Wednesday, March 25, 2020

I'm Over There Today

Since I have nothing writerly to talk about today, I posted at The Writing Spectacle.  Head over there, if you're so inclined. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

Writerly Things to Do Amidst the Chaos

Since we're all pretty much stuck at home, which isn't actually a real difference from how writers usually live, here are a few writerly things we can be doing amidst this chaos.

- Writing/editing.  I'll admit I'm having a tough time with this one because my brain is in a non-writing place right now, but I'm going to try to get back on the horse this week.

- Marketing.  Have a sale.  Make things free.  Throw some ads up on social media.  Again, not in a place personally to do this yet, but I'm going to try once things settle down - so I'll probably address this after Wednesday.

- Create some new marketing materials.  If you're into doing it yourself, go for it.  If you've never done it, give it a try.  

- Re-evaluating your blogs/websites/online presences.  If you think your stuff needs a makeover, now would be the time to do it.

- Evaluate your covers.  Are they still right?  Could you make them better and more saleable?  Now would be a good time to change them if you can.

- Do your taxes.  If you haven't done them yet, now is the time to get them done.  The federal government is supposedly going to be throwing some cash our way and the word is that they'll be sending it to you the way you chose when you did your taxes.  If nothing's changed from last year, no problem.  If it has, get your taxes done ASAP.

- Organize your stuff.  Get all your physical stuff into some kind of order to make the days ahead easier to deal with.  Get all your digital stuff organized, too.  Now would be a good time to delete files you're not using or going to use.  Once you've done that...

- Back up your files.

- Clean your work space.  I know I have this one desk drawer I just kind of throw things into that could really use a good cleaning.  Plus, the dust bunnies are starting to take over.  And my monitor could use a wipe down again.  And my computer's intake fan could use a good swabbing again.  Dust... it's a killer.

- Make plans for the coming weeks/months.  Look ahead to some things you can do once this settles down - plan sales and marketing events, work out a writing schedule, set goals.

Now, as you may know, I'm great at giving suggestions but not so great at following them, so how much of this list I will actually do remains to be seen.  This list is as much a poke in my butt as it is a nudge for you. 

We'll get through this.  Hang in there.

What are some things you're doing while you're on forced isolation?

Oh, and by the way, the whole 'stay inside' thing is only to keep you away from other people.  If you're in a place or can drive to a place where there are no people, get your ass outside and soak up some fresh air.  Humans need sunlight and fresh air as much as any other living thing.



Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Caught Up in the Crazy

Now would seem like the perfect time to get some writing and editing done.  There's nowhere to go.  No sports on TV - unless you enjoy curling.  Hell, here it's even been pouring rain so outside activities are suspended.  I should be here with my butt in the chair, working away. 

But no.  My stupid brain is so caught up in this carnival of crazy that I can't seem to make myself focus on the things I need to do.

For example:  Last night, at about 2:15am, a lightning crack woke me up out of a sound sleep.  After I got up and did my stuff and the cat's stuff, I couldn't get back to sleep because my brain switched over to 'what if we lose power?  I have a month's worth of meat in the freezer.  :panicpanicpanic:'  So it's little wonder I can't shift into work mode during the day.

To that end, I'm glad I didn't set a date for release yet.  I'd have to delay it.  I can't promise anything right now.  I thought I was scatterbrained before.  This makes the old me seem like a stable person.  Blerg.

On the upside, I had an interesting thing happen yesterday.  A wildlife photographer I follow on FB had set up a Pinterest page and was asking for help, so I commented.  And then someone commented on my comment.  And then she liked my FB Page.  And then she bought four of my books.  Wow.  I guess you never know where sales will come from, eh?

So, where's your head at these days?  Caught up in the crazy?  Keeping calm and carrying on? 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Pandemic-Based Marketing and Other Sundry Stuff

The bandwagon in marketing these past few days seems to be 'self-isolating? read my book'.  Initially, I thought I might use a variation, because I'm trying to market the SCIU books right now and it seemed like a fresh take, but I missed the window.  Now, mere days later, it's already overused and obvious.

Why obvious?  Well, people are trapped at home - whether because they chose to be or they have nowhere to go because their work, their entertainment, their schools, etc. are closed.  Of course, they're going to read if they're inclined to read.  Otherwise, they'll be surfing the net or watching TV or watching TV on the net. 

Me?  I'll be reading, of course.  And watching TV.  And surfing the net.  Although right now, being on social media is a minefield of crap.  The pendulum swinging between 'don't worry' and 'worry lots' is making me dizzy.

In addition to reading and vegging, I'll be working*.  Because that's what writers do.  We're already self-isolated 90% of the time anyway.  I started in on the edits for Ugly and the Beast yesterday.  When I get this done, I'll go back to writing new words - because, at this time, I can't seem to focus on new words while I'm editing.  While I'm writing new words, I'll be reading through UatB again, just to make sure I didn't insert new typos while I was fixing old ones.  Because that happens.

When I get closer to having UatB done, I'll give you a release date.

Anyway, I'm well here.  So is Hubs.  If you hear me coughing, it's because I smoke.  And I smoke more when I'm stressed.  And guess what?  This whole thing has me stressed.  Which is why I locked my keys in the car on Saturday (see yesterday's post on The Writing Spectacle).  Because stress also makes me stupid.  Blerg.

Hang in there out there.  Check in on any old or infirm people you know because they may not have the resources to weather this shit.  And keep your head down.  This may get uglier before it gets better.

What are you up to these days?  Pandemic-based marketing - yea or nay?  Talk to me, folks.

*I'd also go fishing, but it's raining and it's supposed to continue raining through Thursday.  Yippee.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Sale Time Again - SCIU Edition

Ack, it's Wednesday.  I should've already written and scheduled this post.  Derp.

Anyway... 

I know you've all heard this before, because, like, you're my regulars, but just in case someone stops by who hasn't been hanging around...  All of the SCIU books are on sale starting today. 

Here's what went up on FB this morning:
Tales from the files of the Serial Crimes Investigation Unit. Standalone novels connected by a common purpose - tough heroines and heroes hunting down serial criminals wherever they prey on the innocent.
On sale starting today! 99c/99p each. (Always free with Kindle Unlimited.) Buy one or buy them all.
US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078MQ9RX9
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07CNRVNXH
#suspense #ebooks #SCIU #99c #99p #reading #entertainment #fun #serialkillers #murder
 
Fingers crossed it generates some sales.  I'm sitting at almost 16 books sold this year for about $16.  This, as you know, is not good.  I mean, of course, it's better than a sharp stick in the ear, but yeah.  And yeah, I'd probably sell more if I paid for advertising, but you know how it goes.  

