Saturday, January 30, 2016

Poor Ahmed Best Never Got Any Respect

An interview with Ahmed Best about his Star Wars character, Jar-Jar Binks. He's such a nice guy who got s*** on by the fanboys.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Who Is Deadpool?

Since someone asked in comments a few weeks ago, here's a primer on the Merc with the Mouth from the lovely folks at New Rockstars.


Monday, January 25, 2016

Finding Your Path As a Writer

When does an indie writer ignore people who are telling her what to write?

Short answer:

When she's making money anyway.

Long Answer:

What I'm talking about here is subject matter, not grammar and spelling.

(Seriously, you should always fix grammar and spelling, assuming the critic is correct that something is wrong. Guess what? Sometimes, the critics don't know as much grammar, spelling or factual research as they think they do either.)

Many of the so-called experts, and that includes folks from both the trad and indie published spheres, have no freaking clue of what they're talking about. So how do you know when they're right and when they are wrong?

You don't. Sometimes their criticism has nothing to do with you or your story, and everything to do with the critics own hang-ups. So, here's some things to think about to keep you on your path, not someone else's:

1) Write what you like to read

This is not the same thing as writing what you know. A lot of people write to market, i.e. if sparkly vampires or stalkers are hot, that's what they write. These are the same people who deride you for not following that trend. But once the market's saturated with crappy knock-offs, the readers stop buying those books, and everyone loses.

If there's a genre you love, and you can't find enough material that can keep you satisfied, then write a story in that genre. Just because it's not the hot thing at the moment doesn't mean it won't sell. There's lots of readers bemoaning the loss of sweet romances, westerns, and gothics right now. If you're one of them, why aren't you writing one?

For example, I like BDSM stories with romance, which is a subgenre of erotic romance. There wasn't a whole lot when the big publishers tried to ride the erotica wave launched by Ellora's Cave in 2000. So I wrote a couple and published them under a pseudonym. They sold, and they continue to sell steadily.

2) Study the market

Sounds contradictory to No. 1, doesn't it? But I'm not saying write to the market. What I mean is there are times when you can anticipate trends in the genres you love.

I adore fantasy and paranormal. In 2004 when I got serious about having a writing career, vampire romances were peaking and werewolf romances were on the rise. So I considered what would be the next big thing, i.e. which monster would take center stage.

The year before, an odd little duck of a comic book called The Walking Dead had been released. George Romero was still writing his zombie movies, and they were as popular as ever. However, Zombie Love was too off-the-wall for trad publishing by the time it was finished in 2005. In some ways, it still is. But I indie published it anyway, and it sold.

Does anticipation of a market trend always work? No. I couldn't have predicted BDSM romance taking off like it did. Which leads to...

3) Accept that you may love and write in a niche, and it's not a bad thing

Contemporary romance may be the most popular and best-selling genre on the face of the planet right now, but if you absolutely despise it, don't write it. Seriously. It's a good way to burn out your brain. And if you did a half-assed job because you hate the genre, your book won't be differentiated from the thousands that are out there. Furthermore, just because romance readers are voracious doesn't mean they are idiots. They'll one-star your book in a heartbeat if they think you don't respect them or their favorite genre.

The great thing about indie publishing today is that freaky subgenres that can't sell enough to sustain a multi-national publishing conglomerate CAN sell well enough to support the dozen or so writers that adore that particular freaky subgenre.

For example, M/M romance, lactation erotica, and serial killers as heroes are niche markets. Indie writers in these markets are doing very well because they enjoy the subject matter and they respect the readers of that subject matter. Very rarely would a trad publisher touch these topics, if it all, whether because of their own squick factor or the relatively tiny sales. However, those relatively tiny sales can still pay your mortgage if you write about it.

Finally, to paraphrase Internet Rule 35--if no book on a new subgenre is found at the moment, one will be written. Be the one to write that book!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Now, back to our regularly scheduled Deadpool programming--

Friday, January 22, 2016

Halloween with Deadpool and the X-Men

Well, it was relatively clean for the little ones...


