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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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Everyone has an opinion

I follow a few author’s blogs and a few of them have stepped out and said that self e-publishing is not the way to go. If you can, get with a “real” publisher. One who can market you and edit you and fit you into their mold.

You gotta wonder about their motivation.

I am just saying authors with contracts have a vested interest in publishers going strong. If they can convince a few people that indie is a bad thing …

They have convinced themselves it’s the right way, which translates into the only way for some people.
If indies do become stronger than the Big six.

Shit did those authors catch the wrong wave.

Ah, Zementa has many related articles, but I’m not going to link to anything else. It’s out there peeps.

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File names

A while ago I downloaded a bunch of free books from places like freeonlinenovels and obooko and feedbooks. OIh yeah, Smashwords too.They came in various formats: pdf, epub, rtf.

Then they sat on my hard drive while i caught up on my blogs. (Calibre is lovely in that it allows me to turn rss into epubs).

I used calibre the other day to transfer all the files into epub. Kobo reads pdfs or epubs. Pdfs are fixed width format which makes reading them on a small screen difficult. Calibre (I should really pay for how much i use this beautiful program) can convert any file into epub. Not all files transfer well.

Now I have all these lovely files on my Kobo for reading.

The problem?

Some of the files I downloaded are downloaded as what the author saved the file as.

I have one file entitled this: Save_Me_Needs_Revising.

Doesn’t inspire me to start reading it. It’ll be at the bottom of the pile.

Many of the files don’t have title pages. Not pictures but the title of the book and the author name and website at least.Additonally I would add a version ie if you submit your file to Smashwords it says Smashwords version. Obooko gets a different title page.

My mission for the next week is to change my files to Title_AuthorName. That way no matter how the book is downloaded it has my name on it. And I shall also be adding a title page that has where the book was procured from and the title.

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And then there were three or none

Okay, well that’s the three versions of Corey that came before the official version. Which I’m working on. Don’t rush me!

The last one I abandoned because I didn’t feel it was going anywhere. There was no drive for me to get to the next scene. If I wasn’t feeling it, the reader wouldn’t either.

I outlined a second one with Mac Black moving to Calgary to live with Doug because she has detached retina and needed care. But after I wrote the outline I didn’t care for the conflict stuff again. Garbage.

So, that’s the tour.

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Corey with Mac: Three

This one was a second attempt where Corey lives with Doug Black. Mac is Mackenzie Black, Doug’s sister. Great inherent conflict right there. What guy wants his friend who sleeps around to be near his sister?

Mackenzie Black considered herself classy. Even so she was excited her brother was coming to visit. She was a little annoyed he was bringing a friend with him, but the guy, Corey something, didn’t have a family to spend Thanksgiving with. And Doug, being the big-hearted guy that he was, couldn’t let his room mate and team mate return alone to Calgary.

She was just thankful that the schedule worked out so she could see her brother for the holiday. It wasn’t likely to happen again and since she spent most of her time working and he spent his time playing a game it would be a while before they got together again.

Her parents were picking up Doug and what’s-his-face at the airport. She was at her parent’s house watching the turkey and setting the table. And also checking out the window every few minutes to see if they’d arrived.

Mac looked at the clock again. They wouldn’t be here for at least twenty minutes, probably longer. Who knew with traffic from the airport on Thanksgiving weekend. She’d have to navigate back in a couple of days with them, but that was another story.

Mac turned on the television and sat down. It wasn’t long before she heard the car pull into the driveway and she jumped up. Feeling like a kid on Christmas morning she opened the door, even though it was damn cold out, even for October.

She ran outside. Her brother was already out of the car with arms open. She jumped into them and hugged him tight. “My favorite brother,” she chortled.

“In the flesh.” They hugged for a moment and then he set her down. She hopped back and forth on the cold cement driveway.

“How was your trip?”

“You forgot your shoes,” a voice said from the other side of the car. She shivered, not from the voice, it was the cold. And the lack of shoes.

The face in front of the voice was fucking beautiful. She’d seen him on television, but that did him no justice compared to the potency of meeting him in person. Doug warned her to stay away, that he was a skeevy player who picked up one night stands all over the place.

Mac wasn’t sure what that meant. But now that he was standing here in the driveway, smiling and oozing sex appeal, it meant that she had a mission. To jump the guy without anyone in the house knowing what was going on.

Doug was overprotective over her, even though he was 20 months younger. And getting away from his death glare wasn’t going to be easy. She wondered how afraid Corey was of Doug.

She’d have to do a little convincing. If what Doug said about the man was half-true, it shouldn’t be too hard. And few men could resist her smile. Or her ask.

Doug kept his arm around Mac as he spoke. “Mac this is my buddy Corey. Corky this is my little sister Mackenzie.”

“Nice to meet you,” Mac said.

Corey came around the car and offered his hand. Mac grasped it and shook. Nice warm with callouses. She shivered again. “So, I’m not wearing any shoes. So I’ll talk to you inside.”