Now, back to your regularly scheduled lives.

Monday, March 9, 2020

More Randomness

The five-days-free thing for UNEQUAL ended last night.  I moved 99 copies and it reached as high as 54th in free dystopian.  We'll see if any page reads come of this.  If nothing else, there are 99 people in the world with the opportunity to read and enjoy it.

I'm up to 27516 words on Cinder Ugly.  It would be more, but I took Friday off to watch Live PD and then the yardwork I did Saturday screwed up my wrists enough that I took that night off, too.  There's a pivotal scene coming up next and I have no idea what's gonna happen.  Should be fun writing.

I started work on the blurb for Ugly and the Beast.  Here's what I've got so far:


Jeni Braxxon’s life as a up-and-coming supermodel hit the skids when she got cursed.  The asshole who did this to her is rotting in jail, but the curse remains, leaving her as ugly as the north end of a southbound dump truck every damn night.  Still, she’s trying desperately to hold onto her old life.  As if this case of the gruesomes and impending unemployment wasn’t enough for a gal with serious esteem issues, someone snatches her nephew.  The fight is on to find the boy before something seriously heinous happens to him.  With the help of her friends and a magical cat, Jeni will face anything this world or the next throws at her.  If she’s lucky, she might just make it out alive.


Yeah, it's pretty rough, but you get the idea of what goes on, so it's not totally lame.  Or is it?  I'll keep working on it.

UatB is at the readers and so far, I'm feeling good about it.  We'll see if that holds once the responses start to come back. 

I tell ya, it's nice to be working again.  The writing is flowing pretty well and with it, excitement for other stuffs keeps popping into my head.  But I'm staying focused.  Fingers crossed the excitement is still there when I sit down to write SCIU #4 or DH #3.

Oh, and I did some pricing stuffs this weekend.  I raised the prices on Sleeping Ugly, Accidental Death, and Natural Causes to $3.99.  When Ugly and the Beast comes out, it'll be $3.99, too.  Just trying to get my books in line with the market and each other.

I hope y'all aren't bored with this random stuff, but it seems like the only stuff I can hold in my head long enough to write an entire post. 

How are things with you? 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Getting Out of My Own Way

As you know, Bob... Umm, uhh...  As you know, I was having a difficult time getting back into writing Cinder Ugly.  I was stuck at 19K words and just couldn't seem to get over that hump.  So, once again, I set the damn thing aside so I could focus on editing Ugly and the Beast.  As the end of editing approached, though, the fear of what the hell would happen when I sat down to write again rolled over me like a herd of frightened buffalo.

What's a gal to do? 

Well, I'm not sure I did this consciously, but I got the hell out of my own way.  I sidestepped the herd.  When I sat down to write again, I did NOT go back and read what I'd already written.  I didn't check to make sure I had everything in line.  Which is good because I already knew I'd backed myself into the corner of boring and meh, so going back over that crap again wasn't doing me any good.

At first, the writing was slow and kind of crappy.  Then I hit a stride and the fingers were flying.  I pounded out almost 3K words and I felt really good about them.  Then I had a flash of insight for what would happen next and I've been writing on that ever since.  To the tune of around 7K words so far this week.  Woohoo.

Sure, I'll have to go back and fix a bunch of stuff in that muddy part.  But that's what edits are for.

I have to remind myself of that fact more often than I'd like to admit.  Write crap, edit it later.  Everything can be fixed in edits.  Except blank pages.

So, as always, getting out of my own was the trick.  I wish I'd figured that out sometime in the last year, so I would've gotten more work out, but better late than never, eh?

Right now, Cinder Ugly is sitting at around 26K words.  Onward and upward.  The plan is to have this first drafted by the end of the month, edited in April, and out not too awfully long after I get Ugly and the Beast into the world.  :fingers crossed:

Feeling good about it all.  Yay.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

UNEQUAL is Free

Hey all.  Just thought I'd let you know that UNEQUAL is free now through Sunday.  Five days of freebie fun.
In a world where being different is against the law, Rue Logan lives in fear of being branded Unequal and getting disappeared like so many others. The Department of Equalization had other plans for her life, but she couldn’t let that stop her. Now, she works her assigned job as a janitor by day and prowls the hospital’s corridors at night, saving lives.

Until she’s caught.

On the run from the DOE, Rue finds others like her, Unequals working in secret to achieve their goals and live their lives. But their leader has a mission of his own. With war brewing, both sides need her skills to help them win. Torn between her own deeply held beliefs and her desire to save the people she’s come to love, Rue must find a way to stop the conflict before any more lives are lost. Even if it means uncovering secrets and lies that could break her world apart.


I love this book so much.  I hope you will, too.

Monday, March 2, 2020

More Updates and Random Stuff

Since I'm more than a little scatterbrained this morning, what with stuffs and junks, here's another random post.

I finished my round of edits on Ugly and the Beast yesterday and sent the manuscript out for proofing.  If you were expecting a copy and didn't receive it, let me know.  I really think I nailed it, but we'll see what readers have to say.  Hopefully, it's not too messy.  I tried really hard to make it a clean copy, but sometimes we writers miss stuff.

I took the rest of yesterday off.  Kinda.  I did sit down to see if I could get Cinder Ugly jumpstarted again.  Nope.  I suspect I am going to have to either go back and delete a bunch of stuff to get back on track, or just forge ahead and hope I can fix it in edits.  I'm kind of a linear writer, so it'll probably be Option A.

To whoever read Fertile Ground and Early Grave over the weekend, thanks.  Now, if you could wander over to Amazon and leave a couple reviews, I'd really appreciate it.  Like mightily. 

I discovered why I'm suddenly showing more Amazon review numbers than I had.  Amazon decided to put all the worldwide reviews together, so basically I'm seeing the few reviews I have in the UK added to my US numbers.  Still pissed about the ratings thing, but international reviews are okay. 

And that's about it for me today.  Time to wander off and get the day started.  What's on your plate today?

Friday, February 28, 2020

Updates and Stuffs

I'm getting excited.  This is so close to being a real thing.  Since I already have a cover, all this is going to take is the final bits of editing and proofreading, and a blurb (gah, blurbs), and it'll be ready to send off into the world.  Woohoo!  and barf.

