Posts Tagged ‘short story’

BBB review & banner-2I – like I’m sure every other indie author does – checks his ranking on Amazon and the reviews on Goodreads. Every two weeks or so I record the numbers to see how they compare to the quarterly sales numbers. Usually the correlation is pretty obvious. Every so often when checking you open the page to find your ranking has shot up. A little pay back for the social media work, and hopefully some word of mouth sales.rank kid

This morning was one of those mornings.rankprize

Boy was it. 

On the 21 of the month my anthology, Blondes, books, & Bourbon, was ranked just over the 1000 mark in the category of ‘Anthologies & Short Stories’ as well as ‘Magic Realism’. Today it is number 365 in’Anthologies & Short Stories’ and 384 in ‘Magic Realism’. That’s a big difference. Now Amazon’s ranking algorithm is not always the most…trustworthy. That’s why I check every day but only record the the number once every two weeks – unless there is a whooping big change. The fluctuations of a couple hundred don’t mean much – but this sort of change is usually indicative of something.

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The anthology was very well received and got great reviews – especially for a collection of just my short stories after only one novel in that world, Tomorrow Wendell, having been released.

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A lot of people have said that although they usually hate short stories – they liked Blondes, Books, & Bourbon, even better than the novel.BBB review & banner 5Hopefully word of mouth really is getting out and about. It would be nice to have people actually, actively,  awaiting the release of the second novel, Bindings & Spines. Having fans is rather awesome… better really than the money.

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rejection-letterThese past few days I’ve been getting strong signals from my Muse. I have a short story set in my White Dragon Black world that is a good 60% there, which has a strong actual ‘detective’ feel to it. I’ve been hoping for another of those as I’m longing to to submit to the ‘The Strand Magazine’. They are a long running detective magazine that says they take paranormal. I don’t know if I’d get in, but it would be nice to write something that has a firm enough detective vibe to submit. I’m not the sort to wilt under rejection; better a rejection from such a long standing magazine than a ‘never know’.

zombie-house1I am also getting more of the zombie novel I started, and I think it might have to come out of my skull before any further WDB novels do. I even have something I never had before – meat for the ending. There is a travel component to the tale… an almost quest like story of getting to a house. I never knew why before. I knew it was the protagonists parents house, I even knew they had died a bit before the outbreak but I never knew just why my protagonist wanted to go there. They would have to pass a lot of other places that would, in truth, be just as good, or maybe better, than this house he was gunning for. Just the other day, as I was driving (when many a revelation or inspiration hits), my Muse showed me the why. I got the moment in my soul, saw the scene, and understood. It isn’t really surprising to me. I knew that, dotted throughout the story, had to be snippets of his old life, memories and the like. But now I understand, and I love it. It is both sentimental and twisted. It makes you call into question all that happens during the trip, and yet… and yet, if I write it just so, it will touch the heart.

Writers-BlockBoth of these sound pretty good, right? Two projects to delve into – and I can, in fact, write a short while writing a novel. I should already have aching finger tips, and an extra numb ass!  So why don’t I? Because my brain is dumb!

I’m rearing to go, got the material, got the connection to my muse, and yet… when I open the screen to write, my brain freezes up, pulls in on itself, and stubbornly shakes it’s head.
Stupid brain.

I’m not sure if I should be gentle and slowly try to ease it towards letting words trickle out, hoping the trickle becomes a flood, or if I should bludgeon it with a sledgehammer until it cracks and gets swept aside under the sudden deluge of creativity.

I just have to hope my Muse is patient with me, and understands that it is my fault I’m not writing.

To promote or not to promote?

If so…When? Where? How? How often?FB Cover_seal_small

These are the questions that an indie author faces.

Do I have the answer?

Hell no!

