to the library.  And no one harasses me while I'm doing it.

The libraries of today?  They're social gathering places and internet cafes, with books on the side as decoration. 

One of the last times I was in a library, at least a couple years ago, they were having a book sale.  The entire basement was filled with books for sale.  And I would venture that there were more books on the shelves in the basement than were on the shelves for patrons upstairs.  But the sale was to raise money to build a newer and bigger library, which will probably have more space for computers and social things.  :heavy sigh:  I rescued a huge box full of the titles.  Not to help them build a new library but to rescue the tomes from people who didn't appreciate them.

When I first published my own books, I took copies to the local libraries.  I was so full of joy and naivete, waiting for them to show up on the shelves and in their catalog system.  They never did.  One of my library donated books made it into the paper in their 'new on the shelves' article.  They spelled my name wrong.  I never went back.

I have my own library now.  Shelves and shelves of my friends.  It's not the same as the old library I used to love, but it's better than the libraries of today.  Quiet, solitude, and books. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

PSA - Back Up Your Work

It's time again for another public service announcement about making sure you back up your work.  Why this morning?  Because I walked into the office this morning to Hubs computer in Safe Mode.  And while I was trying figure out WTF pre caffeine and nicotine, he realized that if his hard drive was toast, he'd lost a whole bunch of stuff. 

Now, understand something.  I am IT here at Sanderson Industries, Inc. LLC, so it's basically my job to take care of the computers.  And I dropped the ball.  I hadn't backed up either of the computers recently.  A fact that became clear as we were talking - while I was waiting for System Restore to do its job - about what he may have lost, it occurred to me that I hadn't backed up any of the spreadsheet stuff I've been doing that I hadn't already emailed to the office.  So, like 25 spreadsheets I created over the weekend had no backup.  Argh.  That would've sucked if a crash had happened to MY computer last night.

So, I got out the thumb drives and began backing up.  (System Restore fixed Hubs computer,. btw.  Whew.)  And I saw that I hadn't backed up my picture files since last June.  Derp. 

One would think I would've learned during The Great Computer Crash of 2006, wherein I lost all my picture files in one fell swoop of the dead hard drive. 

I don't lose manuscript files.  I back up my books every night I've worked on them by emailing them to my gmail acct.  Blurbs, cover art, etc.?  That stuff would've been toast. 

It's all backed up to a thumb drive now.  Later today, I'll take this thumb drive to the bank and put it in our safe deposit box, retrieve the one already there and back up to that, too. 

Always have one full backup with you and one offsite - in case of flood, fire, tornado, etc.

Anyway, let this be a reminder to you, too.  If you haven't backed up lately, make time to do it today.  If your computer crashes overnight, you'll be so glad you did.  And if it doesn't?  Then you can breathe a sigh of relief that you're safe for another day.

Peace out.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Watch Your Fonts

Every book cover has a title and usually the author's name.  These should be clear at every size from thumbnail up to full sized.  But that's not always the case...

The other day I was scrolling down my FB feed, which is always chock full of ads for books, when I saw a romance novel with Raped in the title.  At least that's what I thought it said.  Since I figured that couldn't be right, cuz rape and romance don't go together, I looked closer.  The word was Roped.  But the font was so stylized the O looked like a A. 

This morning, I saw a title with the first three words so stylized all I could make out was the fourth word, which was in a different font. I think it was a romantic suspense novel, but you couldn't tell that from the cover.  It took me a couple minutes to understand what the author was actually going for there. 

Unfortunately, authors don't have a couple minutes to grab a reader.  If they can't read the title, they're moving on to the next book within a few seconds.  Bam.  The only reason I stopped to ferret out the real answers is because I'm a writer. 

Yeah, I know.  There are only so many fonts and we all want our books to stand out as different.  We all want to get noticed so readers snag our books instead of the next author's.  But we really need to pay attention to what the reader might actually be seeing instead of what we think they ought to be seeing.

(Heh, perhaps I should take my own advice there on some of my actual cover images, but I'm not changing any other covers right now)

Anyway, when you're designing a cover, take a step back.  Look at it through someone else's eyes.  Or have someone else look at it without telling them what it says.  See if they're reading what you wrote.  Stuff like that.

And if you ever can't tell what my cover is supposed to say, let me know.  Sometimes I trip, too.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Stuffs

Hey All.

I'm hip deep in a project for the other job, so pretty much everything else is on hold until this is done.  Which is kind of good since nothing else is expected of me for a little while yet.  Early Grave isn't due back from the editor until the 12th and release day isn't until probably the 23rd.  (Shooting for the 20th, but we'll see how it goes, ya know?) 

I got the proof copy for the printed version of Project Hermes (formerly Blood Flow) back from Createspace.  It isn't perfect, but it's pretty good, so I approved it for sale.  It'll be $12.99.  I'll work on getting the old print version of BF to go away, but right now, it's not for sale anywhere (I deselected all the sales channels), so it's not that big a deal.

I redid the blurb for Fertile Ground and put that on sale for the month of April because April is National Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.  If you've read FG, you'll understand why it's on sale now.  If you know me, you know the bad guy gets what's coming to him. 

Once I release EG, Dying Embers will go on the Free bandwagon for 5 days. 

Well, that's about it for the stuffs right now.  Time to get back to the spreadsheets.  After some more coffee.  Loads more coffee.  With extra coffee added. 

-B.E.

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Monkey was Framed

In this morning's news, there's a story about how a monkey supposedly snatched a newborn baby from beside its sleeping mother in some village in India.  They found the baby dead a day or so later in a well just outside the family home.  The baby, of course, showed signs of injury.  They are proposing that the baby was injury because the monkey dropped it and then it ended up in the well. 

As if that didn't send my crime sensors tingling, now the village is protesting to get compensation from the park service because it's their fault the baby died because it's their fault the monkeys are so out of control.

Now, it is not outside the realm of possibility that a monkey did, in fact, kill this baby.  Monkeys are assholes.  

But the more I read, the more suspicious I got that the monkey was framed.

First, monkeys are not known for being quiet.  Mothers, on the other hand, are known for being hypersensitive to any noise generating from or around their newborn babies.  But this mom supposedly slept through the abduction, awaking just in time to see said monkey making off with her child.  Hmm.

Second, they said they searched frantically for this baby, but only noticed it was in the well 24 hours after it had been abducted.  The well, as I noted, was right outside the family home.  And apparently an open-air well so anyone could just look down it and see the baby floating there.  (Which is apparently what finally happened.) 


So, here's what I think actually occurred...  The mother or the father for some reason or other accidentally or on purpose kills the baby.  The villagers don't want to see the parent arrested by the police, so they come up with this monkey story.  Who better to frame than the asshole monkeys, right?  Plus, now the village can sue the park department for compensation. And maybe finally get rid of the furry little buggers who have been plaguing their village.

The Indian authorities are conducting an investigation, but right now, the only suspects they have are the monkeys.  :eyeroll:  We'll see if the truth ever comes out.