I really have no idea what I'm going to write for the blurb.  I'll have to put on my blurbing cap and hammer this out.  Soon.  :panics a little:

Speaking of blurbs, I'm not necessarily good at writing them, but I can spot a bad one for someone else's book like a laser guided missile.  And I've seen some stinkers lately.  They're usually written with either too much information or not enough.  When I'm looking for a book to buy, I need basic plot, main character, conflict.  I do not need to know their life story up to this point.  Probably something I should keep in mind when I write my own blurbs. 

Oh, and for the love of all you find holy, PROOFREAD your blurbs before you post them in public.  Nothing turns me off of a book quicker than a blurb with errors that could've been fixed if the author had taken the time to go over the damn thing again.  If someone can't proof a paragraph or two, I can't hold out much hope for an entire book.  Harsh, but true.  Of course, I'm more forgiving in a manuscript.  60-100K words to proof is a lot harder than a couple paragraphs.

Over the weekend, someone read Blink of an I in KU.  This morning, there's a new rating for it on Goodreads.  A 3-star.  Which would bum me out except I hopped over to their page and it seems like all the books they read they give 3-stars or less.  I'm taking it as a win.  It's all about perspective. Anyway, I hope they enjoyed it enough to read Unequal next.

Speaking of Unequal, it'll be free for a few days next week.  And I set up a sale for the SCIU books for the week after. 

Once I get an idea of publication dates and junk for Ugly and the Beast, I'll probably have a sale for Sleeping Ugly to kick off the release.  Woohoo.  I'm hoping for end of March, but time frames depend on other people and since other people are doing me a favor, I'm not pushing anyone for a speedy delivery.  They have lives, too, and their own work, and I'd be a shit if I was all like 'I need this yesterday'.  Cuz I don't.  It'll happen when it happens.  I'm totally chill.

While my beloved elves are busy marking up my manuscript, I'll be writing Cinder Ugly.  I posted the beginning of it over at Silver's blog on Wednesday, if you're interested. 

Any questions?  Got anything you want to update the world about?  How's things?




Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Sisyphean Times

This week, I'm feeling a bit like Sisyphus.  If you're not familiar with the dude, the Greek gods punished him by making him roll a boulder up a hill and every time he got to the top, the boulder would roll back down to the bottom.  Gods are kind of assholes that way.

While this editing thing isn't exactly like that, because I don't have to start over, I do feel like I'm taking two steps forward and one step back.  Like a couple days ago, I started out the day with 45 pages left to edit.  I edited 15 pages and when I was done, I had 35 pages left to edit.  45-15=35?  As I said on FB, edit math is not like real math. 

Despite it being frustrating, it's a good thing.  It means I'm adding substance to the book as I go along.  I mean, let's be honest, I write pretty emaciated drafts.  Poor things need meat.  Not fat, muscle. 

When I started this edit of UatB, it was 56K words.  As of last night, it's creeping up on 62K.  Things are richer and fuller now.  So yay.

I have about 21 pages left to edit and then a read through.  Well, 21 pages if I don't find a spot that needs muscle.  We'll see how it goes.  And if I've got to spend a little more time rolling that boulder up the hill, I will.  I still have 4 days to reach my goal of having this ready to go by the end of the month.  The end is in sight. 

And at least I don't feel like the boulder is going to roll over the top of me and smush me flat.

How's it going with you? 

Monday, February 24, 2020

Flying Solo is Scary

Around this time sixteen years ago, I began writing what would become my first finished novel.  Back then, I did it all myself.  All the writing, the editing, the research - for the writing and for the submitting, the querying, the crying...  

Last week, I celebrated the 5th anniversary of the first novel I published and sent out into the world.  I still did most of it myself, but I realized I needed other people.  I needed a cover artist and an editor.  Which meant I needed money.  And Hubs willingly agreed to spend some of our savings to get my books out into the world.

I had expected for this venture to start paying for itself within the first year.  It didn't.  I had great hopes for the next year.  Not then either.  None of them have.  But I got tired of sucking off the savings tit, so I started funding this myself and stopped dipping into our nest egg.

With this in mind, I do most of the covers myself and what I couldn't do myself went to a less expensive artist.  And when it came time to edit, I still paid someone. 

As sales have dwindled and the money dried up, I was faced with a decision - stop trying to publish and watch my career swirl the drain, or stop paying an editor.  (I have two covers I've already paid for, so I'm set there for now.) 

It's a scary thing, thinking about flying solo.  For the past 13 books, I've had an editor.  One gal did the first two books.  Since then, I've had AWE (Awesome Wonderful Editor) as my co-pilot.  (She also walked in and saved my second book, which was really helpful.)  Taking off on my own without her in a seat beside me scares the crap out of me.

But she's been super-supportive of my flying alone.  She's praised me for my clean drafts before and now tells me I can do this.  With her blessing. 

Still, super scary. 

However, stopping publishing anything, which last year meant not writing either, is a scarier idea.  (It's close as to which is scarier, but not writing wins by a hair.)   Since it's scary, it's been super hard to move forward with the idea.  To think that maybe next month or the month after, I will put a book into the world without my AWE... :shudder: 

What if I get bad reviews?  What if I actually can't do this by myself? 

It's enough to make a gal crawl back into her hole and pull the dirt in over her.

But it's time.  I can do this.  I can edit on my own.  I know people who do it, so why shouldn't I be able to do it, too?  I can and I will.  And I will make every effort to insure my readers get the same quality manuscripts they've always gotten.  

I hope you'll stick with me.  There's no co-pilot on this flight, but I promise not to crash and burn.

Friday, February 21, 2020

No More Excuses

I don't know about you, but I'm pretty damn sick of myself.  I keep intending to work on my books, but like Dad always said 'intentions are for shit'.  Meaning, of course, that you can have all the intentions in the world, but they aren't good for much of anything without action.

It's action I'm lacking.

I mean, I talk about... check that... whine about not having gumption or getting anything done.  But I don't actually DO anything about it.  Slacker.

Okay, so now's the time to do something.  As such, I'm making the commitment to have Ugly and the Beast ready to go out to one or two people for beta reading / proofing by the end of the month.  I was on page 115 of my edits as of quittin' time yesterday.  That leaves about 100 pages to go, understanding that I'm adding words and pages as I edit, and nine days in which to get those pages into shape.  How long it takes the readers to do their magic and me to fix what they find will dictate when UatB goes live, but it will go live.  Dammit.

