Category Archives: FUN

99 cents doesn't undervalue me

Amazon Kindle 2

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Since going free on the kindle Second Chance Romance has  been downloaded a lot. The other two are selling well.

I almost regret not being totally obscure anymore. I feel like people are watching me now. Whereas before I used it as a way to hone my craft.

I’m only making 35% on each sale via Amazon.

Some people would argue that I should raise my prices to 2.99 and get the 70%. But, I’m not going to.

Artists are not entitled to a certain amount of money. No one is. I am not in this for the money. No writer can start out that way. I write because I love it. I have to write. I may even submit to a publisher someday. My books may be the best example of indie work is sub-par.

At least I’m giving it a shot. I am evolving and growing.

If my had not gone Free, I would have been sitting at 50 sales a month give or take. After the initial blitz I still might fall back to that.

Any money I get from this is gravy. Most writers say they can’t make it as ONLY a writer. I’m reading Hugh MacLoed’s book “Ignore Everyone” and he says “artists” have 2 jobs: their creative, fun job and a job that pays the bills.

I’ve heard the argument that if you sell your book for .99 it’s undervaluing the work you did. Your work is worth more than 99 cents. There was hours and hours.

To one person my book might be worth $5 or $10 or $20. To someone who doesn’t like romance, it’s not worth the energy and bandwidth it would take to download my book to their e-reader. To me, no book is worth $20. I will never buy a hardcover.

When you buy a physical book, you aren’t paying the author for their time. The publishing house did that already, now they’ll get a kickback for letting a publishing house licence their words to someone else. (Publishing is a really messed up system if you really look at it). When you buy a hardcover the author’s portion is like 15%. Puh-leaze.

99 cents isn’t undervaluing myself. Readers don’t want to pay 2.99 for an unknown with three books out. When I have 10 releases, when I have an established platform, I can charge $5 if I want.

I don’t have an established platform. I’m not writing material that is really popular (paranormal). My heart is not there. My heart right now is in these hockey novels. After that, i have an idea that I’ve had for a long time (I got it while I was working on Summer Fling) for a paranormal type. I am in love with the idea, but I had to do the hockey first.

I am not saying all new self-published author’s should release their books at 99 cents. I’m not saying it’s bad to list your first book at 2.99 or 4.99. If it’s right for you, go for it. I have thought about this for a long time. Under 2.99 is what I think is a fair price.

As for free, the turn around in downloads and sales has explained to me that free really does work. My next plan is finish my last of three short stories I have for free and bundle them for the Kindle. Maybe four short stories, I have a Up in Flames short story regarding SPOILER. Can’t tell you yet.

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On getting better

Having fun and not being the best does not mean I am happy with my current level of profiency.

I recently put Colours of the Rain up for critique at Critique Circle.

I feared putting up something on Critique Circle. I didn’t want to hear “you suck, quit writing.” I feared that was the truth.

The feedback has been good. And helpful. Overwhelmingly helpful, I’m not sure where to start. Only one thing said I didn’t agree with. Which was that the starting scene shouldnt’ be there. But it’s the tie in to the title of the story, so I can’t cut it. But I have a better way to tie it in.

The good is that I don’t tell, I do show most of the time. What I’ve not shown was written when I was working out the characters etc. Good to know and something I couldn’t see. My characters are likeable. The plot is followable and enjoyable.

The bad is that a few typos. I tend to write “your welcome” instead of “you’re (you are) welcome”. I overuse WAS. It was, there was. Was, was was. I’ve been working on things so hard that when I write first drafts I worry about my use of WAS.

Does being imperfect mean I should have kept Colours of the Rain to myself?

No. I do have moments of panic when I worry that letting my imperfect writing will wreck my chances of being read as I get better.

Y’know what? The best authors in the world with legions of fans who support their every move and will claw your eyes out if you say something bad about them, these authors have readers who HATE them. A handful, a hundred.

Sure, it will deter some people.

Just as some people don’t shop at the Dollar store.

I don’t wholly want to infer that my writing is of bad quality. It doesn’t have the benefit of a $1,000/hr editor. But, some of those books aren’t worth the price you pay for them either. So …it’s not that bad of a metaphor. 99 cent book. Maybe you do get what you pay for.

I question the assumption that every written world there must be PERFECT. How much do computer companies get to charge for their software that crashes, freezes and is less than perfect? Why do we put up with the cost?