Before my anthology, ‘Blondes, Books, & Bourbon‘, came out, I was going to be attending the Ad Astra Toronto Convention. To promote my work, I printed up business cards with a scan code. I passed out these cards to any and all who would take one. My hope? That people would, in fact, download and read my work. From this, I hoped whatever number did take advantage of the offer, a portion of those would enjoy the stories enough to purchase, ‘Tomorrow Wendell‘, the novel set in the same universe.

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For almost a month before the convention I plugged hard – including mentioning about the free give away on any Ad Astra related site I could. I made pictures that had the book covers and quotes from reviewers and shuffled which ones I posted on Facebook and Twitter every day. I tried my hardest to both be constantly in the faces of anyone who might see these posts and yet find a line where I kept them engaged in the posts without just being the same ‘billboard’ over, and over, as they drove down the street. Because lets face it…there are thousand of such billboard lining the social media highway and it is too easy to be jaded, even to the things you love.

What was the result? Well, there was a definite sales upswing during that period recorded on my quarterly report. The question is – was it worth it? I spent many hours tailoring these posts, and responding to posts, and working hard to get people to seriously think about purchasing my books. It was not something I would really want to do 365 days a year… nor do I think I could, while maintaining any sanity or time to write. It was nice to see what appeared to be a direct correlation from the work to the sales – but it was also a bit disheartening because I knew I could’t keep it up.

So if ngamblingot time invested to bump sales, what about money? Answer? I don’t have enough of it to find out. I suppose I could horde all profits from sales until I have enough to pay some decent agency/group to promote me and then after a year compare sales… but I have other uses for that money. I guess maybe I’m just not a gambler at heart.

I used to write for the love of writing and because I had to get the damn voices in my head to shut up. Recording them was the only way to do it. I still try to do it for the love of the plot, characters, and the simple joy of creating a world from words, but the pay-check – big or small – it changes that. No matter how hard I try, my brain slips to the business side. Should I be spending more time on social media – more sites, more clever promotion gambits? What am I doing wrong – what did I do right?

It’s no wonder writers are so often considered to be insane… the job drives us there. I have no answer except one – write for the love. I’m going to try my hardest to follow my own advice on this but, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, even this post is a promotion. ~sigh~

I have been trying to edit a minimum of one chapter a day in the next White Dragon Black novel, ‘Bindings and Spines’. I am secretly aiming at two a day, but not beating myself up if I only get one done.

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The release date from Xchyler Publishing for ‘Bindings & Spines’ is in October – not a bad month to release a paranormal novel about magic books and the undead – and so there really is a decent amount of time to work on the edits. I like to get all my responsibilities regarding getting the novel ready for print completed, as early as I can though. I know my editor feels the same as I do, so the sooner I get through these last few chapters, the sooner we can start working together to do the final polish on the novel so it can be published.

Speaking of publishing and books, I got a nice little surprise this morning . . .

5 stars “This anthology is the first book I have read in the White Dragon Black series. I instantly liked the main character Jonathan Alvey and soon became fascinated in his extraordinary life.”

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Yup, another positive review of ‘Blondes, Books & Bourbon’ . That is just the sort of inspiration I like while I’m editing. It gives me the confidence to believe that this work will just as well received.

The next thing I need to work on the truck. Poor Vera has glow plug issues, so I ‘m replacing  all the plugs and the entire relay system. It is a bit pricey but I will know everything is working the way it should. We are travelling a lot more now that we are in the ‘Society for Creative Anachronism’ once again and without working glow plugs were are shortening the life of the starter (all ready a ‘weak point’ in the trucks system) by having to crank it longer than it should be to turn over. So I go get the part today – and probably put it in tomorrow.

Speaking of the S.C.A., I’m going to start carving into the rings I’m making today. I’ve felt real hesitation on doing so because the image I want to create (in triplicate around the surface) is a bit complicated and will be tricky on such a small surface. I won’t have much room for correcting errors, so I’ve been very leery of committing, but I want these rings made so…
I also have almost wrapped up making my copper interpretation of an extant piece.