Then I'm going to finish writing Cinder Ugly if it kills me.  Which it might.  It's a pretty ugly manuscript so far.  Like 'monster in Wish Hits the Fan' ugly.  (If you haven't read it, I can't help you understand it better.  Think big, nasty, gruesome bitch.)  I'll kill the beast and hang her head on my wall.

No more excuses.  No more whining.  Just get 'er done. 

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

New Release from Silver James

If you've been around here long enough, you know how much I love Silver and her books.  (Actually, part of the reason I love her is her books.  Not sure how I could like a person when I don't like their books, but that's another blog post.) 

Anyway...
Silver had a new book release yesterday - FIGHTING FOR ELENA.  Of course, I one-clicked it over at Amazon and then started reading it.  (Pushing another book aside which I will get back to after I finish FFE.)   I'm only a chapter in (because life, not because of the book), but it's darn good so far.  Natch.

It's a romantic suspense with some ties into her other books and ties into this series with ties into another series.  It's pretty tied in there. 

I'm really looking forward to inhaling this.  Silver's books usually only take me a day, if I'm not having life stuff and the creek don't rise.  Yesterday, I spent so much time working on clearing the woods that my hands were claws and holding my Kindle was problematic.  Anyway...

If you're into romantic suspense, snag a copy of this book, read it and love it, then leave a review.  Then, if you've got the fundage, read the rest of the series and then Silver's other books.  You won't be sorry.  I'll post my review on Saturday's Reading Wrap-up because it would take a major event for me to not finish this by then. 

Oh, and I just remembered that when I read the Acknowledgements in this book, she mentioned me!  Yay!  :blushes:

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled lives... And don't forget to go one-click this book.  Seriously. 

Monday, February 17, 2020

WTF Amazon?

Okay, so I started noticing this about a month ago, but Amazon has started letting people leave 'ratings' without leaving reviews.

And it sucks.

Wish in One Hand now has two single star ratings that drag down the overall star average without any explanation or user ID or anything.  No clue as to why they left a bad rating.  No clue if they even bought the damn book.  (Which I suspect they might not have since I hadn't sold any copies of WIOH this year prior to last week, and the rating came before the sales.)  No reasons, just slammed with shitty stars.

Goodreads, of course, has been doing this all along.  It sucks there, too.  I suspect, though, that people don't pay as much attention to the rating average on Goodreads when buying a book.  On Amazon, stars are critical to sales.  You see all five little yellow stars filled or partially filled and you're more likely to click through.  You see only four stars and the fourth star isn't even filled in, and you might just move on to something with more star power.

I mean, let's face it - people are lazy.  You have to grab them immediately and encourage them to put forth the effort to click through and read the blurb.  Stars do that.  More stars = more click-throughs = more chances to make a sale.  And the reverse of that is also true.

Gah, as if selling books wasn't hard enough.

And it's not like people won't abuse that rating thing.  Noooooo.  At least when someone had a bone to pick with you before, you could maybe contest the bad review they left.  This?  I'm not sure how anyone does anything about a random anonymous bad rating.

Not sure what the fuck Amazon thinks it's doing there.  I just hopes it goes away before it does too much more damage.  


Friday, February 14, 2020

Happy Valentine's Day to You! Happy Anniversary to Me!

Happy Valentine's Day to all of you.  But it's Happy Anniversary to me.  Not wedding.  That's not for a few months yet.  Nope, it's the 5th anniversary of the day I published Dying Embers and really began this self-publishing thing.  (Okay, I actually hit publish on the 13th, but I'm celebrating today.)  Five whole years of having my books available for sale.  

And this is around the time when I started what would become my first finished novel back in 2004, so that's what... sixteen years.  Ugh.  :shakes self: 

If I'd been savvy about this, I would've had a big to-do with prezzies and stuff for my readers.  But I wasn't.  Oh, the genie books are on sale and junk, but that wasn't planned with the anniversary in mind.  It didn't even occur to me until this past Tuesday that it was even something to take note of.  (Which is really too late to plan anything special.)  I could've had a contest or something. 

Five years, thirteen books, and 3016 sales later, here I am.  After all the highs and all the lows, I'm still plugging away.  I really am.  Seriously.  I'm working on getting Ugly and the Beast to a place where I can send it out for proofreading and then eventual publication.  And I'm trying to work on writing Cinder Ugly.  (Not going so well, but I'm trying.) 

Anyway, I hope you have a great Valentine's Day with whoever you love.  I'll be here with my loving Hubs and my geriatric cat.  We don't really celebrate the day, other than wishing each other a happy day and doing the hugs/smoochies thing.  I probably won't really celebrate the anniversary either, but it'll be on my mind. 

Five years.  Whoda thunk it?  Not me.

Do you celebrate Valentine's Day?  Or do you only celebrate the day after when all the chocolate goes on sale?  Do you have any big anniversaries coming up? 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Sale Time Again

Staring today all of the books in the Once Upon a Djinn series are on sale for 99c/99p each through next Tuesday night.  Get the whole damn series for less than $4.  (Always free with Kindle Unlimited.)  See where Jo starts out and where she ends up, with many twists and turns and snarks along the way. 

There's no paid advertising for this sale, so any sales are strictly reliant on how much interest I can drum up here and on FB.  As we all know, having a sale without having advertising is pretty much crickets, so I'm not expecting great things.  If I sell a couple of each, that would be awesome.  And if I get page reads, too, that would be more awesome.

I'll be trying to have a sale on the SCIU books again next month.  We'll see how that goes and whether the advertising budget can cough up enough for a paid ad.  You know the drill... you have to spend money to make money to spend money to make money... ad infinitum.  Since I haven't spent any money I haven't made any money to spend.  Bleh.

Anyway, I know most of the people who stop by here have already picked up their copies of OUAD and enjoyed them.  Thank you again for all your support.  It means the world to me. 

And if you haven't yet read the genie books, now is your chance to get them cheap.  I hope you give them a try and enjoy the hell out of them.  =o)


Monday, February 10, 2020

All Up In My Face

I had to give myself a good talking to again.  I really hate to have to do it, but sometimes I let things slide to the point where the only answer is getting all up in my face and basically shouting at myself.  (On paper, of course.)

After I die, the things written in my notebooks should be an interesting find for my heir.  Sort of an 'oh, look, Mom's yelling at herself' kind of thing.  (She already knows I do it, I think, so it shouldn't be a surprise.)  If fans ever get a hold of those notebooks, they're going to think I'm batshit crazy, but I'll be dead, so I won't care.  Maybe the crazy will make me famous.  Again, won't matter then, but maybe the Kid will make some money off my books.

