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Friday, August 31, 2012

9 Pearls of Wisdom from Guest Blogger Terri Molina

WINNER!! Tess St. John has won the $25 VISA gift card! Thanks to everyone who commented!

Please welcome guest blogger and romantic suspence author Terri Molina!

When Suzan approached me and asked if I’d like to do a guest blog here, I jumped on it and said, "Sure, I’d love to."

Then, minutes later, I panicked...oh dang...what am I supposed to blog about??

I’m not really a good blogger (and if you hunt down my own blog, you’ll notice I post something every other month or so). It’s not that I don’t have a lot to say, in my own head, I just don’t transfer it to screen very well. Thankfully that’s not the case with my novels...at least I hope not. Then she said it would go up August 31st. That date didn’t quite register until now....holy cow the year is almost over!! Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday we were ringing in the new year? What is it about getting old that makes the time fly by so fast?? Yesterday I was 35....really, I’ve been 35 for the past 15 years....and now, though it pains me to admit it....I’m 50! The only thing that keeps me from becoming too depressed about that number is...some of you are older than me!! haha


So...now that I’m a half-century (that sounds so much older, doesn’t it?) you have to assume I’m much wiser, right? Well then, let me impart some wisdom I’ve learned over the years. We’ll call it my list of how to survive your own stupidity. I’d say top ten list....but I can’t think of ten things, which means I’m not as wise as I thought. Oh, and just let me add....I didn’t really do any of these things. *cough*

1. Don’t wear a thong to the beach if you’re more than 30 pounds overweight....that’s just gross.

2. Don’t flip off the driver in another car when they cut you off on the highway....it could be an unmarked police car.

3. If you live in a desert state (like Arizona) make sure you wear plenty of deodorant....and carry extra in your purse...or ‘man-bag’. hah

4. Don’t buy chocolate and leave it in the car in the middle of a heat wave.

5. Don’t use dish soap (like Dawn) in the dishwasher.

6. When you go on vacation....remember to pack your underwear.

7. When attending a book signing, don’t tell the best-selling author you love their work then add...except your new stuff.

8. If you’re playing pool and drinking a beer with a slice of lime, don’t use the lime to chalk the cue stick.

9. If you have a cargo holder on the roof of your van...don’t go through a carwash.

Okay, so I came up with nine things...I was close. How many more can you add?

And, if you can guess which one I did, I’ll put you in a drawing for a $25 Visa gift card.

***

Please leave your guess in the comments. Terri will be drawing a name for the gift card on Monday, September 3rd.

Terri's latest book is Dark Obsession. It's now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. For more information about Terri and her books, visit her website.

Blurb
Ramon (Ray) Chavez, a 33 year old farmer from the Rio Grande Valley doesn’t believe in visions or omens or the mysticism of his Mexican/Indian heritage. When he’s awakened by the spirit of this great-grandmother with a message that something is coming, Ray passes it off as a bad dream. But he may just reconsider his position when he finds Lexie Solis stranded on the edge of town, in search of a new life. Ray feels an instant attraction, as well as a connection, to the skittish young woman, and he pursues a relationship with her.

But what Lexie doesn’t tell Ray or his family, is that she is on the run from an abusive ex-boyfriend and he may be more powerful than even she wants to believe. When Lexie is assaulted by an unseen force, they learn that the man she is hiding from is a master of the dark arts and his obsession with Lexie goes beyond his need to control her; he wants to possess her soul as well. As their past lives parallel, Lexie’s only hope for salvation is in Ray’s hands. But can he accept his destiny in time to save the woman he loves as well as his own life?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Let's Talk About Sex

With all due respect to Salt N' Peppa, I'm about to get graphic about sex, writing, and writing about sex. So if reading about various sex acts offends your fee-fee's, then you'll want to click away from this page now.

***

Still here?

As most of my regulars know, I write some paranormal erotica under my name and more extreme stuff under The Alter Ego.

Two weeks ago, another erotica writer, let's call her Lady X, commented that I hold myself back in writing BDSM scenes. It took me several several days to realize what she really meant. I wasn't writing the Cinderella/rape fantasies that are super popular right now, things hitting the bestseller lists like 50 Shades of Gray.

