Thursday, September 23, 2010

Squick Time - Giant Spiders

This is just ghastly! I was mowing my lawn today and ran into a spider web. That made me hyper-sensitive to places where they hang out.

This is where it gets gross and squicky - I found a giant spider in the front. This is one of those yellow garden spiders. Only the body looked like it was the size of a very small pullet egg.

I nearly got sick looking at it. I'm terrified of these things.

There are so many here that I've started siccing the chickens on them, or spraying them if they get too close to the porch. (Anywhere I can see them is too damn close!)

I can't wait until the frost hits and these awful things are gone!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Marketing 'Let's Do Lunch'

This has been a very slow month as far as sales go. Since I added Smashwords to the mix, I've been trying to push some business that way, so I can track the number of hits.

I know that there have been 20 samples downloaded from Smashwords. So far there have not been any sales. I gave away 1 book, hoping to get a review later on down the road. I've also created a coupon to give a 50% discount for the book. This code has been posted to Authors on Show's 'Thank You' page.

I committed to giving away downloads of "Lunch" to the troops. Being so close to Fort Knox, and knowing so many young people in service, I feel strongly about showing support for them. Even if it is only giving them a copy of an e-book.

I can't help but thinking of the children of my friends - grown men and women now - who are 'over there.' (Better change the subject now before I start ranting.)

I posted a link to Joe Konrath's sales figures - and reminded myself just how important it is to have a body of work, not just a single book. Joe and the Indie writers whose names he posted, have worked very, very hard to write, edit and market their books.

My WIP has suffered from the summer long chaos. I can't concentrate long enough to finish the book. So I'm posting to this blog and messing around with a possible website. I have made some progress in other areas - bought the cover and posted Chapter One to Goodreads.

"Let's Do Lunch" now has an ISBN number - purchased from Smashwords. That will allow me to sell it on iBook, Sony and Barnes & Noble. I'm hearing from other writers that B&N is quickly becoming the second best selling market after Amazon. Must be all the Nooks they sold. So far I haven't found my own book on their site, but that takes WEEKS.

'Trivia Updated'

A number of annoying little inconsistencies have been plaguing me. Names that don't match - websites that need to be changed. I was able to get a big batch of that fixed today. I felt like I was drowning in minutia this afternoon, but now I'm happy because it is done.

I spent some time on the Kindle Boards today. The site has some confusing rules concerning what and when you can post. Yet it looks like I'm going to need to hang around and learn the ins and outs of the place. :-P

'Pet News'

The boys have had that wonderful surgery that keeps them from running off - looking for girl dogs. Hopefully this will also stop them from fighting. I've had to break up some snarl-fests that sounded murderous. Bites have been exchanged, but no blood has been drawn. This should keep them from an all out war. The last thing I need is a couple of Jack Russel terriorists going at it over the food dish.

The interesting thing is that everyone at the Clinic came out to tell me how wonderfully behaved my boys are. That may well be - a dog named 'Trouble' comes with a set of expectations. My old Jack had his teeth cleaned - no extractions this time. My boys were on a yogert diet for the first day. Even my hubby was envious.

Mommy Duck hatched out a red chick. I now have a Dominque crossed with a Rhode Island Red. She's a cutie, I put her in the iron tub for a few days with friends to teach her how to eat and drink.

That all the farm news.

Konrath Ebooks Sales Top 100k

A Newbie's Guide to Publishing: Konrath Ebooks Sales Top 100k

Yes, Joe has posted his numbers, and as usual they are mind-boggling.

Also worthy of a look-see is the list of new authors and pro-authors who are also riding the crest of the wave.

There is a lot to learn here.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Authors on Show - Features Yours Truly

I am fortunate enough to have be featured on the Authors on Show website. Lorraine has featured me on their "Thank You" page. This page is reserved for the site supporters, I'm proud to have been selected.

I am a cheerleader for Authors on Show because I believe in what they are doing. In the age of "Do It Yourself" marketing for new authors a showcase like this is critical. It can mean the difference between a author and their book making it or falling into obscurity.

 Thank you, Lorraine and AoS Team. I wish you all the best and will continue to send authors your way.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Hawk on the Chicken Coop

I wish I had a picture of it. There was a big red-tailed hawk sitting on the wire roof of chicken world today. All my baby birds are in there. I've lost over $200 worth of purchased pullets and a hundred baby ducks this year.

So while Hungry Hawk was looking at the dinner out of reach. Hubby and I had a conference. The vote was two against one - the hawk had to go.

Hubby popped him with a bb gun. Non-lethal from that distance, but painful. The hawk dropped to the ground with a squawk. Then hopped back up to take one more look at my babies before he winged off.

Too bad he doesn't eat fox.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Coming Soon

One of the best arguments for pursuing publication through traditional sources is the assistance the author would get with marketing their book.

Yet, the rumors abound that a first book actually gets very little support.

I have a contact who did manage to get published via a well-known imprint. I'm looking forward to asking some questions and getting the feedback that we all desire.

How much help does a new author really get with their first book?

Stay tuned, I hope to present some very useful information in the near future.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Cyber-Land of Confusion

As I continue to market 'Let's Do Lunch,' I am struck by the strangeness in the world of forums.

It is a hostile environment.

I suppose you can't blame each forum for creating rules based upon their experiences. Faceless spamming is annoying – slapping a book plug into random threads is enough to irritate anyone. I had enough bad experiences with flaming trolls and creepy sock-puppets on Autho' to empathize to a certain extent.

However, I'm convinced there has to be a better way.

I've already decided that LinkedIn has far too many people shilling services to all and sundry. However, I get many hits from the site. They are definitely a source of hits, if not a source of sales. I have decided to keep a presence in the discussion groups, but send people to the blog so I don't have to repeat myself.

British literary salon Litopia has arcane membership rules. Membership is based on the number of posts (either 50 or 250 I've see both mentioned) after that you have to submit a sample of your writing to some unknown entity (and pass a grammar test?) in order to become a full member. I don't have time to read and comment even 50 times. I doubt their market for women's fiction is large enough to justify my time and effort to obtain full membership.

Kindle boards has me thoroughly confused – I'm not going to remark further. Suffice to say that there are WAY too many people selling books. They have rules for everything. Blogspot tells me that I'm not getting many hits from that site.

Good old Face Book is a winner – their networked blogs function appears to be the source of most of my blog hits. Since joining networked blogs my hits per day have doubled. It may well be worth the investment of time and money to take out an ad through them.

I did enjoy the brief time I spent on the Authors on Show site. It has a good mix of US and UK readers and writers. Lorraine has been kind enough to link to Jordan's Croft – I really need to get over there and learn their site.

Oddly enough – I have not found a forum for Smashwords. I think I've missed it. I do enjoy their coupon function – I made one up the other day. (See the Books by K.A. Jordan page.) However, until I go over their marketing guide a couple more times I don't think I'll get the jist of it. It took me two weeks to understand Amazon DTP so I'm not going to sweat it. FWIW 'Lunch' was accepted by the premium catalog. I could go to iBook if I got an ISBN number.

The total waste of time this week was the Amazon Romance forum. I was taking part in two discussions – very lively and interesting. The first was deleted by Amazon, the second was taken over by a pro-erotica contingent.

The good news – 'Let's Do Lunch' continues to sell steadily. Since the price has increased to $2.99 I have made as much money in one week as I did the entire first month.

The bad news – 'Swallow the Moon' has fallen afoul of my chaotic life. The book hovers at just under 59.5k words. While I sit down to complete this pass every night – it seems there is always some crisis distracting me. If it's not the fox after my chickens in broad daylight, it's Trouble racing down the road.

Farm life has drawbacks.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

'Let's Do Lunch' Discarded Scene

A dozen men and one woman sat in a circle, some in wheelchairs, some on crutches, several were amputees, all were soldiers in various stages of treatment. Some faced forward, making eye contact with each other. A few looked down; others looked away, refusing to make any kind of eye contact.

There was also a tall, thin man in his sixties sitting quietly. He had the dark skin of a man who worked outside. Across from him was the 'hard case' of the crew. Bearded and shaggy-haired Sergeant 'Tag' McTaggart wore old jeans and an Army t-shirt, what he lacked in grooming, he made up for in attitude.

McTaggart understood those reluctant to participate. He understood the despairing ones, too. Out on his own for six months he'd been back twice, once in a coma, once in a straight jacket. The condition for his release included that he come to this group without fail.

"What a crock of shit," the speaker was in a wheelchair. "I'm supposed to LIKE the fact that my career is dead and that the Army that I served life and limb thinks I'm a helpless cripple?"

"Acceptance doesn't mean that you like it." The councilor, a woman in her sixties was a civilian. "You just get on with your life."

"Bullshit," McTaggart said. "I'm going stir crazy. The days drag and the nights are… horrible."

"Then get a job." One of the other men in the circle, named Smith, said. "Stop sitting on your ass. Find something to do."

Smith was dressed in new jeans and a polo shirt. He had been "out in the world" for a year, and they all knew that he was playing stay-at-home Dad for his three pre-school kids. His jeans hid the fact that he was missing a leg.

"Right," McTaggart sneered. "I've spent the last ten years learning how to kill people. That would look great on a resume" He looked around at the group. "Anybody know a Mafia boss who wants a one-legged hit man?"

A couple of the guys snickered.

"You can come over and help me with the kids, anytime." Smith grinned. "You can chase the youngest. She hasn't learned to walk yet, but she can scoot."

"A female that can't outrun him," Rodriguez snickered.

"Smart ass, you find a job," McTaggart flipped him the bird.

The councilor held up her hand, stopping the others from commenting.

"It doesn't have to be a job as a hit man, or the president of some company. Just find something to do."

"How did you survive when you first got out?" McTaggart asked the tall thin man across the circle. "You had a long time in service. There was none of this bullshit back in your day, eh?"

The guys respected the Vietnam Veteran. He'd told his story – Green Beret, POW, married to the same woman since the 1970's, with two daughters. He had no treatment for his PTSD until a year ago. He'd nearly killed two men with his bare hands because of it.

"I did 30 years in the Army, so it was tough," retired Colonel Jim Bennett looked McTaggart straight in the eye. "It got worse after 9-11. I lost my son-in-law at the Pentagon then my retirement money when the market crashed. My pension isn't enough to cover the wife's maintenance." They laughed.

"So I got off my ass. You know, 'suck it up and drive on.'" Bennett showed his teeth in a smile. "Now I work with my daughter. I have a market garden, two acres that I work every day. I'm up before dawn and I work outside, sometimes until dark."

"Sounds like hard work," one of the men said.

"I can take my time," Bennett shrugged. "I tried an office job. I hated it."

"Maybe you can put McTaggart to work." Rodriguez was in a mood for trouble. "I don't think Smith should trust him with his daughter."

They all sat back, inhaling sharply at the insult.

McTaggart stared Rodriguez down, until the other man dropped his eyes, muttering under his breath.
"Hey, I was just messing around."

"How about it, McTaggart?" Bennett broke the silence. "I could use some help."

"Doing what?" McTaggart was curious. "What can I do?"

"Help me plant, help me harvest," Bennett grinned. "It's not rocket science, just gardening."

"What's the matter, afraid to get your hands dirty?"

"I used to work in my Uncle Ray's garden," a double amputee in a wheelchair who hadn't spoken in weeks looked at McTaggart. "I liked it."

Everyone in the group looked from him to McTaggart.

McTaggart took a deep breath then nodded.

"Okay. I'll think about it."

Rodriguez had to get the last word, but he said it under his breath so only McTaggart heard him.

"Lay a hand on one of Bennett's daughters and you'll take a long dirt nap."

McTaggart snorted - messing with women was the last thing on his mind.