Publishing companies have taught us to expect it because they held the gate for many years. They said was good enough and what wasn’t. now the reader can decide. And I really don’t expect people to flock to my book and heap praise upon me because it’s the best thing ever written.

I know I limit my success due to the imperfection. I’m just refusing to stay in the shadows until I reach some goal. I’m putting my shit out there and a few people are reading it and liking it.

If in five years, I find that Colours of the Rain and Second Chance Romance and the rest of the imperfections are hurting my sales. I’ll dump the name. It’s not that hard to find another one. Especially when your entire premise is that you make shit up and people pay for your made up shit.

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Why you should be imperfect

I wrote a long post justifying my imperfection in my novels.

When what I wanted to say was this:

Imperfection is okay.

At least I’m out there letting people read my words. And while I let people read my attempts so far, I’m working getting better. Everyday.

I would rather have 100 people tell me my grammar isn’t perfect but my stories and characters are great (which all my feedback so far has said) than to have my novels sitting on my hard drive.

Writer’s have a great opportunity before us. We can write something and put it out there. Chances are at least one person will read it. Or we can sit with our thumbs up our butts and in 10 years look back with regrets.

My husband has a theory that when people feel crappy about hitting 30 or 40 it’s because they feel like they having accomplished enough. If you want to be an author, then be an author. If you want to start a business, do it. Whatever you want to do, you can do it.

Now is the time.

Not everyone can deal with my writing “mistakes”. Not everyone will like my writing. (If you buy something you don’t like there is a period in which you can get a refund from most retailers).

You know what? Not everyone likes Twilight or Harry Potter or whatever. A lot of people do. Should we deprive the world of them because one, a hundred, a thousand people don’t like them?

I won’t even go into the people who run around going “but who is checking on the quality?” Woe is me the sky is falling because someone published some crap. People have been publishing crap for ages.

Some people like the crap (Quentin Tarantino keeps making movies, I know a lot of people who live for the reality series the Bachelor save us from the world where love is a contest and bad writer’s get published by “the big six legacy publisher’s).

So I say, fuck everyone who demands perfection.

They might be people who are afraid of failure.

Failure and imperfection mean you are doing something. You are trying and you aren’t afraid to do things that might not work. I’m not suggesting that if you release a novel you edited yourself that you’ll be the next bestseller. Lower your expectations. You might not even pay your electricity bill for a summer month with the proceeds.

And people might give you crap for promoting the image that indies aren’t professionals.

We try to teach children not to worry about what other’s think about them. And then we are too afraid to try for our dreams because of what other people might think of us. do what you are afraid to do.

Releasing a book that has a misspelling or grammatical error is not a matter of life and death. No one is going to come to your door and yell at you. The grammar police may have a little tantrum in the corner. A reader or three might ask for refunds. (No one has asked for a refund of anything yet). But not following your dream can have a huge impact on your life.

No one can stop you from trying. Let’s see what happens when they see us coming.

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How I inspired myself

I have untold amounts of time to lay around. I practice attachment parenting (the co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, babywearing type) and he’s a very dependent sleeper. So I nurse him to sleep a few times a day. Which equates me laying around a lot.

I forgot to grab my book to read at nap time and my mind is very busy. As Summer McStravick says her mind is like “a little yappy dog that’s always on the go, yapping”. (That’s a paraphrase of her I can’t recall her exact words and since she said it on a podcast I don’t have a link). My mind is a “yappy dog” that never shuts up. I’m pretty sure I’m a little ADD, and I hate being unentertained.

So, on the note of Summer McStravick, she has this idea called Flowdreaming. Where you do a guided mediation with positive energy and emotions and thinking. It’s like positive thinking supercharged of sorts. Which equates with what I read in The Purpose of Your Life by Carol Adrienne where she says positive thinking isn’t just all happy thoughts, it’s setting your intention for the way you want to feel and going after that feeling.

Back to where I was lying around and my mind was yapping at me for some direction. I turned to my next hockey novel whic h I abandoned due to lack of feeling it. I abandoned the project I went to after that, because of my second Rule “No writing stuff that isn’t fun.” I wasn’t having fun. And I know the hockey thing is going to be good if I can unravel the characters. If I can fall in love with the characters.

So my mind said, if you aren’t in love with your characters, which characters are you in love with?”

I loved “Sleepless at Midnight” by Jacquie D’Alessandro . There are some great romantic scenes which are really hot. Really hot and swoon-worthy. I mean you want to be the heroine and have a hero who acts exactly like him. She is that lucky. I love the emotions between them. The tension. The way you want to grab them and scream “You love each other. Just get together already.” Except the conflict is out of their hands and they can’t be together, except they have to be because they love each other.

