Friday, September 30, 2011

TEASER ALERT! Part II

I've shown you the first photo - now here is the second photo!

Are you ready?


This is the Suzuki Hyabusa - one of the most deadly motorcycles in the world.

It is infamous for being the leading cause of death of Marines stationed in the US.

So we have a very pretty, but relatively harmless reptile - and a fast and deadly motorcycle.

What happens when we put them together? I'll show you tomorrow!

TEASER ALERT!

Yes, my friends I've got an announcement for YOU!

While I'm not a liberty to reveal anything YET - stay tuned to this channel!

Here is your first hint!

This is a color variation of an albino Burmese Python

Monday, September 26, 2011

Are Indie Books Winding Down? - Maybe So

Since I'm in the middle of writing my 3rd novel 'Tempest in a Teapot' I've not had the time for blogging. I've seen quite a bit that I want to comment on.

Indie Publishing

Some say it's the industry's first shake down - others 'just another summer slow season.' What you see depends on who you are.

I think it is a trend.

The Word on the Indie boards is that sales are very slow. Many Indies are talking about packing it up. Other's are throwing their books into the Dollar Dreadful Ghetto just to bump some numbers.

There are, of course, hundreds of newbies for every 'dropout.' Alas for the Indies - back-list continues to appear. So readers are picking up their favorite authors.

It's not just Dean Wesley Smith, Kristine Katherine Rusch, Bob Mayer and Andre Jute dusting off their old books. It's EVERYONE with a lick of sense and a few out-of-print published books in storage.

It is the law of supply and demand in action. When there wasn't a supply of 'known' authors, the 'un-known' did very well for themselves. Now with the flood of 'name' authors with new and back-listed titles the average Indie is not able to compete.

This may well lead to the deepening of the pool of  Dollar Dreadful e-books. If Indie books aren't able to compete on the level playing field with quality, cheap prices may be all they have.

The Christmas Season

The Christmas Season looms - millions of i-Pads, Kindles, Kindle-tablets, Nooks, Color Nooks, mini-Nooks, Sony readers packed with Harry Potter books, and the stalwart Kobo are waiting to be shipped to stores for Black Friday.

I predict that Black Friday will be the big sales boost to e-books as it always is for retail. It might take a week for it to echo out, but that is the day for every Indie to hold out for.

Enjoy it, my friends, because it's going to be the last hurrah for the Indie Author.

This next wave of sales is going to signal the end of the Indie Author Boom. By this time next year there will more back-list titles than Indie titles. That will the end of the Indie 'Revolution' because the supply of back-list will meet the demands of readers.

The Indie market will pop, like all bubbles.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Killing the Sacred Cows - One Got Away

I pulled up my RSS feed yesterday - wondering what I was going to find in Dean Wesley Smith's folder.

It was an installment of 'Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing' - I rubbed my hands together with glee. Then I noticed it was the AGENT Myth.

I dropped every thing  I was doing to read it.
Series Note: I am now working on updating each chapter and putting together this book, finally, after over 100,000 words that started back in 2009. So I am updating each chapter and putting it up here now for those who have not seen them.   

However, since I started this series, agents and what they are doing in publishing has changed dramatically. In fact, things have changed so dramatically since I started this book concerning agents, I am not, repeat, not going to include the agent posts as reprints here.
Why? Can’t stomach it is why...
I understand that. I can't stomach the propaganda any more myself.

For me, as I said many, many times - it started with #QueryFail. My first, and I hope my last, glimpse into the mind of the Slush Pile Bees - who ridiculed and sneered their way into my brain forever.

They had nothing but contempt for the people who created their jobs. It was a level of unprofessionalism that I've never seen before - and I've seen some very bad shit.

However, DWS had some really good advice:

My Suggestion of What to DoThe publishing business is changing so fast and so quickly, I doubt agents will be of value to most writers in two years.So just do it yourself for two years.
It has changed. Agents have gone from being the God-like Gatekeepers to being con-wo/men who will take your money for something you can do better yourself - like self-publish.