Monday, January 18, 2016

Indie Book Promotion

Five years after I jumped in the indie publishing waters, I still see new writers debating which method of promotion works the best. Especially when comes to advertising newsletters, such as Bookbub, eBookSoda, Pixels of Ink, etc., results can vary wildly. Couple that with expectations of winning the author lottery, it makes me want to *facepalm*.

How many methods work? Therein lies the problem. Here's what I've learned since 2011:

1) There is no magic bullet. No perfect form of advertising. You will drive yourself insane and broke trying to find it. Do your research and stay within your budget.

2) Don't do what everyone else is doing.What used to work doesn't work anymore because of oversaturation by all the writers before you. By the time you learn about it, the ROI on that form will be shrinking to zero.

3) Don't be afraid to experiment. What works for Superstar Indie may not work for you, and vice versa.

4) Only do the forms of promotion that you're comfortable with. If you hate tweeting, it's a waste of your time, and your discomfort generally comes across to the public.

5) The only, and I do mean ONLY (assuming you've mastered the art of storytelling), method of spurring additional sales is to publish your next work. This method freaks out new writers because it means OH MY GOD! MORE WORK!

Um, yeah, if you want to sell more books, you need to put out more books. That concept eludes most people who believe they want to be writers. Yes, sometimes a person can write that one book that sets them up for life, but that's not always the case.

Take J.K. Rowling for example. How many of you had heard of her in 1997 when the first Harry Potter came out? I didn't learn about Harry Potter until 2000 when I was asking for book recommendations from other parents. 2000 was the year the fourth book in the series came out, not the first book.

Word-of-mouth takes time. When many new indie writers don't get immediate sales with their first book, they give up instead for writing the next book. Or else, they continue promoting that one book until their readers are sick of hearing about it. If someone likes your writing, you need to give them more product to enjoy. Your readers aren't going to buy the same title over and over again.

Unless you release three or four books at the same time, don't worry about promotion. If you do release a bunch of books at once, then by all means go to town on promotion, but only do what you can afford. Good luck!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Second Most Anticipated Movie of 2016

Okay, I'll give you folks a Deadpool break. The other movie I'm looking forward to is Avengers 2.5.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Conan Questions Deadpool

Not really. He interviews the poor schmuck who squeezes his ass into that tight red leather. 28 DAYS UNTIL DEADPOOL!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Pirating the Wrong Dude

If you don't already know this, David Gaughran is a sweet, generous guy and a terrific author. If you love historical fiction, go read his A Storm Hits Valpraiso. If you're new to indie publishing, I highly recommend his Let's Get Digital and Let's Get Visible.

Recently, some huckster decided pirating a portion of the latter book was a good idea. David's the guy who is pretty much single-handedly taking on scam/vanity-publisher Author Solutions, which was recently sold by Penguin Random House. So he's not the type to roll over when some joker uses his words to phish innocent writers.

Go read what happened to David and the (sometimes hilarious, sometimes head-smacking) fall-out. And stay far, FAR away from IndieWriterSupport!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again--if you're going to cross a line, make sure you know who you're pissing off and be prepared for the consequences.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Autharium (aka Indie) Strikes Back

Last Friday, the following comment showed up in my moderation file:

Re: Autharium Drama
Maybe you should try being in Matt's shoes for one day. Try living on under 4 hours sleep with 4 children and a partner who's mother is critically ill in hospital. Then see if you can post an email that satisfies your intergalactic standards.

It belongs to a post from nearly two years ago, More Autharium Drama. Go look it over. I'll wait.

* * *

You're back? A lot of crap that passed under the bridge two years ago, right?

First of all, the comment, which I approved for posting, gives me a chance to re-visit a company whose tactics I questioned. Rather than issue press releases touting their new, improved terms, Autharium changed its name to Indie. The terms I had concerns about two years ago, I still question now. The funny thing is my posts about Autharium (aka Indie) are still near the top results of most search engines.

So who left the anonymous comment, hoping to make me feel guilty? Well, I have my suspicions, but I'm going to address the particulars anyway. *grin*

Obviously, my mysterious commenter hasn't bothered to look at my blog for the last two years. Regular readers know about some of my travails, but I'm not going to spell them all out. Social media isn't the place to spill personal shit, contrary to what some folks on Facebook believe.