In one way, she's right. I don't write rape fantasies because they don't turn me on. It's the reason I didn't like 50 Shades. Rape fantasy has replaced the "forced seduction" scenario that were so popular in the romance genre twenty/thirty years ago.

I do get why some women like these concepts. When you're working full-time, raising kids, performing your civic/religious duties, etc., you're tired of being totally responsible for everything. If you kick back to relax and have fun, then you feel guilty for enjoying yourself and not accomplishing more. So if the hunk of your dreams forces you to have a good time, then it's not you fault, right?

The problem is I find it disturbing that so many people equate BDSM with rape fantasy. There are some shared elements, but they are two different subjects.

Another factor with Lady X's criticism is I admit that I'm not a good enough writer to put something on paper that makes me ill. And quite frankly, I've seen too many writers I respect forced by their publishers to write something in a genre the writers don't like or are not comfortable with. Their lack of enthusiasm was obvious in their prose, and I dread to be in that position. Thankfully, as an indie writer, I don't have to write rape fantasies if I don't want to.

Please understand I'm not condemning writers or readers who are into fantasy rape scenarios. I know there are subjects I love to write that are turn-offs for other folks. For example, I'm working on a scene where my super-macho cop hero thnks he's about to be pegged by his domme. She messes with him and has another guy ass-fuck my hero. And my hero likes it! I can already visualize my editor cringing because she has an aversion male-male action.

Anyway, what my decision comes down to, I want to be respectful to those folks who practice BDSM, whether it be the lifestyle or the occasional weekend playdate. I truly believe in the SSC ("Safe, Sane, Consensual") philosophy when it comes to BDSM, with a particular emphasis on the "consensual" aspect. I make it clear my characters choose to do certain acts even if fear and/or anxiety get in their way sometimes.

By making sure my female characters are agreeing to certain sex acts like mutliple partners, they are taking control of their sexuality. And frankly, this is the positive example I'd rather leave with my readers.

Monday, August 27, 2012

LendInk Is Back!!

LendInk.com is back online thanks to a dedicated group of readers and authors!

For those who missed my previous post, disabled veteran Dale Porter put together a website that was essentially eHarmony for book lovers. Person A wanting to read a particular book was hooked up with Person B with a 'lend' available on a book they bought. The actual 'lend' was handled through the retailer where the book was purchased.

In addition to the match-up function, Dale is an Amazon affiliate. For those who don't know about the Amazon affiliate program, Amazon allows an affiliate to post widgets for products carried by Amazon. In return, AMAZON pays the affiliate a few cents if a click-thru results in a buy.

For example: I'm an Amazon affiliate. Check out the list of my friends' book along the right side of your screen. If one of you clicks on, say, the widget for Will Graham's book and you buy it, then Will still gets his full 70% and I get a couple of cents from Amazon for advertising for them.

(Though honestly, I didn't do it for the money. I did it becuase my HTML abilities are piss-poor. LOL)

All-in-all, Dale's website was a win-win for EVERYONE! Readers could try new books with no risk, authors got extra exposure and everyone made money in a legitimate enterprise.

Or at least it was win-win until some dumbass indie writers got it in their pointy little heads that LendInk was a pirate site. The resulting mob didn't bother to read their contracts with Amazon, didn't bother to discover what the Amazon affiliate program did, and didn't bother to check out LendInk's website.

And I'm going to stop there before I have a stroke because what these idiots did to Dale was pure, fucking evil in my book. Moving on...

Dale is still looking at some serious expenses from defending himself from the resulting legal drama, finding a new host, dealing with the extra traffic to the website, etc.

There is a fundraising affort over at FundRazr to help Dale and LendInk get back on their feet. I hope you'll consider donating a dollar or two to a worthy cause.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Songs I Listen To A Lot Lately

Indies are hitting the NYT Bestseller Lists, so Get The Party Started!


Friday, August 24, 2012

The Writer's Declaration of Independence

If you didn't see it last Sunday, I strongly suggest that you read Joe Konrath's Declaration of Independence for Writers. It's below the bit about Melinda DuChamp's commentary.