I'm slowly working my way backwards from a global marketing campaign to a local one. Just like my friends at Year Zero, I'm going ahead with readings on the local level, while having the books out globally.

To that end, I will be reading part of 'Swallow the Moon' at Moonlight Serenity Bath Products the second Saturday in October.

Unfortunately, I won't have any paperback books to sell. But I might be able to collect email addresses so I can send out notice when I have them.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Hate Math – Here's Why

The dreaded science of Mathematics again raises it's ugly head as Dean Wesley Smith makes the case for the $4.99 Indie Novel. 


Good GAD! The Indie roof may fall in. The culture of the 'Dollar Dreadful' has become entrenched - so I doubt even DWS's persuasive voice can be heard above the din. The pressure to sell low is difficult to resist when you're head is in the Indie Ghetto. There it's all about numbers. Selling 1k books gets you into the '1k Sales a Month Club' and $350 in royalties. But if you raise your price to $2.99 you can make $2050.

Dean's got a heck of a point.

Add up the cost of rent, electricity, Internet and add the day-to-day cost of living - $.35 an e-book just doesn't cut it for anyone except a hobby writer or someone with a 'Comet' type book. There are 'Comets' out there – but they appear to be burning out.

Even for a hobby writer - cover art and a copy editor can set you back $300 to $500 per book. You must sell 1430 books at $.99 to pay back a $500 investment. Maybe you don't mind. But for the low-end that's not a lot of payback at $.99. More reasonable is selling 245 books at $2.99 to pay back that $500 in vestment.

Something is wrong when you see a $.99 sale and cringe inside. 

To be comfortable in my own skin, I've got 'Let's Do Lunch' for sale at $3.50 and 'Swallow the Moon' is $4.95 therefore 'Impressive Bravado' a short story is $.99.

These prices are fair in the Real World.

In the Indie Ghettos these prices are very high. At this point you have to ask yourself - to whom am I marketing this e-book? Ghetto mentality comes from a culture. Every forum has a culture – every social network has a culture. The culture of the Dollar Dreadful is deeply entrenched in the Indie Ghettos.

The reasoning behind the Dollar Dreadful.

The Indie Ghetto is a mishmash of newbie writers with skill levels that vary so wildly that 'established writers' blow up about them on a regular basis. In this Goodreads.com forum, called 'Robust' member Larry started this topic: Wannabees Threaten E-Book Market Growth.
"ARRGH! My hope is that EBooks will prove to be the salvation for all the authors that turn out quality books, but failed to meet the marketing parameters of traditional publishers at any given moment. BUT...

That potential could easily be destroyed by wannabees who have no idea of plot structure, grammar, punctuation or genre guidelines. For those who haven't a clue, each genre has certain parameters that must be followed in order to appeal to faithful readers. Those who fail to do so risk a monumental waste of time by producing an unsaleable work. If that were the only problem, it wouldn't matter, but it's not the biggest problem.
He's looked at the Dollar Dreadful and has nearly blown a gasket. I have nothing but empathy for Larry on one hand – and utter outrage at his arrogance on another. Some of what he says is true.

"The wannabees feel they don't have to conform to the well-established genre guidelines. Guidelines that have evolved over decades to meet the demands of readers rather than the plot structure whims of wannabees who are endeavoring to create anarchy out of a respected profession that stems to the days of Homer and beyond."

True – the average Dollar Dreadful is a book that doesn't fit within Genre Guidelines. But, to be fair, it is damn hard to find said Guidelines in print anywhere besides on Harlequin or a related site.

Where he starts annoying me is the part about 'evolved over decades' which implies that the mysterious Literature Fairy has made them Sacred. NEVER to be changed.
What REALLY chaps my tush is 'a respected profession that stems from the days of Homer and beyond.' Obviously, Larry wasn't online for '#queryfail – when agents heaped ridicule and scorn upon the writers' custom crafted queries.

When the gatekeepers hate you, you are NOT being respected. So, unfortunately, your Ivory Tower of Sacred Literature falls apart – from within. This is where the rebellion began, with sneering slush-pile bees guarding publishers in their Ivory Towers.