The main point, and I really hate to say this, is that Matt's shoes don't matter in a professional environment. Guess what? My shoes don't matter either, not when it comes to our customers/clients/readers. In a professional environment, if we want to call ourselves professionals, we are simply required to do our jobs without whining.

Seriously, if you walked into McDonald's and the person taking your order started complaining about his parents ragging on him, how he's failing Algebra because his teacher's really smokin', and his girlfriend won't put out, what would you think?

For the first time, I pray this was a real troll comment. I'm really hoping that Matt Bradbeer wasn't stupid enough to post this comment because it plays exactly into my criticism of his lack of social media awareness from his e-mail and tactics from 2014.

I also hopes he reads this because, Matt, if you really are under that much pressure, no business is worth ruining your health for.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Slightly More Serious Totally Not Safe for Work Valentine's Day Present

Here's a more serious version of the R-rated Deadpool trailer. 34 days and counting!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Writing in the Middle of a Crisis

If one more person tells me how much they want to write a novel, but they just don't have the time, I might just bitchslap them.

Because I'm sure as hell not going to waste my Starbucks Venti Peppermint Mocha throwing it in their face.

(Praise Murphy and all other deities! There's a Starbucks in our town now! I can retain my Gold status for 2016. Actually, this news is a very good thing for those who irritate me. Buying me a Venti Peppermint Mocha will make me bitchslapping you less likely.)

The new Starbucks has helped me cope with the family drama. We started 2016 with MIL still in the Physical Rehab/Skilled Nursing facility. Only to have Blue Cross/Blue Shield try to say she doesn't need such care. Mind you, the woman has a gaping open wound on her leg that is the length and twice the width of my forearm. As in, she could be an extra on The Walking Dead without any make-up. It's bad enough that we'll be consulting with a plastic surgeon later next week.

On a side note: I fucking hate Blue Cross/Blue Shield! These are the same assholes who tried to deny coverage on DH's emergency surgery when a cancer tumor literally ripped open his colon. Their reason? Not getting preauthorization.

Back in the current time frame, FIL hasn't been dealing with the absence of MIL very well. He's been eating less and less. He complained about intense pain in his leg (ironically, the same side MIL is having problems with). DH took him to the ER on the 30th. After a CAT scan, the doc thought the problem was sciatica, i.e. pressure on the sciatic nerve due to inflammation and spasming of his back muscles, probably from stress. Unfortunately, things got worse.

So, Monday started with BC/BS being assholes and ended with FIL back in the ER with more symptoms than his original sciatica.

What does any of this have to do with writing?

In the middle of helping DH with his parents, I actually got words in.

Nope, not lying. I have words. Maybe not thousands, but I've got hundreds over the last seven days. A hair over 200 per day for the first six days.

For one thing, writing has actually been my method of relaxing prior to publication. I lost that along the way. Finding the fun again has been one of my goals this year.

Which brings me to letting go of the pressure I've been putting on myself to publish faster and faster. The more pressure I loaded in my head, the more I felt like a failure for not living up to unobtainable, unrealistic goals given all the family issues over the last two and a half years.

The last trick was not getting caught up in some weird ritual before I wrote. And yes, I've tried them all. My only ritual now is pulling out my iPhone when I'm waiting in line or sitting in a doctor's office and typing a sentence or a paragraph or a chapter.

An iPhone? Yep, an iPhone, using the Notes app. So far, I'm five chapters into Sacrificed which will be Bloodlines Book 8.

And right now, there's someone reading this, screaming "I can't do that! The screen's too small." Remember "weird ritual" above?

Yep, that's what the screamer is doing. Not letting go of a weird ritual. If you don't like my method, that's fine, but don't tie yourself to one method. I didn't think I could write on a smartphone, one sentence at a time, either. Surprise!

So yes, you can write in the middle of a major family crisis. Just let go of your preconceived notions first.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Totally Not Safe for Work Valentine's Day Present

Yes, I have already demanded that DH take me to see Deadpool for Valentine's Day. No, I'm not your typical soccer mom.

Seriously, folks, this is NSFW!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year!

May all your goals be accomplished in the coming year!