The signers of the original Declaration of Independence knew they were essentially signing their death warrants if the Original Thirteen Colonies had lost their war of independance against Great Britain. The penalty for treason back in the 1700's was death by torture, specifically the traitor was hung (with no drop to break the neck but to slowly suffocate) before his gentials were cut off, and then his entrails removed and burned followed by other organs. Finally, he would have been decapitated, drawn and quartered before the body parts were put on public display.

For the folks who think they'll piss off the traditional publishers by self-publishing, what are you really worried about? Seriously?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Interview with Ruth Cardello

Jeff Rivera interviewed NYT Bestselling Author Ruth Cardello over at his blog. Recently, Ruth made news for TURNING DOWN a seven-figure traditional deal

The interview is worth a looksee for Ruth's tips and tricks. As well as being a fabulous romance writer, Ruth's a geniuinely nice person who'll bend over backwards for a fellow writer. Her novel Maid for the Billionaire (Book 1 of her Billionaire series) is still available for free over at Amazon.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Movie Mania

DH and I had a date afternoon yesterday, and we went to see The Expendables 2. If you want serious, dramatic Oscar-potential shit, go see some other movie. This was a pure '80's testosterone fest.

It follows the standard action tropes. Good guys on a mission to save the world lose new kid on the team with everything to live for (played by Liam Hemsworth, who I honest-to-Anubis thought was his big brother Chris when I first saw the trailer) and want to exact explosive vengence on bad guy Jean-Claude Van Damme's ass.

I didn't expect a whole lot of plot, but definitely a ton of one-liners. Sly and co-writer Richard Wenk did not disappoint. They used Chuck Norris in a hysterical deus ex machina cameo. (Damn, the man does NOT look seventy-two!)

Then there were Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzanegger trading tag lines from each other's movies:
Trench (A.S.): I'll be back.

Chruch (B.W.): You'll be back? You've been back enough. I'll be back. (stalks off and shoots people)

Trench (A.S. under his breath): Yippee-ki-yay.

My only disappointment was that Mickey Roarke wasn't back for this one.

People ask how I write good action scenes in my books.  I have to admit watching way too many of these guys' movies is how I learned to write fight scenes.

Like I said, this movie is definitely a fun, popcorn non-thinking movie. And that's exactly what I needed yesterday.

I think the only three '80's action icons who haven't appeared in an Expendables movie are Harrison Ford, Hulk Hogan and Mel Gibson. Since the producers have already green-lit a all-female version of The Expendables, it's only a matter of time before E3 starts production.

Any suggestions on who should be in the all-female cast or the third guys movie?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Songs I Listen To A Lot Lately

Someone doesn't like that you're an indie writer? So What!


Friday, August 17, 2012

Fuck Cancer!

Anything else I'd planned to say today seems meaningless in the wake of SFF author Jay Lake's announcement on Wednesday that his cancer had returned--with a vengence. He's looking at his fourth round of surgery and third round of chemo for three tumors that appeared roughly six months after his last round of chemo ended. The odds are definitely not in Jay's favor.

I don't know Jay personally. We've passed a couple of e-mails in a fan-writer way, but DH and I have followed his journey online for nearly four years now because, well, it hits close to home.

DH is approaching the eighteenth anniversary of his diagnosis of colon cancer, the same thing Jay is fighting. In both cases, they fell far under the age profile for colon cancer, men way too young to be dealing with this type of shit.

When DH came into the kitchen Wednesday morning, I could tell by his face he'd already seen Jay's blog. He sat down across the table from me, and I said, "We're both having a bad case of survivor's guilt, aren't we?"

Surprise appeared on DH. "I know I am, but why are you?"

"Because I don't know what I would have done if I'd lost you. But I didn't. And Jay's family is pissed and scared and feeling helpless right now at the possibility they're going to lose him. And the whole thing isn't fucking fair."

You see, doctors caught Jay's cancer when it was still at Stage 1 through the typical symptom presentation of rectal bleeding. DH's first symptom was diarrhea that he and I both chalked up to having too much fun at a bar with a friend the night before. Two days later, after emergency exploratory surgery, the doctors found a six-inch Stage 3 tumor that had already started to spread.