Anyway, these talking-to sessions usually works.  Not especially well this time, so maybe I'm not done giving myself a dressing down.  But I did get some editing done yesterday, so it partially worked.  And I did sit down to write last night.

Unfortunately...  Crickets.  I read through the last couple chapters I'd written and then drew a blank as to where the story was headed.  I think my story generator is on the fritz.  Sometime today I'll kick it's ass, pound on it like we used to pound on the old black and white TV to get the picture to come in better, and try again.

Now, I realize my little talking-tos are not the kind of positive self-talk stuff we're all supposed to adhere to these days.  I grew up when pulling yourself up by your bookstraps met the other end of the spectrum - Leo Buscaglia.  (If you're not familiar with Leo, he was all about hugs.)  Both are effective motivators if used in moderation.  Right now, I need less hugs and more ass-kicking.

So, I'm kicking my own ass. 

Of course, the things I say to myself as such that if anyone else said them to me, I'd punch them in the mouth.  I'm the only one who can get away with it.  It usually starts with 'Okay, Meissner, what the hell is your major maladjustment?' and goes south from there.  But it gets the job done.

And lest you think I'm nothing but mean to myself, there are usually some 'you can do this' and 'you've got this' thrown in alongside the 'you whiny baby' bits and the parts that sound a lot like Bluto's motivational speech in 'Animal House'.  "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?  No!"

So, today, I'll so a little bit more of this mental ass-kicking and then get some actual words down, along with editing at least 20 pages.  Or I'm gonna answer for why I didn't.  To myself. 


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The Smell of Meth

Yesterday, I learned what meth smells like.

I was on my way from my car up to the feed store when a red SUV whips into the parking lot, nearly running me over.  She parked stupid and I walked past her into the store.  I'm in the store, explaining the near death experience to my friend the cashier when the gal comes in.  I step aside because she's obviously in a hurry, but she's only looking for the bathroom.

Once she's in the ladies' room, my friend tells me she thinks the gal is on meth.  (Apparently, my friend sees a lot of meth heads at the feed store, coming in to use the bathroom.)  Anyway, we go back to chatting and then the gal comes out of the bathroom, grabs a jumbo bag of 'for people'* sunflower seeds and slaps them on the counter in front of me.  As my friend is ringing her up, I start smelling this gag-worthy chemical odor.  And then the super-twitchy gal starts talking about this accident her husband was in just up the road when all I want her to do it leave.  (Although I did ask her where 'up the road' the accident was because I was headed in that direction, but it was off on a side road.  Yay.)

Anyway, she finally tears out of there and I ask my friend "is that what meth smells like?'  She nods.  Gross.  It was like 'bad home perm' mixed with nail polish remover mixed with 'I haven't bathed'.  The sad thing was this gal was dressed nice and looked nice, she drove a nice car... You never know, I guess.

By the time I got up the highway, I could see the blue lights flashing up the side road where the accident occurred.  If I could smell her, the cops should be able to smell her and do something.  But probably not.

From what I've been told, meth is a big problem around here.  I did encounter a meth head once before.  She looked like she'd crawled up out of the depths of Middle Earth.  But she didn't stink of chemicals.  Maybe that meant she was a user and the gal yesterday was a manufacturer.  Who knows.

I'm continually confused about people doing drugs.  I mean, I understand that once you're hooked, you're hooked, but who the hell would do meth the first time?  Is it like 'oh, please, let me try some of that highly addictive shit with the weird ass mix of chemicals in it you cooked up in your trailer'?  Might as well just shoot yourself in the head, the results are the same in the long run.  Feh.

Your brain is your only means of survival.  Why would you mess with that?

Jus' sayin'.

*Not to be confused with the 40 lb bag of sunflower seeds they sell as bird feed.

Monday, February 3, 2020

I Know It Sounds Anti-Intuitive

The other day I was talking with my in-person BFF and I told her about putting Blink of an I up for free.  She was aghast.  "Free?" she asked in disbelief.  As in 'why would anyone ever offer their stuff for free?'  And I said "Well, I know it sounds anti-intuitive, but sometimes it helps with sales."  Then I explained about Page Reads, and the potential for people buying others of my books, etc.  All good things to be sure.

But there's on other potential goodie from having a FREE that I neglected to mention because it so rarely ever happens for me - that it will be boosted in the rankings and perhaps gain sales that way.

I had scheduled Blink to be free from January 29st through January 31st.  Some time on Friday, I checked the rankings and Blink had made it into the free top 100s in Post Apocalyptic and in Dystopian.  And I remembered something I'd read a while ago about 4 days being the magic number for getting a book noticed in Kindle Unlimited.  I went right back into my Amazon Bookshelf and added two more days to the freebie.

And it stayed in the top 100s during those two days.  (Without any extra FB push, I might add.) 

This morning, I woke up and checked the rankings - hoping it would at least be in the hundred thousands on overall Paid in Amazon.  (Which is better than the 7 figure ranking it had.)  Except it almost never happens that a free push does anything with the rankings in Paid. 

Imagine my surprise when I saw this...
That's paid ranking, folks.  #6895 overall and #119 and #126 respectively in Paid.  :jaw drops:  I can only assume I picked up a bunch KU downloads to make that happen because there are no actual sales associated with that.  Just 89 free books downloaded. 

I still haven't seen any money from any of this, but there's hope.  And it's nice to see one of my books rise so far up in the rankings.  I hope the people who downloaded my book enjoy it.

In other noteworthy news, I sold a paperback yesterday for the first time in over a year.  And for the first time sans Createspace.  So that was pretty neat for me. 

Now to convert that positive news into gumption to get some writing done.  :fingers crossed:

Friday, January 31, 2020

When Work and Creativity Collide (aka My Work Side is a Bully)

I have a problem.  The part of my brain that deals with work stuff - finances, marketing, spreadsheets, etc. - is a bully.  When it's on, it grabs hold of the part of my brain that deals with creative stuff, smacks it around, and shoves it into a locker. 

I hadn't really thought about it before, but I suppose, looking back at it now, it's been a problem for a while.  I try to separate the two by doing work stuff in the daytime and creative stuff at night, but it doesn't always keep the bully in check.  Sometimes if I spend a lot of time on the work stuff during the day, I'm too beat up to let my creativity side play at night.

Not sure how to fix this.  I mean, I probably need to put my creative side on a regimented exercise plan ala Jack Lalanne, so when the bully side gets uppity, the creative can hold its own. 