Latchet copper

It is known as a ‘latchet’ and found only in early period Ireland. The ‘fun’ thing is that no one seems to quite know how they were used. So I will be giving it to my friend who does early Irish in the SCA and she can fiddle about trying to understand how they were used. It will give her a shiny, pretty, thing to wear, and give her hands on research into understanding her adopted culture–not just the piece but the clothes. Figuring out how this was used, could tell her a lot about the garments worn with it. I really think I need to make her at least one more though for her to really play. All in good time, I guess.

So there’s my world in a nutshell – Not too much to complain about and more than one thing to feel good about. I hope your day is much the same.

I haven’t been writing much these past few weeks, as I’ve said, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been picking at the flesh of the stories already started.  Last night, I get into bed relishing the fact that it is finally warm enough that I can sleep unencumbered by clothing. I no sooner lay my head down, and my Muse sends me a postcard from wherever it is she’s off vacationing. What is this notice about? It seems it may be the key to unlock the plot snafu of a certain short story. What do I do? What every good author does – get out of bed and head for the computer.

So there I am, happy to be possibly working out this issue, happy to be out putting words, happy I’m not freezing to death in my birthday suit. I know, an image none of you wanted in your head, but it made me happy. It’s nice to not have to put on layers just to get out of bed and do anything. There is a freedom and ability to be spontaneous.

ShadesAndShadows_Cover_full-resbigcoverLLAnyway – I only wrote 450 words or so, but I did write. At this point I’ll take every single word with joy. The bitter sweet part of this is that the story was started to be submitted to this years Xchyler’s paranormal anthology. So if I can work it out, it’s a little too late to be submitted. I feel strange about this as I first got a WDB story published in such an anthology, Shades and Shadows, and then was in the following years, Legends and Lore.

On a down side, my drive belt slipped off the tensioner pulley and shredded. I got a new belt – ouch, that wasn’t cheap – and put it on. I only ran the truck for roughly 30 seconds, and then stopped and checked out how the belt was sitting. It was half off the tensioner pulley and the next one in the route. Not good. So a couple hours of internet searching told me that I needed to swap out my tensioner unit – not good – but it did tell me how, which is good. Whether I can actually accomplish this feat is yet to be seen. The replacement part is ordered and should come in Tuesday, so that gives me some time to fight with it (which, hopefully, won’t actually be the case).

Maiden's Heart completed

In other news, I finished the jewelry piece I was working on, my wife’s maiden Heart, and am not entirely displeased with the outcome. Mostly, I wish that when I started it, way back when we were last playing in the SCA, that I hadn’t used epoxy to put it together. I am sort of on a kick now to do everything properly. I guess time has made me a purest. I do the same with my writing – I don’t make up monsters but work hard to find folktales and myths that have creatures that fit what I am looking for – more work, but more satisfaction.
I can now move on to one of the other projects I have in mind to do for our SCA life. I am making a ring for myself, and there is feast gear to make period and pretty, and a toothpick pomander for my wife. All of these will be made in a manner I can proudly show off, even if it means it takes longer to finish them.

I need to start going through the next White Dragon Black novel, Bindings & Spines, once again, to make sure it it as good as I can make it. I will soon be working with my editor, McKenna Gardener, at Xchyler Publishing to get it out into the world, and the more issues I can spot and repair myself the better for us both.

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Speaking of novel’s out in the world; my first, Tomorrow Wendell, just recently had a bounce up in the Amazon ratings. It shot up from 768 684 on Wednesday to 116 252 on Friday. It is now slowly sinking again, but this is the second spike it has had since the Ad Astra Con. This makes me hope that maybe, just maybe, people actually downloaded the free version of the anthology, Blondes, Books, & Bourbon, and not only enjoyed it, but enjoyed it enough to get my novel.

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So all in all, I can’t complain about where life has me situated right now. Taking each day in stride, and trying not to worry and stress about tomorrow.