Statiscally speaking, Jay's stituation was much better than DH's. But that's not how life works sometimes. Life isn't fair and it makes no sense. And I'm angry and crying as I type this.

As Jay said, if you feel the need to pray or cuss or or buy his books (I highly recommend Green) or donate to the American Cancer Society (wonderful people who helped DH and I when we needed it), do so.

But make sure you give your loved ones hugs and tell them what they mean to you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

When A Writer Gets His Audience Totally Wrong

Before I go further, let me say I admire the work of David Farland, aka Dave Wolverton. I have several of his books on my bookshelf or on my Kindle. He was Stephenie Meyer's writing instructor long before she launched Twilight. And because David's an excellent teacher, I subscribe to his Daily Kick in the Pants newsletter.

The subject of last Thursday's newsletter was Audience Analysis. Dave has a lot of experience with Hollywood as well as New York, so I was really excited to see what bits of wisdom he had.

I was with him until he said, "A woman at forty is nearing menopause, and the male at fifty is reaching a hormonal crisis of his own. They lose interest in sex."

O-o-k-a-a-y...

On one hand, I'm glad women weren't the only ones slammed in that statement. It's a switch from the usual snide crap spewed at any of us ladies over thirty.

On the other hand, I laughed my ass off. You see, everyone I personally know who writes erotica is over forty. Their significant others are the happy recipients of the moods and emotions aroused while these folks are writing.

I really don't think David meant to be insulting, but if I were a troll, I'd send him scathing e-mails and burn/delete his books. Since he also says that only children under eleven are interested in fantasy and that's the genre he writes, then he's obviously never grown up.

But that would be a totally rude thing to say, wouldn't it?

Classifying the parameters of your audience too narrowly does a disservice to you the writer, your current readers and your potential readers. I may not have been in the entertainment business as long as David, but I know enough not to insult an entire segment of my potential audience.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Movie Mania

I FINALLY got the chance to see The Dark Knight Rises in the theater yesterday. Loved it! Loved it! Loved it!

***SPOILERS***

Loves!!

Anne Hathaway was absolutely purrfect (sorry, couldn't resist) as Selina Kyle. No smarmy heart-tugging backstory to show why she became "evil." Just a pragmatic woman trying to survive. As for the folks who wanted a big fight seen between her and Bane? Get real! Selina wouldn't be stupid enough to get into hand-to-hand with someone stronger with better skills than her. She would shoot his ass. (Honestly, the folks that want the fight scene just wanted an excuse for Batman to save her, instead of the other way around.)

I'm not sure what other people bitched about when it came to Tom Hardy's voice through the mask, but I understood Bane just fine. And Tom brought Bane back to his comic book roots when he was a worthy physical and intellectual foe for Batman.

I can't say enough about Joseph Gordon Levitt's portrayal of Detective Blake, so I'm not even going to try. (Seriously, he had the best male performance in the movie!)

And Nolan FINALLY brought in Talia! I was beginning to worry. A little bit. C'mon, how can you start the movie series with Ra's al Ghul and NOT bring in his daughter? A perfect coda to the trilogy.

Also, I'm a huge Steelers's fan so Hines Ward's cameo sent a chill through me. Dammit, Hines, we're going to miss you this season. Funny, how Gotham's football team colors are black and gold. *snicker* (Yes, I know where the stadium scene was set. Where else are you going to get rabid football fans?)

Gripes. (C'mon, you knew I'd have a couple. Okay more than a couple.)

Alfred abandoning Bruce. Um, no. Mr. Pennyworth is, and always has been, loyal to a fault. And he wouldn't stand by and do nothing with Bruce missing and Bane torturing the city for five months. Sorry, no, had a real hard time suspending disbelief on that one. And if you want to talk about not understanding someone's speech--here's where the real problem lay.

Jim Gordon ordering every single police officer into the Gotham sewers. *facedesk* Again, Gordon's a lot of things, but being this incredibly stupid is not one of them. Gary Oldman's always been one to fight for his characters, and I can't believe he didn't say SOMEthing to writer/director Christopher Nolan before or during shooting of the film.