The oldest professions aren't respected.

The pulp fiction tradition is that of the fresh and different. Yes, it's not yet 200 years old, that's because it is the product of fast printing and cheap paper. Or in this case – no paper. Like the Penny Dreadful of the last century or so – the Dollar Dreadful has its place in pop-culture – not in Art & Literature.

So what does this have to do with pricing? I'm not sure. I've digressed from self-publishing to self-worth. Maybe it's because I'm a newbie – trying to break out of the Indie Ghetto. But I see the Dollar Dreadful as springing from the compost of literary bullshit, into the arms of pop-culture who is embracing it.

Money talks!

PS – Buy my book, 'Swallow the Moon.' It is a kick-ass ghost story – filled with creepy, scary moments that will make you shiver – and a couple of sizzling scenes that will warm you back up.

Swallow the Moon – Profile Page with sample chapters and links.


Thinking About Local Markets

It's a small world - in many ways the Internet has made the world much smaller. My e-friends are scattered all over the globe. The readers of this blog are everywhere. (Which may be a blessing and a problem when the Great Migration takes place.)

I've been concentrating on marketing to e-reader owners all over. I've had some success, the numbers are trending up. What I haven't done is look to my own backyard for readers.

Now that I'm on the Square, things look different. I have hundreds of people I can see and talk to, face to face. People I never thought of as my customers, but who would be interested in a book written about a local restaurant. I've done no outreach to them at all.

Last weekend I did a sales push. I talked to a dozen people FtF and sent out many tweets and re-tweets. I even dropped a Smashwords code on Twitter to see if anyone would pick up the book.

I sold 4 books - and I know who I sold them to - FtF customers.

I wasted an enormous amount of time tweeting and re-tweeting. Time I could have spent talking to people who live around here. The shear volume of tweets ensures that some will be missed - unless you sit with the software open and read EVERY tweet.

The MAIN drawback: Twitter is just another Indie Writer's Ghetto.

I had nearly 200 followers in a couple of weeks - they were all other writers or services geared to writers.

Except the Restaurant software company who advertised 'The Best POS' software. That cracked me up!

Twitter is pushed as a marketing tool - some people say it is THE Marketing Tool of the 21st Century. Everyone has an agenda - and expects others to get in line.

Frak that - I've got more work to do that I can handle already. Learning yet another fast-paced culture is too much of a pain to do right now.

The Kindle and Nook boards are filled with people who push the Dollar Dreadful - which is a wonderful thing for readers on a budget. But quality varies radically from book to book. The downward pressure on prices has made it nearly impossible to sell a book on those boards at a reasonable price.

But for the locals - $3.50 for 'Let's Do Lunch' was a BARGAIN. Even $4.95 for 'Swallow the Moon' was welcomed as a reasonable price for an interesting story.

Every writer is different - we must all play to our strengths. So for now, I will look to the local FtF marketplace for my readers.

While I'm doing that - I'm going to be re-building my web platform. (Re-building or refining? Not sure, taking it to the next logical level for sure.)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Stepping Up

Marketing is a strange business.

I've been trying to form a marketing plan - and I find that I've got a couple of pieces missing.

These aren't large pieces, but they have made my marketing efforts piecemeal, instead of straight forward and seamless. I've got books here and there, this blog, Face Book, Twitter, myspace, wordpress, Goodreads AND the books.

So putting up a webpage, which I can do myself, would be a tremendous hassle. (Yeah, just what I need, another item on my already-full plate.) I can't imagine trying to sit down and do 15 or 20 hours of coding on top of the Uttter Chaos my Real Life has become.

So, I need a splash page, or a web-site of some sort to get all this organized so people can find my books and my links all in one place.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The "Luridly Controversial" K. A. Jordan

Found on Goodreads Robust thread: The Nastiness of the Boards and Genre Dominated by Women.
"Have you seen Kat Jordan's luridly controversial analysis of the nastiness of the boards and genre dominated by women?"

OMG - here we go!