“Thanks for the help with our bags,” Doug called.

“Big strong boys like you, you’ll be fine,” Mac replied. She glanced at Corey and he winked.

Maybe convincing him wouldn’t be difficult at all.

Mac winked back and then made sure to wiggle her hips in super slow motion as she went inside. Just in case her smile wasn’t enough.

* * *

Corey pulled his gaze away from Doug Black’s older sister’s ass as she sashayed it up the steps to her parent’s house. She did that on purpose.

Instead of watching the enticing little sway, he looked at the sway’s brother. Who would kick his ass if he so much as caught Corey looking at her the wrong way. Doug had made that clear before they had even left Calgary.

Corey would just have to make sure he didn’t get caught. He caught a grin before Doug saw him. “Come on, it’s cold out, grab your bags and get your ass inside the house.”

Corey came around the car and grabbed his bag from the trunk. Doug elbowed him in the side. “Stop drooling over my sister.”

Corey bit back the reply that his sister was deliberating baiting him. “Right.” He also stifled a snort. Too bad he didn’t have a sister as a point of reference, so he could pretend Mackenzie Black was related to him.

Of course, if he had a sister, he would be spending the holidays with her instead of with his team mate. No point in dwelling on useless thoughts. He shook it off and followed Doug inside the house.

He took his shoes off and placed them on the neat rack beside the door. “Doug, come to the kitchen please,” Mrs. Black called.

Doug dropped his bag. He looked at Corey for a moment. “Mac, show Corey our rooms.” Corey’s gaze flew to Mackenzie’s, who was standing to the side of the entry way. Doug looked pointedly at him once more and then went to the kitchen.

“What was that look for?”

“He’s worried about your virtue.”

Mackenzie laughed and took a step toward Corey. He took a step back. The dance continued until Corey was against the shoe rack. Mackenzie laughed again, this time very close to him. “I’m just trying to get my brother’s bag.”

“Oh. Right.” She kept her smile and gaze on him while she picked up the bag. Kissing her in the foyer of her parents house when her brother might return any minute was a bad idea. Really bad.

“Come on,” she said, glancing over her shoulder. “I’ll show you where I’ll be sleeping.” And they were walking.

She did say where she was sleeping right? Was that an invitation? Either she was really hot for him or she was an evil temptress.

Past the kitchen, Doug gave him a warning look. Corey shook his head. Around a corner and down a hallway, and then down some stairs. Mackenzie dropped Doug’s bag in front of a door and then moved to invade Corey’s personal space. “So Doug is staying in his old room down here.”

Corey’s heart was in this throat. Mackenzie was just a little below eye level. Corey reached for her and brushed her hair from her face and then rested the back of his hand rest on her cheek. She put her hand on his upper arm and stretched up to him.

Corey looked at her hips for a moment. He was going to hell. Or at least Doug was going to beat the crap out of him. And then he brushed his lips across her glossy, pouty smile.

She wrapped an arm around his neck and pulled him deeper, her mouth opening and her tongue slipping into his mouth. She tasted like coffee and cherry lip gloss. He felt his dick start to go hard and he pulled away. Slamming his head into the wall in the process.

She looked at him with a frown.

“Sorry, Mackenzie. My body was about to react in ways that I wouldn’t be able to hide from your family.”

She grinned and pulled him down for a second quick kiss.

“I really don’t want to sleep on the floor of your brother’s room,” Corey added.

She licked her bottom lip really slowly and then sashayed herself back up the stairs.

He followed that round ass back to the main floor and to the back of the house. She opened a door and pushed him inside. “This is where you will sleep.”

“My room is two doors down. There’s a bathroom between us.”

Corey raised an eyebrow. “Where do your parents sleep?”

“Upstairs.” She pointed towards the stairs at the end of the hall. “Doug and I have an older brother and sister.”

“Where are they?”

“Pete is a lawyer in New York and far too busy for the likes of us. And Sam is with her in-laws for this holiday.” Corey sat down on the bed inside the room. Mackenzie leaned against the door jamb. “And you?”

“I have no family,” he said, standing up and brushing past her. That was not something he was going to talk about. “Where’s the bathroom? I need to powder my nose before supper.” Before Mac could reply Corey disappeared down the hall.

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Corey version 2

I wrote there were two previous versions of Corey. I found a third. Here is number two with his agent, Rachel. I’m only putting one scene up here. The rest you can read at: mediafire in pdf or epub

She was being sent to Calgary. It was like being 12 and being sent to your room, Rachel Taylor reflected as she looked out her office window. It was even her father who was sending her. She wanted to run away like a rebellious teenager. Instead, she was 33 years old, and she would face her duties. She would do her job. She was damned good at her job.

She was being sent because of her very public breakup with Washington Stars star pitcher, Patrick Barber. The tabloids broke a three months ago with the story. Pat on a beach in Florida, he was there for a few days for games and she had to work, with his 20-year-old girlfriend. The newest superstar model, Ophelia Morgens. Only he’d forgotten to let Rachel know that they had broken up first.