Speaking of the police trapped in the sewers, who the HELL was in charge of continuity? When men are trapped with only food and water being delivered, what happens to their face? Don't they grow hair? As in, beards? Actually all the police, including the female officers, pouring out of sewer once they were freed, looked a little too clean.

The ending. Another reviewer said the ending was what the series deserved, but not what the audience deserved (and if I remember who said that, I'll link to it). The reviewer was right, but for the wrong reasons.  Personally, I thought Christopher Nolan was too heavy-handed, but then I totally got Paul Verhoeven's subtlety in Basic Instinct, and most other folks I talked to--didn't.

I hate the fact that American audiences need to be spoon-fed. It annoys me, and it says a lot about our collective intelligence. So, in a way, I understand why Nolan did what he did. It doesn't mean I liked it.

If it'd been me editing the film, I would have ended with Robin in the Batcave and Alfred at the cafe in France, smiling. But that's me.

Finally, I wish I could say something deep and meaningful about what happened in Aurora, CO. I can't. As the lights came up and the rest of the viewers shuffled out, I realized I sat in a theater very similar to the one in Aurora. Stadium seating. One main exit other than the emergency one by the screen. A family paused near the main exit, watching the credits. If they had guns, there was no fucking way I could make it to the emergency exit.

I'll never know the terror those people in Colorado felt, the horror as their loved ones dead in senseless violence, the utter despair in the realization you can't escape. I can't know without experiencing it, and there's a selfish, little part of me that hopes I never do.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Song I Listen To A Lot Lately

If you're proud to be an indie (and haven't acted like a dick this month), Raise Your Glass!


Friday, August 10, 2012

The Day I Became Ashamed To Be An Indie Author

My regular readers know I'm very much pro-indie. But what my enthusiasm boils down to is I'm pro-story-teller. pro-reader and pro-business.

For the most part, the indie writer community is an intelligent, innovative group looking to get quality books to the public. But by selling books to the public, they need to understand not just craft, but every other angle of business from marketing to contract and copyright law.

Education is paramount in any endeavour, but this country's population seems to be going downhill rapidly in the willingness to read the fine print of the contracts they sign, much less try to understand what a copyright is and is not.

Many retail site such as Amazon allow e-books to be lent. Specifically, Amazon's Terms and Conditions says:

5.2.2 Kindle Book Lending Program. The Kindle Book Lending program enables customers who purchase a Digital Book to lend it subject to limitations we establish from time to time. All Digital Books made available through the Program are automatically included in the Kindle Book Lending program. However, for Digital Books that are in the 35% Royalty Option (as described in the Pricing Page), you may choose to opt out of the Kindle Book Lending program. This will disable lending of the Digital Book by customers who purchase it after you have opted it out, but this will not affect the right of customers who purchased it when lending was enabled to continue to lend it. You may not choose to opt out a Digital Book if it is included in the lending program of another sales or distribution channel. If we become aware that a Digital Book you have opted out is included in the lending program of another sales or distribution channel, we may enable it for lending. Digital Books that are in the 70% Royalty Option (as described in the Pricing Page) cannot be opted out of the lending feature.
Right now, Amazon allows lending ONLY ONCE for each title bought. The lendee has access to the title for  fourteen days. For those fourteen days, the original buyer does not have access to the book. And, yes, Kindle Select books are included in these terms. (Lending is kind of the point behind Kindle Select, now isn't it?)

A disabled U.S. veteran named Dale Porter created a website called LendInk. LendInk was a book version of eHarmony. It matched folks who had an e-book that was still lendable with someone who wanted to read it.

Apparently, some writers got it in their head that LendInk was doing something illegal, unethical, immoral...fill in the blank. A Twitter mob (or twitmob as the online magazine TechDirt called it) claimed LendInk was a pirate site based on a rumor without any INVESTIGATION WHATSOEVER. These people sent multiple complaints to Amazon and DMCA takedown notices to LendInk's host. Now, some people are sending THREATS to both Dale and his family as well as folks at the hosting company.

