Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Book Two Blues

First off, I didn't intend for any of my stories to turn into series books when I first wrote them.  Not the initial ones anyway.  Dying Embers?  Nope.  Wish in One Hand?  Nope.  Definitely not Accidental Death.  But I had such a wonderful reaction to all three of those that I found a way to make a series out of them. 

And without fail, the second book's sales tanked.  The 'Once Upon a Djinn' series as a whole did better once I finished the series, but In Deep Wish still runs behind.  Fertile Ground (SCIU) has only sold in the double digits.  And in the year since it's publication, Natural Causes (A Dennis Haggarty Mystery) has sold exactly 14.65 copies.  And that includes the one I sold during this sale I have going on. 

Not sure what the dealie-bob is.  Part of it is marketing, I guess.  I have no clue how to market a second book.  Do I pay for ads for the second book when I have no way of knowing whether any of those ads will have touched the people who bought the first book?  And I really have no clue how to get the second book out there in front of all the people who bought the first book, so they'll buy it, too. 

Part of it, also, is probably that these are the second books with no third book out there.  For the SCIU series, the wait for a third book will be over shortly when Early Grave hits the market.  The Dennis Haggarty series?  I have to write the third book before I can give anyone a firm date on when it'll be released. 

Thinking about it now, it's probably mostly the fact that I didn't intend for any of those initial stories to becomes series.  The people who read book 1 didn't have a clue I'd be putting out subsequent books, so they don't know to look for them.  Maybe if I'd been more on the ball back then, I'd have a better reception now. 

Oh, hell, it could be any number of things.  I have no clue.  But that doesn't stop me from running on the hamster wheel trying to figure out the answer.  The Book Two Blues... It's a thing.

And now, back to book three.  Early Grave only needs one last crutch word scoured out - JUST - and then I can send it to AWE.  Today.  Good lord willin' and the crick don't rise.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Shaking Things Up A Bit

I'm in the process of making a couple changes.  Yeah, yeah, I don't like change either, but sometimes we have to change things or they die.  In order to keep that from happening, I am doing two things:

1)  I changed the cover for Blink of an I again.  And this time it's more than just a color change.  I redid the whole damn thing, in hopes it will be more 'dystopian novel' than 'non-fiction, possibly textbook'.  It's still indigo.  It's just... well... here, you look at it...

I'm pretty proud of it, so if you don't like it, keep it to yourself, eh?  Still not sure if it's right, per se, but it's closer to right than the last one.  Anyway, that's Mary and in the background, the steps to Russell's shop.  I was gonna do a bridge, but I couldn't make it work right.  :shrug:

2)  I'm renaming Blood Flow.  When everything is said and done, it will be Project Hermes.  Just a new name.  The text inside, the cover (for the most part)... everything else will be the same.  The change should be pretty easy with Amazon.  With Createspace?  Well, I've read that it's a pain in the buns, but I think the re-titling is necessary to shift readers' minds to thinking this is what it is - a political / medical suspense, so there ya are. 

I've been dragging my feet on the renaming thing for like two years now.  Seriously.  I had the name picked out when I shifted the original cover to it's current incarnation, I just didn't have the cajones to make the switch.  I grew a set and got over it.

Fingers crossed both of these changes will lead to better sales.  Can't hurt, eh?

Speaking of sales, Accidental Death and Natural Causes.   Since AD is free and NC is 99c, you could get both.  Jus' sayin'.

Friday, March 16, 2018


The other day I saw a post to one of the FB groups I follow that went sorta like this: "Hi.  My name is... And I just got a deal with a big publisher.  My problem is I don't have the money they're asking for, so I was hoping you'd help out.  Here's a link to my GoFundMe page."  I went to the page, just for shits and giggles, and he'd already raised $250. 

Now, we can look at this two ways and neither of them are good. 

One:  He's an honest dude who is about to get screwed royally by his 'big publisher', because real publishers don't require you to pay them.  And he's already gotten $250 for the scam publisher. 

Two:  He's a scam artist who doesn't need any money for any big publisher, but he's gotten people to give him money already.

Either way, we need to be smarter about all this.  Now, I know my regular visitors and commenters are already too wise to fall for this.  Those of you just stopping by, don't get taken by this stuff. 

I know writers who've been in the query machine for too long might be reaching a level of desperation akin to being the awkward girl at the dance.  She'll dance with ANYONE who asks her, whether they smell or step on her feet or might possibly slip her a Mickey Finn and make off with her in the night.  Desperation is a killer.  Just say no.

Then I see another post to another group tonight and it's some dude with only one friend hinting that he might be a publisher who might be looking for new authors to publish.  Except he fucked up and used the wrong tense in his pimpage post.  Red flag alert for me.  And for one commenter.  But there were at least three other authors who commented, acting like that awkward girl looking for a dance.  :heavy sigh:

Before you get screwed, evaluate your own writing.  If it's better than what you are buying from the bookstores, start looking into self-publishing.  If people who aren't your besties or your family are telling you your work is awesome and wondering why no one's snapped you up yet, look into self-publishing.  SELF-publishing.  Not 'give some guy a bunch of money to publish your book for you'.  Find a reputable editor.  Get an honest and reasonable cover artist (or do it yourself, if you're so inclined).  Get the book formatted.  And upload it into the world.  Do your homework.  (The optimum word being 'work'.)  Do it right and do it yourself.  It'll cost some money, but all of that money will be going to actually getting your book out there in the world so readers can buy it.  It won't be going into some asshole's pocket.