I don't want to shut down the work side completely.  It's the side that makes me money.  But if all I have is the work side, I don't produce more product to make money with.  I'd love it if I could find a balance somewhere, make the two sides play nice for a while.  They need each other, after all.

I suppose I should just shut up and get 'er done.  Pull the creative side out of the locker and push it to stand up for itself. 

How about you?  Does your work side bully your creative side?  Vice versa? 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Make it Easy

The other day I was scrolling down my FB feed when I saw a link to the review of a book that sounded really interesting.  I clicked over, scanned the review, and found it more interesting.  At the bottom of the review, there were links going to various ways to access the author.  But no link to the book.

That was the first mistake.

Okay, still interested in the book, I clicked the link to the author's Amazon page.  Umm, it went to my author page.  I checked the URL and it was the general 'author page' link, not a link to that particular author.

And that was mistake #2.

So, I clicked the link that would take me to the author's Facebook page, still hoping I'd find a place where I could actually access the book in question.  And it sat there, trying to load but not actually loading.  I waited and waited...

Mistake #3 and I gave up.

While none of these mistakes are necessarily the author's fault, they lost the author a sale.  (Or at the very least a future sale because I would've at least wishlisted it.)

All of this brought something to mind, though.  I see a lot of posts where the link is broken or there is no link at all or it takes forever to load or... something.  My point is that authors need to make it easy for readers.  You put all that work into marketing your book, from creating a really grabby blurb to writing the marketing copy to creating pretty graphics that encourage readers to click through, don't waste it.  Post a link that goes directly to the place where they can buy.  OR at the very least to a page where there are additional links that go directly to a place where they can buy.

As for the reviewer thing... if you have someone reviewing your book, make sure they have all the right links.  Check their links and let them know if they're broken.  Say 'hey, thanks for the awesome review, but the link to my author page should be X' or something.  Anything.  (Of course, this only works if you know they reviewed your book.)  If you are a reviewer, check your links so you're not putting up that awesome review and then frustrating the readers.

Just sayin'.  And now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go check all my links and make sure I'm not being a damn hypocrite.

Oh, and I updated the photo on my About Me page here.  Gotta remember to do that stuff every now and then.

Speaking of making it easy, I almost forgot... Blink of an I is free now through Friday worldwide.  If you haven't read it yet, now would be a good time to snag a copy. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Writer Brain

The writer brain is a strange, strange place.  I think, usually, the term 'writer brain' is used for times when writers can't necessarily connect with what's going on around them.  Stuff happens and we're all like 'huh, what?' 

But there's another thing writer brains do... at least mine does... and that's to come up with endless possibilities for any given thing all the time.  To see not just both sides of an issue, but every possible side to the issue.  To wonder 'what if' about everything.

For me, this comes in really handy watching true crime shows and reading mysteries.  I can usually figure out the whodunnit or if not the exact killer, then several possibilities of who did it. 

It also leads me to a wide array of conspiracy theories.  This came in pretty handy when writing Project Hermes.  (On sale now... see what I did there?)  I thought about microchips for animals and wondered 'what if a microchip carried more than just information?'  And then 'what if there was something in there that could kill?'  And then 'what if someone bad in the government got a hold of the ability to use that?'  Bingo bango bongo... a book. 

I also think about smaller conspiracies...  like 'what if she left her car running because she was actually trying to fill my house with CO2 and kill me?' (Accidental Death)  Or 'what if an elderly person's death wasn't because they were old?' (Early Grave)

My conspiracy theories also come in handy for a laugh around the house.  This morning, I posited a theory to Hubs and he suggested that perhaps he needed to look into buying me a tinfoil hat.  And we laughed. 

I don't really need a tinfoil hat. Just because I posit a theory doesn't mean I believe it's true.  I'm just putting it out there.  Because it was just in here (points to head.)   If it never comes to light that it's true, it's just one of my weird theories.  And if it does turn out to be true, I can say 'I told you so'.   If nothing else, it's good fodder for the writing.

Do you have any conspiracy theories?  Or is it just me?

Friday, January 24, 2020

Writing Necessities and Obsessions

Earlier, a FB friend was talking about her obsession with pens and paper.  And I commented that I don't have an obsession, but then went on to talk about my 'writing necessities'.  At which point, she pointed out that I perhaps do have an obsession.  She's isn't wrong.

In order to write, I have to have a 5-subject notebook and a red gel pen.

On the other hand, I don't think I'm as obsessed with the tools of the trade as some writers.  I don't feel the burning need to buy stacks of notebooks or boxes of writing implements.  I don't have any pretty notebooks - except the ones I got as prezzie that I don't actually write in.  I don't have any really nifty pens.  And I only write longhand as a way to shake myself up or when I need to work through a problem.

For that, I need one big notebook and at least two pens - one for using and one for backup in case the first one runs dry.

Now, the reason I use a 5-subject - must be college-ruled - is that it has the right heft, so I don't feel like I need anything sturdy behind it when I'm writing in my chair.  And college-ruled, because the wide ruled just feels wrong somehow.  You can get more on a page with college-ruled anyway.

As for the red gel pen, I think I got into the whole red thing as a way to combat the fear of the editor.  I mean, red means bad.  If it's red, you've done something wrong, right?  So, I use a red pen for regular writing.  And when I have to do any editing on that, I use a plain ol' black ballpoint.  Whichever one is handy.

In the last package of red gel pens, I got a purple pen for free.  Not sure what to do with that sucker.  I mean, I know a gal who writes in purple, but :shudder: totally not my bag.

I know we don't actually need any particular item to write.  We could all write as easily on one thing as another, with whatever implement put marks on paper.  But writers get into their grooves and stepping out of the groove harshes our ability to make stories.  For me, it's one thing.  For you, perhaps another.

What about you?  What are your writing necessities?  And if you don't write, what little things do you need to do your job?   Are you obsessed with them?


Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Next Up on Sale - Project Hermes


Next up on the rolling book sale, PROJECT HERMES. Only 99c/99p right now. (Always free in Kindle Unlimited.)

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017Y6G0EW
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B017Y6G0EW

It's the little things that kill

The highest levels of the government believe Project Hermes is the best way to control America’s immigration problem. A simple microchip carrying a citizen’s information will allow officials to sort out who belongs—and who doesn’t. Harmless.

Unless the chip carries more than just information.