Anyway, I’m feeling all the happy feelings inside me.

And then my whole plot came into my brain. I’m so fucking excited to write it, but I had to write down how I got there.

(And then I have to write something else totally unrelated, but is pervading my life and I understood it in the shower this evening. Freaking Freecycle moderation. DId I ever mention that it is occasionally the bane of my existence and i want to quit? I can’t wait to move so I can stop the insanity).

So, that is the story of how I inspired myself. If anyone has a story about how they had fun writing today leave a comment with your email or shoot me an email.

BTW, no affliate links here. Except y'know, my Smashwords.
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New Blurb for Second Chance

I joined a writer’s forum. And they have a new indie section and a discussion ensued about writing a good blurb. Which Konrath et al say is the corner-stone to sales.

This is my old blurb:

12 years ago Kip Turner let the girl of his dreams go to pursue his dream of playing hockey. Kip and Mandy were opposites in high school. He was popular and good-looking. She was unathletic and shy. Despite their differences they fall in love. A year after high school, Kip is drafted into the NHL. He’s going to a play across the country. Mandy is pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher and she refuses to go with him while insisting that Kip follow his own dream. Kip goes to follow his dream and they break off their relationship. 12 years later … They come into contact again. Mandy is a single mother and Kip has been playing hockey. But fate has moved them to neighboring Albertan cities. Could they renew their old relationship and have a successful end? Or is Mandy going to let him go all over again?

What went wrong:

Kip is the main focus. I admit I focus on the males more. Romance is more about the female’s journey. Also a lot of passive words in there.

It is longer than a paragraph. Blurbs are a quick hook. This is not quick. It rambles.

It lacks a strong hook. Again rambling and missing strong, evocoative langauge.

Enter Karen McQuestion’s method for crafting a blurb. Great advice.

Following her advice I went to Mandy as the main character and her situation:

Mandy Green is happy juggling her life as a single mom and her dream job as a third grade teacher.

Then what changes

Her world is knocked on its edge when her high school sweetheart connects with her via Facebook.

And what occurs next is:

Mandy decides on one, last date with Kip to finally move on. Kip isn’t quite so ready to let go.

Hype. I failed with this one. I consider my blurbs Work-In-Progress. I have to work my longer version. Maybe.And i have to remove the passive voice.

strong verbs and specific nouns I used:

juggling her life

single mom

dream job

Her world

high school sweetheart

connects

dare

second chance

first love

The final product:

Mandy Green is happy juggling her life as a single mom and her dream job as a third grade teacher. Her world is knocked on its edge when her high school sweetheart connects with her via Facebook. Mandy decides on one, last date with Kip to finally move on. Kip isn’t quite so ready to let go. Will Mandy dare to take a second chance with her first love?

Better? I think so. And it will get better from here.

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Why have fun instead of rolling up your sleeves and getting serious?

How many books are you selling? A few less than Amanda Hocking? Does it even cover your power bill for the month?

Do you get any reviews?

Do you have self-doubts if you are a good (even decent) writer?

Do you have any idea how else to get your words out to a larger audience?

Do you find the more you focus on trying to get readers, buyers, reviewers or just any indication anyone is reading your books the less you feel like writing new stuff?

If you answered “NO” to any of the above, you might be better off just giving up. Or you could just give up on sales and reviews and have fun writing again.

I really have my doubts that there is anything you can do to boost your sales.

I also believe that having more books with your name on them is the best way to boost your sales. Except, no one is buying the shit you have for sale, so you don’t really have any motivation to write anymore because no one will read them either. Maybe.

The more shit you have out there, the better chance you will get discovered. By any reader.

There’s also the chance that the whole positive thoughts thing works. But the caveat to setting your intention is also letting go of your attachment to it happening. (Just saying it could be true).

Besides, isn’t focusing on what you aren’t getting making you miserable or crazy?

It’s making you crazy because it’s focusing on what you cannot control. Other people’s buying habits. Or if they even SEE your book for sale. The web has untold number of sites, books, ideas clamouring for attention. People can only see so much.

Are you willing to stop jumping up and down with vain hope? Are you willing to have some fun while you make shit up?

Not as glamorous as being discovered like Amanda Hocking, but I bet she had a lot of fun while she wrote 20-some novels in the past few years.

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