DO NOT fall for these scamalamdingdongs. 

And for petesakes, don't donate money to anyone's publishing journey until and unless you know for sure whether they're getting scammed or they're scamming you. 

'Nuff said.  Any questions?

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

Facing Rejection and Running Away

One would think that because I don't have to query anymore, I'd be past that whole rejection thing.  Umm, right.  I still have to submit my books, but not to get them published anymore.  Now I have to submit them to get them noticed. 

I'm talking about advertising.  You don't just get to send these people money and they'll put your books in their marketing whatevers (newsletters, FB posts, tweets, websites, etc.)  Nope, you submit your book and then wait for them to tell you whether your book is good enough to appear under their logo. 

So, sitting here over the weekend, thinking about the sale I'll be having on the Dennis Haggarty books, I went through the list of advertising venues I have.  This one already rejected Accidental Death twice.  So did that one.  That one would probably accept AD, but they're really expensive for free books.  This one might accept AD, but they wouldn't accept NC because NC has too few reviews.  That one might accept both, but previous ads with them have been lackluster.  And then there are the ones who make you pay up front and then reject you - returning your money afterwards, of course, but that's always a pain in the buns.

I ended up not making the jump to advertising with any of them.  I ran away.  I'm rejection averse. I'm also averse to spending money that doesn't give me an equal or better return.  Without ads, though, sales are non-existent. 

Anyway, I pretty much did the same things when I was querying.  I'd send out a bunch of queries, get rejected across the board, and then not want to query anymore.  Then, when I finally got the courage up again, I'd avoided certain agents who were particularly reject-y-ful.  Run away, run away. 


Damned if I do, damned if I don't.  I'm not sure what the answer is.  I'll probably blitz the FB groups, tweet a bit, and hope for the best.  At least I won't be spending money that way.

Friday, March 9, 2018


First off, you heard it here first - Accidental Death will be free worldwide from the 19th thru the 23rd and Natural Causes will be on sale for 99c or .99p (US / UK) from the 19th thru the 15th.  If you haven't read them yet, wait until then, pick up both, and save almost $5 off the usual cover price.  The links are over there ----------->

I'm still dragging my feet on Early Grave's edits.  It's not them.  They're fine.  It's me.  When I have the time, I can't muster the will.  And when I muster the will, I can't seem to do more than one chapter before I'm just tired of it.  This will pass.  And I'm not ready to thrown in the towel yet and move my deadline.  I suspect it's just the winter blahs hitting me late in the season this year.  Perhaps it's a bit of everything else going on in my life and my brain is toast.  Or maybe I'm just making excuses for my lazy ass. 

I'm stuck in the loop of pondering how much pimping of my own books on social media is too much.  I know I get annoyed when I see the same author constantly linking to their book in my newsfeed.  Six, seven, eight status updates in the same day?  And I know it's because they're posting to their own pages, plus to all of the groups I belong to, but come on.  It's overloading my nerves.  Then again, if you don't post to all the groups, you might miss a potential sale.  It's a balancing act.  And I suck at those.

Cover doubt is currently assailing me, too.  I loved Blink's cover.  Now I'm kind of hating it.  Bleh.  And I suspect it's making me hate some of my other covers now, too.  Bastard.  I just need to chill the hell out.

I really need to go fishing and blow air through my gaskets.  I'm mentally clogged.  Maybe tomorrow.  Until then, one foot in front of the other.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

All on Me.

Just so you don't think self-publishing is all happy faces and balloons, because it's not, let's talk about a less than stellar aspect of it...

It's all on you.

There's no one else to motivate your butt.  If you get up in the morning feeling like something someone scraped off their shoe, you can take the day off, but the work still needs to be done.  If other commitments crop up, the deadlines are still there.  Sure, they're self-imposed deadlines, but once you mention them out loud and in public, they're set in stone deadlines.  Mostly readers don't give two hoots in hell whether you had a rough time of it.  They care that you moved your publication date and now they'll have to wait however long to get the book you promised would be available to them on X date.

If your editing is poor, you can't point to a publisher and say 'they did this to me'.  (Same goes with cover art.)  You did it.  Or didn't do it, as the case may be.  All of the shit is, and should be, heaped upon your shoulders.

With all the control comes all the responsibilities of making sure all of this works.  And sometimes it sucks.

Way back in 2015, I had a craptastic cover.  I was kind of backed into a corner because I'd paid all that money and I had already promised the book would be out on a certain day so no time to put together a new cover.  (I really would've been better off with a brown paper bag than what I had.)  But as much as I am wont to whine about it, I chose the artist, I chose to pay him upfront, and I chose not to delay the book's release until I could give it a cover that didn't suck.  All on me.

Sometimes I wish I could hand all this off to someone else and say 'here, you be responsible for it', but that's only when I'm really tired*.  And there are days when I feel like a charcoal briquet I'm so burned out.

But there really isn't time for that either.  It's all on me - success or failure, hitting a deadline or missing a deadline, thrilling readers or disappointing them.  Personally, I prefer the former to all of those, so I quit whining and keep working.

*I am not really tired right now.  I wrote this post this morning as a balance to Monday's post. Okay, so I'm a little tired.  But there's always coffee.  I will hit this deadline if I have to stay up nights doing it.