#political #suspense #medical #conspiracytheory #ebook #99c #99p #nanotechnology

Monday, January 20, 2020

Forced Diversity

I saw a link to something the other day and the commentary that went with it, but I didn't follow the link, so I can't respond to anything but what the commentary indicated.  And to what seems to be a thing in the writing community.  Diversity in fiction.  Apparently at the end of the link was a thing advocating forcing diversity in fiction. 

Umm, yah.

I don't know about other writers, but I pretty much let the characters tell me who they are.  I mean, at the beginning of Fertile Ground, Teri walks into a meeting where a big black guy is getting the go-ahead to investigate a case that might not be a case.  When it came time to write another SCIU book, the guy stepped in front and demanded I write his book and thus came Ned Washington in Early Grave.  I like Ned.  He was fun to write.  (And if you haven't read it yet, he pairs up nicely with Lynn from Dying Embers.)

The idea for a, if not bad certainly annoying, guy in Wish in One Hand came from mixing Othello up a bit and making Iago the Moor.  Later in the series, Hans is gay because it was an interesting juxtaposition to Frank.  Then there are the twins, who are black because white Nubian princesses would be weird.  And, naturally Ezekiel ben Aron is Hebrew, modeled after an Israeli guy I knew.

All of the characters in Accidental Death are white except for the librarian, mainly because in a small town in Colorado, that's about the ratio you get.  There might be gay people in there, but their sexual preferences weren't germane to the story.  In my opinion, it rarely is.

In both of my dystopian novels, I don't think I even describe race.  It's just not important to the story.  It doesn't matter because whoever you are, you're going to get screwed if those futures come to fruition.

Gah, just writing this post, trying to pinpoint which characters might check the diversity boxes made my head hurt.  I don't write them that way.  I don't think that way.  I'm more of an 'each individual is who they are inside' kind of person.  Good and rational comes in every color, shape, size, etc.  Evil and irrationality comes in every wrapping, too.

The point is that of course you should pepper your stories with different characters.  Because it adds seasoning and makes things interesting in your story.  Not because you're ticking off a bunch of boxes in the social justice pamphlet.  Definitely not because some twerp somewhere has a checklist they're comparing to every piece of fiction written, praising those that adhere and damning those that don't. 

Stop thinking about it and focus on writing the best story you know how.  The diversity will come if you do that.  If you force it, it will only hurt the story because readers can tell when something is forced.  And the story is really the most important part, right?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

A Dennis Haggarty Mystery Sale

It's time again for another sale.  This time around, Accidental Death and Natural Causes are on sale for 99c/99p each. 
Actually they're on sale today through next Tuesday night, but I made the graphic for posting on FB.

I know tons of people bought Accidental Death, but haven't bought Natural Causes yet.  Now's a good time to rectify that, if you're one of them. 

In AD, you get to meet Dennis Haggarty, a gritty Denver Homicide Detective, as he comes up against small town attitudes while trying to solve a murder no one wants to believe is murder. 

In NC, you find Dennis is now the Chief of Police in a small mountain town where an apparent cougar attack isn't what it seems.  The place has changed, but the attitudes haven't.

I got the idea for AD while living in a small town in the middle of nowhere and realizing how easy it would be to have a murder explained away as accidental.  The young man found hanging in his garage.  The stranger found burned up in his car in the middle of a wildfire.  The time my insane neighbor almost asphyxiated us by letting her guests run their RV in her driveway while my home filled with exhaust.  Little things that made me wonder and wondering always leads me to stories. 

I grew up outside a small town, hearing about the attitudes inherent there  - although being outside of it then.  Then I found myself smack in the middle of it later in life.  I'm well outside of it now, but hell, I hear about it here, too.  Three different towns, three different states, same small-town ideas and prejudices and attitudes.  Go figger.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun writing these books.  I hope you have a lot of fun reading them.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Self-Publishing Income Versus Outgo.

It's time to talk about the thing I hate most - Income versus Outgo.  What I've made versus what I've spent. 

As you might have guessed, I keep it all in a spreadsheet.  Every time I spend money on the writing business, I put it in there.  And every time I make money from the writing business, I put it in there.  Of course, since I hate looking at this, I hadn't then taken those incomes and outgoes and transferred them to the sheet that does the math on it all since last January. I did that on Saturday, so I figured I'd share the results with you here today.

At first glance, the income and the outgo nearly match with income coming out a little ahead.  This is because for 'incoming', I also put down any money I've contributed to the process from other non-writing sources.  The reality of 'sales' versus 'outgo' is the depressing part.  The reality of it is that I am $8K in the hole.


:shrug:  That's the reality of this self-publishing thing I'm doing.  Some writers have it better.  Some have it worse.  I expect a lot of writers are about the same.

Okay, so how does outgo/sales break down by year?

2015: -$4958.94 / $1357.92
2016: -$2079.18 / $786.15
2017: -$1525.56 / $318.92
2018: -$2329.14 / $627.53
2019: -$428.00 / $468.80

On the upside, last year is actually showing in the black by like $40. 

I won't bore you with the actual 'by book' numbers.  The book I've made the most money on is Dying Embers.  I assume because this one has been out the longest and my first year was my best year.  The book I've spent the most on is Wish in One Hand - because I had to do the cover art twice and I spent a huge sum on the first cover.  The book that is closest to being in the black is Accidental Death.  Another $100 in sales without spending any more on it and it'll have paid for itself. 

Of course, I've spent $300 on two books that aren't even out yet - covers for Ugly and the Beast and Cinder Ugly.  Maybe I'll start recouping some of that in the first half of this year.  We'll see.  I'm still playing with the idea of publishing those without sending them through the editor.  If I go with the editor, add another $400-$500 to each of those.

So, there are the hard numbers for my first five years of publishing.  Like I've said before, if you're in this for the money, you'll probably be sorely disappointed.  Then again, maybe you'll break out and soar.  Your mileage will probably vary.  Good luck out there and may 2020 be a better year for us all.

And here's the point where you can ask questions.  I'll answer them if I can.


Friday, January 10, 2020

Talking Pricing Again

I've been noticing something lately.  The price point for new indie books seems to have risen again.  I'm seeing quite a few that are set at $6.99.   (In fact, the book I just finished that I got for free is now $6.99.  It was pretty good, but I would never have gotten it at that price.)

Six ninety-nine.

I mean, it's good margin if you can get that much for your books.  But are they actually getting that much?

I just looked at one that sounded really interesting in the FB marketing post.  Clicked over to Amazon... $6.99.  Nope.  Too rich for my blood.  And then I noticed it had no reviews and its ranking is in the 7 millions.  (I've never even seen a book in the 7 millions before.  Ugh.)  For a book published in 2018.  Sad.

