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.) 

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: