Monday, August 29, 2011

Everybody Has An Opinion

This is just plain crazy-wrong. You know what I mean?

Don't writers get enough crap from people - now the guys who do graffiti are at it.

I feel like Rodney Dangerfield - writers don't get no respect.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

E-Books - Marketed as Gift Cards are many, many reasons why Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Katherine Rusch are my heroes.

This is only one of them.

Dean and Kris came up with the idea of using gift cards to sell e-books to bookstores. They posted it for everyone to share - see the link to the post. Click here for details. 

Over on Linked-In there are several of us on Laphroaig Writers (Laphroaig is an obscure brand of Scotch) who kick around ideas. In fact this little group has gone from e-publishing clueless to e-published and experimenting with ALL kinds of things. It's been wonderful fun.

Right now, Laphroaig writers are working with these gift cards. Some are using them for sales, others as giveaways. I want to offer samples locally during the upcoming vendor's nights on the Square. I might as well hock books AND e-book gift cards.

September 1, 2011 update.

We have found alternatives to the plastic gift-card. Paper card stock works just as well. Just rub a little candle wax over the code before you paint it. 

This is an example: Click here for scratch card.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This Space For Rent

No, that's just the title of this blog.

However, I have found a cubby in an old hotel in Elizabethtown where I will take my writing. I'm just too easily distracted here at the house.

Going to the library helped a great deal, last year. So I'm going to take it one step further. The goal to start working a 9 to 5 day, at a desk, in an office.

We'll see if this helps make me more productive. And if not, I'll be back in the groove to get a job.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Freebie Friday At Webbie's

This week at Webbiegrrl's Writing, my favorite one-woman blizzard is hosting 'Freebie Friday.'

And for the FIRST TIME EVER - "Swallow the Moon" is being offered for FREE.

Catch the code on her page here and take a look at the other books she's showcasing this week.

And, as always, if you'd like to support HER there is a link for that as well. Click here for the link to "Coming Home Dicky's Story" a post-apocalypse Rom-Com.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Jobs And The Economy - A Rant

The sad fact is that America has the best government money can buy. And buying it is getting easier and easier all the time. As the limits on corporate campaign spending are shunted aside, the 'We-are-people' corporate Frankenstein monsters are dumping barrels of cash into the political system.
More and more often, I'm seeing things like this – Big Corporations whining for tax breaks on billions of dollars made elsewhere. Click here for the latest. This is money they want to pay to the top-tier executives – billions in bonus money – but can't because they would have to declare this money as earnings and pay taxes.
(Insert violin music here.)
The manufacturing boom of the 20th Century was a one-time-deal.
Sorry to say it, but it's the truth. The Age of Steel is over. As the national economy continues to unravel, and it will, people are going to have to go back more than 100 years to rebuild our crumbling nation.
Detroit, Ashtabula and Braddock are three population centers who illustrate this best. Braddock has been abandoned and is falling down. Ashtabula is getting there, fast.
Detroit has hundreds of square miles of abandoned buildings. Neighborhoods were torn down, a 'Green Belt' of sorts is struggling to emerge from the ruins. Most importantly, a core group of people are going into business for themselves.
Let that be a lesson for all of us.
At one time (1800's) the American Dream was to come to America and open a shop of some kind. Breweries, clothing stores, tailor shops, butcher shops, grocery stores, hot dog stands, mercantiles, cabinet shops, boat builders and that's just off the top of my head.
People didn't come to America to work for someone else.
They came to work for themselves.
How times have changed, eh?
Now people in America haven't a clue how to operate a business.
They just want a JOB.
ANY job will do.
My beef with the current mentality is that ONLY a big corporation counts as 'a person' and gets pampered and petted. People don't really count any more. We just get higher taxes and higher medical costs (when the toxic waste of Corporate America had a hand in making us sick.)
The GOP touts their helping 'Job Creators' but what they mean are people rich enough to afford a nanny, a housekeeper, a gardener and maybe a poolboy to help keep their McMansion looking good.
That's not going to change. Congress and the Senate have been bought and are smart enough to STAY bought. They will not betray their corporate Masters. State level government is the same, just a smaller scale.
So, we are looking at a nation in decay. Infrastructure, like roads, bridges, power lines, sewers, rail road tracks, schools  and hospitals are only used by humans. The non-breathing corporations (click here for explanation) who run the country don't need anything except a post office box in the Bahamas.
Now, before you jump either off a bridge, or into a bottle – Listen Up!
For the last 50 years, there's been something else going on, under everyone's radar. Lately, it's sprung up in the shape of windmills and solar power, visible for the first time on TV. Google Farmer's Markets to see one of the areas of the economy that has gone GREAT guns because of the Tobacco Death Tax.
AND if you are a writer or part of the writer's support industry, an Indie publisher, vendor, editor, cover artist, marketing guru or even someone who bought and read an Indie book, guess what?
As much as the Brain-Washed Scions of the Trade Publishing (paper) Industry are screaming about the un-washed rabble at the door, Indie books are selling. There was a pent-up demand for fresh stories, and back-list books. Indies are scouring the Internet for help with editing, cover art, marketing and production.
Things have changed and will change some more.
Fasten your seat-belt.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hard Drives CAN Be Orderly

I have to give April L. Hamilton credit for being the first to tell me to organize my hard drive.

Correction - not just TO do it, but HOW to do it. If you have any aspirations of being self-published (or like me a sneaking suspicion that you are going to end up DIY publishing) learn all you can from April's Indie Publishing Guide.

Build on that base, you will be able to tackle the needed tasks without too much trouble. (Sorry, that was a WHOPPER of a lie.) DIY publishing is a bitch. April will keep you from walking into it clueless.

The first thing I did was make a folder called "Books" then I made another named "Irene" to put Mom's stories in. She's got over 350, so they need their own space. Inside the "Books" folder I have "Advertising", "Books Published", "Covers", "Manuscripts", and "Works In Progress".

(I've written that sentence 3 times, it STILL doesn't look right. Damn commas anyways. My brain treats them like numbers and I'm number dyslexic.)

In order to get an handle on Mom's stories, we divided them into 17 Volumes. There is at least one volume of kids stories, and an entire novel, or 2. The Index is 7 pages long.

I also have a folder for "Advertising" in My Pictures to keep that stuff in order.

My point is a simple one - sort the files into some kind of order. There is nothing worse than wanting to fill out an email for a reviewer and have to dink around on your hard drive for an hour looking for the stupid file that was in the way 2 days ago. Where is the banner ad? and how the hell did I lose my Bio this time?

My personal rule of thumb on sorting files: If there is more than 1 screen, sort it! At least have 1 folder named "Backup" or "Old" for out-of-date materials. There is nothing like spending an hour looking for a banner ad, then posting the wrong one because the names were nearly the same.

The really neat part of this was after I sorted a bunch-a-crap files I found I could do the same thing with my spreadsheets. They are now in their own folder, sorted into sub-folders by topic. I have "Farm", "Projects" and "Books" folders.

Now, I'll let you in on a BIG LIFESAVER TIP - back the whole directory up on a flash-drive or a memory stick. I've got both. I back up my files to all kinds of places on the web, too. Google Docs, ever heard of that? It is the BEST place to stash a backup file. I've got G-Mail which gives me space for my critical files.

Another place I  stash backups - my MP3 player. It has all my music (backup #1) all the photos I can't live without (backup #2) and the Master Docs of all my books (backup #3).

If I could just organize my TIME. (sigh)

Progress, not perfection.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Look What I Found!

I was reading tweets today, and found a gem Indie Reader a website that is targeting READERS not writers.

The one thing that I've always found just plan strange is the amount of time that Indie Authors spend spamming/marketing to EACH OTHER and not to readers.

I mean it, how weird IS that?

Hanging in the Indie Ghetto is great for making friends, but I hang out with people who don't read my genre at all. No offense, but I can't imagine Andre Jute reading 'Swallow the Moon' on his Kindle.

I'm just not his type, or Allen, Jason or Nigel's type. I hang out with too many writers of other genre.

So where do you go to find readers? Amy and her crew may have a solution. They were mentioned on a site (was it NYT?) that gave them some pointers.

So I've decided to give them a plug, and a space on my Links list.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

'The Help' A Book Review

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a great look at the Civil Rights Era from the inside of a small town.

I lived in Huston Texas in the early 1980's and I was floored by the attitude of the people there.

Reading this book reminded me of how far we have come, and how far there is yet to go.

View all my reviews

Monday, August 15, 2011

Little Things Add Up

There are so many little things that need my attention in any given day.

Little dogs (5 this week), little cleaning, little cooking, various little computer tasks (6 computers last count) and a bunch of e-books to market. This is all part of living on a little farm.

There are also little victories.

Today's accomplishment is a small one, but a good one. My discarded scene from "Let's Do Lunch" has been viewed 99 times this month. This came about because I used it for #SampleSunday which garnered 50 some hits. Hot Damn! Tag McTaggart gets his day in the spotlight!

Very soon, I will be holding this book in my hand.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Big Reveal!

At long last, I can reveal the new cover!

This is the cover from Create Space. Clean lines, bright colors and a modern look.

I'm busy putting this cover to work. I expect it to be displayed on all vendor sites in 3 days or so.

Let's Do Lunch

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tinkering With Posts

I took a look at my blog today, noticed that E-Book Pricing was a hot topic.

But you know what? There wasn't a label for it, nor were any of the posts linked.

My apologies!

There are 30 tweets of the first pricing post - I suspect that I've missed out on a hell of a lot of other tweets because I didn't get the posts linked.

Now they are all linked together, properly.

I've been neglecting this site - well the organization of this site - in my quest to market my novels. I feel this simple change will benefit my readers. I will keep tinkering until I get this right.

Monday, August 8, 2011

New Cover!

At long last I have a great cover for 'Let's Do Lunch!'

I would post it here, but it is a PDF not a jpeg, so we are out of luck.

However! I have approved the cover and the interior design. It is only a matter of time before I have a proof in my hands.

Odd phenomena --

'Let's Do Lunch' continues to get hits on Smashwords. The book usually sells in the middle of the month, not at the first of the month. But all month long it gets steady hits and sampling from the Smashwords page. I had thought that since it got 132 downloads in the Smashwords July promotion that traffic would slow down. It hasn't.

 Another thing I find odd is that I can't find 'Let's Do Lunch' on the Women's Fiction list. It used to be on page 5 of the 'search by ratings.' No longer.

'Swallow the Moon' is on the first page of Smashwords, Women's Fiction best sellers. I find this odd because I sold a lot more copies of 'Let's Do Lunch' during the promotion.

'Swallow the Moon' is number 42 on the  Smashwords 'Must Buy' list on Goodreads.

I'm THRILLED to announce that 'Coming Home - Dicky's Story' is #2 on the same list! Go Sarah!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

An Adventure in Printing

At noon on Tuesday, I got the message from Create Space. My covers were ready for approval.

They both were very nice, even though they were on opposite sides of the spectrum. The first was dark and colorful, a bit of elaborate font and good artwork.

But the second concept was MUCH better. Very simple, modern with just a hint of e-pulp fiction to it. There was just 1 problem. It was a 'fine dining' restaurant - bow-tied waiters with towels over their arms.

SO close, but a total miss!

I suggested a change, (get rid of the window and the waiters) sent them the photo of the Deli and will hope for the best.

The interior also came in. The first thing I noticed was the font matched the cover I wasn't going to use. Then I realized I gave them the wrong front matter.

They said I get 80 changes. I sincerely hope I won't need them all.