I have been outed - once and for all time - by the 'Man of All Trades' Andre Jute. (In case you are asking "Andre who?" here is the link to his 'Cool Main Press.') and a short bio.

Andre Jute was trained as an economist and a psychologist at various universities of erstwhile sound reputation. He’s been in and out of publishing all his life as a writer, typographer, editor, publisher and management advisor. Copyright © Andre Jute 2011

It is hardly lurid! I'm not stupid enough to insult the entire female gender for the sins of a few Queen Bees. The problem is that I understand them in a left-brained fashion that sounds godawful.
It started innocently enough.

Andre wrote this little number: 'Have the "Luvvies*" Taken Over Books?' Where he (unfairly to my mind) skewered a post by Stacia Kane Being Published Changes Everything.
(I'm sorry, the train of thought leads us to a large number of links.)

Stacia Kane said this:

“The fact is, when you decide to become a writer you give up some of your personal freedoms. When you sell your first book you give up even more. There’s no getting around that, and there’s no changing it. You can no longer say exactly what you think exactly the way you think it at all times. You can no longer assume that only the people you’re familiar with are reading your blog or your tweets. You no longer have the luxury of an opinion, honestly, on a lot of things.”

To boil this down into the nutshell of Internet ManSpeak: "Drink the damn Kool-ade and shut the frak up."

I agree with her, 100% percent. There is just one problem with this - I can't do it. Never have been able to.

So when Jute replied: "That’s a state of affairs that should embarrass anyone who calls himself a writer.

A writer is an intellectual.

The best intellectuals are measured by the number and stature of their enemies.

A writer, and particularly a novelist, is simply not worth the name if she creeps around fearing she’ll offend an agent — and agent! a sales representative! — or some other thin-skinned writer incapable of debating points robustly." 

I thought then (and think now) he was working from a Male Dominated industrial model that is as obsolete as the Literary Fiction culture of the 1960's. (Which did produce genius like Harlan Ellison, a man who still measures himself by the number and stature of his enemies.)
Today's Trade Publishing culture is different. 
"In a Female dominated business – ‘Fitting In Without Making Waves’ is a requirement. Otherwise the rest of the ‘tribe’ turns on the interloper and refuses to let her in. 

Alpha Males will work together with common goals, they growl and snarl at each other and are okay with that.

Queen Bees kill their rivals."

Look at Mary W. Walter's "Talent Killers" post that got her permanently blacklisted by ALL agents. Of course she's Indie now - but at the time it was one of those "You Will Never Work In The Publishing Industry Again" events. (My link to her blog goes RIGHT to that post.)

I'll bet that men like Jute and Ellison inslutted  (my slip is showing) insulted people right and left, only to work with them a year or so later. (Well, maybe not in Jute's case - rumor has it there were Hit Squads after him.)

The point is two men can fight and be friends ever after. Two women fight and it is poison in the Kool-ade. To quote Kane again: "I hate to sound like a bitch here, but why should I help you, in that case?"

If the story had been "The Empress's New Clothes" it would have ended with the entire village put to death to save face.

That's a fact, Jack! - I mean Jute.

Ms Kitty

Here's a link started by some poor soul who should have just drank the fraking kool-ade.

OH MY - Look who popped up just before the thread got shut down. (Gales of Giggles.)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Impressive Bravado" - Horse Mystery

Allow me to introduce Dr. Katie McCarty - fresh out of Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine. She has her first 'real' practice as part of "White Horse Haven Clinic."

Dr. Katie McCarty DVM, is called in to assess the 'mutilation' of a horse. She finds a crazy woman who calls herself a 'Horse Whisperer' running a barn full of teen-aged girls and young stallions. This is a recipe for disaster - luckily Dr. McCarty's there when it strikes.

I don't know why I haven't announced the release of this short story. I just noticed that many of the little links and fussy little things I did to promote the others has simply not been done for this.

Click here for 'Impressive Bravado' on Smashwords

Click here for 'Impressive Bravado' on Kindle.

Click here for 'Impressive Bravado' on Barnes and Nobel.