Indie author April Hamilton has a pretty intelligent takedown of the wrongness of the situation. And now, April is getting harassed by these same people who didn't bother to read the Terms and Conditions. She has had to turn off comments on her blog.

Did the twitmob truly succeed? No. Even if Dale calls it quits forever, other sites, like Good E-Reader are stepping into the void. Hell, I'm impressed Michael Kozlowski and others still stand up for us indies after the utter bullshit that happened with LendInk.

What it comes down to is ignorance on the part of the writers who bullied Dale and his ISP into shutting down the site. A site that was legal when I checked it out a few months ago. A site that gave GREAT exposure to all of us authors.

I've been proud to be an indie writer.

Until today.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Lone Star Conference


If you want a small, intimate, reasonably-priced writer's conference where you learn tons and have a great time, here's the official plug:

The 2012 Lone Star Writer's Conference

Presenter: Best-Selling Author JAMES SCOTT BELL
Topic: Plot And Structure

Attending Editors:
Chris Keeslar, Boroughs Publishing Group
Liz Pelletier, Entangled Publishing
Deborah Gilbert, Soul Mate Publishing

Attending Agents:
Elaine Spencer, The Knight Agency

Location: Houston Marriott North at Greenspoint
Date & Time: October 13, 2011; 9 am to 5 pm (registration and breakfast 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.)
Cost: $130.00 (includes lunch and coffee breaks)

James Scott Bell presents…
PLOT & STRUCTURE: In this day-long workshop, you'll learn techniques and exercises for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish, including:
• Dazzling dialogue
• Plotting for perfect structure, every time
• "Jump off the page" characters
• Power revision for next-level novels
• Stronger scenes for stronger manuscripts

Register Today!
** 2012_Registration Form_Lone Star **
Online payment through PayPal is available!

Accommodations:
Houston Marriott North
255 N Sam Houston Pkwy East • Houston, Texas 77060 USA
* $79.00 – For Room Reservation Click Here *

Here's the unofficial plug:

Smaller conferences allow you to have more one-on-one time with industry professionals. One of the biggest pluses of the Lone Star Conference in Ruth Kenjura's post-conference wine and chocolate party. Ruth's hotel room becomes a no-pitch zone where guest speakers and attendees can talk industry (and sometimes a little gossip flows) in a comfortable, no-pressure environment.

It's not unusual for folks to join NWHRWA after experiencing the Lone Star. So if you will be in the Houston area in October (or plan to be), please come!

Monday, August 6, 2012

How Familiarity Can Breed Recognition

We humans are creatures of habit. We eat at restaurants that are familiar to us. We go to entertainment facilities we are most aware of. We associate with people we know.

Seriously, when was the last time you walked up to a total stranger and said, "Hey, let's hang out!"

Let's face it--we don't. Our first interactions with someone new are hesitant. Guarded. It's only after a period of sharing 'safe' data, i.e. general things like weather, recent sporting events, community news, do we make a decision to stretch into more personal information and start building a relationship with that person.

What does this have to do with book marketing?

Well, there's a large number of marketing research reports, some commissioned by Fortune 500 companies, that claim social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter do not provide any measurable return in the form of customers. I've seen a great many writers cling to these reports and claim that social networking is a total waste of time.

Now, these writers are correct if all you're doing is shouting, "Buy my book!" This is where the familiarity comes into the contempt equation. These writers have forgotten the basic rules of human interaction--general to specific.

What social networking and other forms of communication can do is provide the writer with name recognition. This is why those same Fortune 500 companies that say social networking sites have no measurable correlation to sales still have their own Facebook and Twitter accounts. The more you repeat something, the more likely it is to stick in a person's head.

I believe it was the Wharton School of Business that said a person needs to see/hear a message seven times before it registers in a human brain. This is why any publicity is considered good publicity. You the Writer want your name to stick in someone's brain.

A couple of friends hit the NYT Bestsellers List in the last month, which is why the topic came up for me lately. I was on the phone with one of them, discussing the rash of interview requests she'd received. She questioned whether it was worth her time doing the interviews rather than working on her next book.

Please remember, this was not her ego talking. Her health is a precarious balancing act. Does she use her precious minutes on the computer writing or dealing with reporters?