So, the question in my mind is 'what is driving these indie authors to price their books so high?'

Okay, the first real question was 'am I pricing my books too low?'  It's an eternal question floating around my head.  The answer... I don't know.  A few years back a popular author told people on his blog that $2.99 books were all crap.  (Yeah, thanks for that, dude.)  All my books were $2.99 at the time.  Since then, I've raised several of them to $3.99 and a couple to $4.99.  But for me, the regular price doesn't really matter because I'm only actually moving books when they're on sale.

Now, back to the question of what's driving this.  I suspect part of it is a wish to make more per book - I mean, who doesn't want to make more per book? - and the belief people will actually buy their books at that higher price point.  I mean, if traditional books are $9.99, why not price your indie books at $6.99?  Surely people will see that your book is worth that.  The problem comes when people aren't actually buying books at the higher price point because the author is unknown to them, the ranking sucks, etc.  Which makes the rankings worse and... it's a vicious cycle.

Then the question comes around of 'if your books aren't selling at $6.99, why are you keeping them at $6.99?'  Or maybe that's just a question in my head and they aren't thinking about it.  :shrug:

Anyway, I'm just pondering things this morning.  I did feel bad for the guy.  Like I said, the story sounded really interesting.  I might've even taken the chance if it were $3.99 or $2.99, but I just can't afford to drop $6.99 for a new-to-me, underappreciated author.  Plus, I've been burned taking a chance on books that were 99c or free.  And every burn makes me less likely to take a chance again.  I'd love to be in a position to splash money around to all the indies I wanted, but I just can't.

What about you?  What are you willing to spend on a book?  What if it's an untried author? 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Updates and Changes

I started a paranormal mystery last night and sure enough, it had a black cat in it.  And this one talked, too.  Again. 

Other than the cover art for Ugly and the Beast, it's not that hard to change the cat from black to some other color.  At this point, any other color would do. 

I need to contact my ultra-busy cover artist and see if she can squeeze a quick change in.  If swapping out the black cat for another cat is too much work or requires extra payment, I may just nix the cat from the cover altogether.  She didn't charge me when I had her pull Mary off the cover of In Deep Wish, so there's hope. 

It's just as well I'm finding this stuff now.  Once the book goes live and people start reading it, it's a bitch to change anything in it.

If she can't do it, Kazimir (formerly Oliver) will remain black.  No help for that.  Can't have a black cat on the cover and not have the damn cat be black.

I keep having to change things in these books because I keep finding similarities to other books.  Which reminds me, Pinky isn't Pinky anymore.  He's still a pink hellbeast, but the name has changed to something more interesting because someone else had a hellhound named Blue.  Too same-same.  I like the new name better.  It has a story behind it - relating back to a manager I had once upon a time who wore the most garish pink nail polish, and her use of nicknames for everyone.  But I'm not talking about the new name here because it seems like every time I let a piece of info out, I have to change it and it's very confusing.

I rewrote the end of Ugly and the Beast, too.  Which I think I like better.  I kept the old ending, just in case. 

Anyway, I'm making headway.  I've re-read and edited the 9300 words I have for Cinder Ugly and will be adding new words to it starting today.  Not sure where I'm going but the fingers will do the walking and we'll see what happens.  Weeeeee.

And that's what's going on in my world. 

I'm still not posting here very often.  If you want more posts, visit The Writing Spectacle.  If I'm not here, most likely I'm there.

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019 Sales and Marketing Wrap-up

Happy New Year!  Well, that's another year in the can.  I can't say I'm sorry to see 2019 go.  :waves buh-bye:  Let's just go ahead and get this wrap-up out of the way so we can put 2019 away.

It was not a banner year for the whole writing/selling books thing.  I had hoped to get two books out in 2019, if I remember right.  That didn't happen.  I started the year in a slump and it pretty much lasted all year.

I did get Ugly and the Beast written.  I also got it kind of edited.  Then I started Cinder Ugly and the wheels came off.  I wrote part of a Space Bunny thing.  I also did some noodling around with ideas for another SCIU and another Dennis Haggarty.  I participated in NaNo and got another big chunk written on a YA fantasy I started 6 years ago.  Oh, and I started a short Christmas story involving the genies.  Not much to crow about considering there were 365 days in there with which to work and how little I actually worked on writing.

In the selling books arena, here are the numbers.  It's easier to deal with numbers sometimes.

Total sales $: $469
Total copies sold: 484

Not as much money as last year, but better than 2017, so I'm not crying into my coffee too much.  With no new books hitting the market, I should be happy I got that many sales.  This year, I did roll over 3K books sold over the entirety of my publishing life.  It averages out to 603 books and $712 a year.  (2015 was a big year, so it skews the average.)  Woohoo.

Dollars spent on marketing: $316
Sales $ earned from paid ads: $353

So, I finished the year in the black on paid marketing, but not by much.  If it weren't for marketing, I wouldn't have sold much in 2019.  I mean, take the $353 off the $469 and you get $116 worth of books sold without any paid advertising. 

Average per book income: 97c

Considering that I only sold 24 books at full price, I'm amazed I averaged that much.  I attribute it to Page Reads, which, while not netting me the same dollars as selling a full-priced book outright, certainly nets me more than a discounted 99c book.  I sold 316 books at the sale price of 99c, of which I get about 64c.

Speaking of Page Reads...

Number of books sold through the KU program: 72.82
Dollars earned through Page Reads: $126.04

And the majority of that can be attributed to paid ads.

It's getting harder and harder to sell books as a self-published author.  For me, anyway.  I'm sure there are writers out there doing much better than I am.  They're probably dropping new books at least 4 times a year, spending a bunch more on marketing, and have more social presence than I do.  I can only do what I can do, so I'm trying not to come off as whiny.  Like I said, this was a hard year but not the worst year ever.  Sure, I'd like it to have been better.  Who wouldn't?

My goals for the year ahead depend mostly on having the funds to pay my editor.  If I can swing that, I'd like to see Ugly and the Beast and Cinder Ugly hit your ereaders in 2020.  I'd also like to get another SCIU and another Dennis Haggarty at least written, if not out there in public.  Beyond that, I can't commit to anything.  Not yet.  I hope to under promise and over deliver.

Ah, hope. It's a thing.

Do you have any questions for me?  How was your 2019?  What are you hoping to accomplish in 2020?