I told her to select a few and do the interview. When she asked why, I said, "Name recognition." A few articles about her will sink her name into folks who haven't read her before.

As a writer's name is repeated, whteher through social interactions or new reports, she becomes "familiar" to the public. Folks are more likely to try her product (i.e. her book) because of that familiarity. Trust in a certain level of quality engenders the likelihood of repeated buying.

I look at it this way--if this method has worked for McDonald's for the last fifty years, why can't it work for us writers?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Songs I Listen To A Lot Lately

Thought all those rejections from New York would kill me? I'm Stronger than that. And now, I have the last laugh.


Friday, August 3, 2012

What Makes an Indie Book Take Off?

I've been getting that question from other writers a LOT lately. I've found my best answer is to turn the question around.

What make a traditionally published book take off?

No one knows. It's been the age-old question since the first caveman painted on the walls. How do I get people to look at my work when they're starving and freezing and sabertooth tigers want to eat them?

The folks in New York don't know. Every single book coming from the major houses would be best sellers if they knew.

The indie folks can tell you what worked for them. But the gimmicks that they used two years ago don't affect the buying public like they used to.

And frankly, anyone who tells you they know for sure how to make your book a best seller is probably lying. Especially if they want you to pay them $499.99 before they will tell you.

The reading entertainment field has truly become level.

What can I tell you?

Write the type of books you would want to buy and read. Write a lot of them. Put them up for sale. Write some more. Don't nag people about buying your books. Make an announcement that the new book is available and start writing the next one. Say 'thank you' to the readers who give you compliments. Ignore the trolls. Write some more.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Get the picture?

What I can tell you is that your first book out of the gate will most likely NOT be a major seller. If it is, more power to you and tell me where to send the bottle of champagne.

For the rest of us, we need to keep working. It wasn't until I uploaded the tenth story that I saw an income jump--from the double digits per month to triple digits. Shortly after the thirteenth book, income jumped from the low triple digits to the low four digits.

I can't tell you when this could happen for you. It may be the first book. It may be the fiftieth. I don't know. You don't know. The executive in his Manhattan office doesn't know. Joe Konrath doesn't know. The guy panhandling on the street corner doesn't know.

If you love telling stories, you will keep at it. If you don't, you will find another hobby to occupy your time.

Sometimes it pays to put yourself in the mindset of Dorie from Finding Nemo: "Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming..."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sales, Wordcounts and the NYT Bestseller List

July was a wild, effing ride!

The not-so-great news first? I was shooting for 50K words on Blood Sacrifice. I made it to 24,608. So what was the problem?

There were several, my own headspace being the biggest. I didn't realize how much writing this blog relaxes me before I start on the day's fiction writing. So, I'm definitely going back to my MWFSa schedule.

Also, I usually have my research done and ready long before I start writing. This time I kept coming up with questions I hadn't thought to ask my Peruvian expert until I hit the necessary point in the story.

Then there's the issue of Blood Sacrifice being the first novel I've written since I finished the first draft of Zombie Wedding in February of 2010. Oh, I've written in the last two and a half years, but it's been eight novellas and short stories or novel rewrites. I need to get back in the long form groove, which I finally managed during the last full week of the July.

All-in-all, July was a major learning experience for me as a professional writer. Therefore, I don't regret my problems as long as I don't repeat the mistakes that caused them.

The EXCELLENT news is that I SOLD 587 books. And no, that number does NOT include the four hundred-plus copies of Zombie Confidential I gave away (still waiting on final numbers from the Smashwords distribution retailers).

The BEST news was not mine, but my friend's. Erotic romance author Lyla Sinclair is the person who nudged and prodded and shoved me to try indie publishing nearly two years ago. We don't always see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, but I know she has my best interests at heart.

Well, last week, Lyla hit #26 on the NYT Ebook Bestsellers' List with her latest Training Tessa. Today, she's at #17. I'm SO excited for her. This is a woman who works damn hard at her craft and still has time for noobs like me. If you love fun, flirty erotica, check out Lyla's website! And, Lyla, if you're reading this, I'm so damn happy for you!