So much for his proclaimed maturity. There was only three years age difference between them.

Thinking about it now, made her want to scream, throw things and generally have a tantrum. Rachel sank down at her desk, glad her father had left. He might regret sending her to Calgary to deal with things there, instead he might send her on vacation as he suggested when the news first broke. Or worse, to a mental retreat, aka psych ward.

She smiled at the thought. If things got worse she might consider checking herself in.

She lifted her head and opened the file on her desk. Corey Porter, one of her newest clients. One of the few her father was foisting on her from Calgary. She didn’t know why one of the agents at the office there couldn’t take on the clients. Hal Taylor insisted that they were too important to hand to just anyone.

So, here she was, shuffling her responsibility around at home in New York. And jumping on a plane to Calgary, Alberta. She cringed at the thought. It sounded like cold and winter, even in the middle of summer.

Corey Porter. Hockey player. Kind of a jackass in public. A womanizer. Perfect, just the kind of guy she would have been hoping to avoid. But, she’d be working with him closely. Hopefully convincing him to change his attitude and his reputation. His contract was coming up and it wouldn’t help him with a poor reputation.

She did the math quickly, he was 29. Great, so not the age to change his attitude, especially not as a sports figure. Those types never changed.

This was going to be a pain in the ass. And a lot of work for her. She put her head back down on the desk. He was no Sean Avery nightmare, but this wasn’t a dream job.

When she lifted her head she found herself staring at his handsome mug shot. It was like his eyes were staring right into her. He was far too good-looking. And he knew it. Another strike against him.

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First Version Excerpt 1

“Mackenzie Elliot.” Mac looked around for a moment before she realized the secretary was speaking to her. She hadn’t been called Mackenzie very often in her entire life, let alone the past dozen or so years.

Maybe she should have returned to using her maiden name, she thought as she followed the secretary down the hall. She’d always felt more a part of the Elliot family than her own, even after the divorce, which made keeping her married name seem logical.

Still it seemed like holding onto the past as she moved onto a new life in a new city.

“Mr. Geren is waiting,” the secretary said as she opened the door.

“Thank you,” Mac said, but the secretary was already gone. She straightened her shoulders and went into the neat office.

“Ms. Elliot, sorry to keep you waiting,” Ted Geren said.

“Every time I come in here I’m disappointed,” Mac said. “Your office looks nothing like one would expect a private eye’s to look like.”

He smiled indulgently. “You’ve seen too many movies. I have to keep strict confidential records. You wouldn’t want another of my clients to see what you’ve paid me good money for.” He tapped the folder on his desk. “I have the information you requested.”

Mac sat down, feeling slightly weak in the knees. A month ago her ex-husband Mitchell Elliot had called to ask for a favour: find his foster brother. He asked Mac for two reasons; the first was that she lived in the same city and the second was because he had cut off ties to the Elliot’s nearly a decade ago. They didn’t want to push him, even now.

“Great,” Mac squeaked out. “What did you find?”

Ted Geren opened the folder on his desk. He flipped through the items within for a moment. “So, Mr. Porter wasn’t difficult to track down. He plays for the Calgary Flames. He rents from a team mate, Doug Black.”

Another photograph. Made her feel like some sort of stalker, taking pictures of people who didn’t know they were being photographed.

“The address is there on the papers. He isn’t married nor a steady partner. He likes to go out when he’s in town and party. He frequents a bar called, Stompin’ Grounds and picks up women there.” The P.I stopped for a moment and skimmed through the words on the report. “He also frequently visits the home of Mandy and Kip Turner. Mr. Turner is the goalie for the same team. As per your request, I didn’t look into the people around Mr. Porter.”

“Thank you,” Mac said, still staring at the picture of Corey Porter. She hadn’t seen him in ten years. He hadn’t changed much. He’d grown more mature in his features. But he was still as sexy as he had been those years ago. Not that she ever had an interest in him.

She had been best friends with Rebecca Elliot since first grade. They had always fostered children, but it wasn’t until she was in tenth grade that Corey Porter came to live with them.

On the exterior he was a tough punk kid who didn’t have much respect for anyone. Four years living with the Elliot’s eventually changed that but to Mac he was always Becky’s little brother.

“Take a few minutes to read over the full report and assure me you are satisfied with the information we uncovered.”

Mac nodded at him and took the folder he held out. She skimmed over it. It was just as he said. She closed the folder and tucked it into her bag. “Thank you, Mr. Geren. I will let you know if the family wants to know more about Mr. Porter.” She shook Geren’s hand and then headed for the door.

She opened the folder in her car and dialed Mitchell’s number. “Mitchell Elliot.”

“Mitch it’s Mac. I got the information you wanted.”

Don’t know why you needed it from a private investigator, when an internet search would have done the same thing. She didn’t say that instead she said, “I’ll fax it to you. Do you want me to try to contact him?”

His silence went on so long she checked the phone to make sure the call hadn’t dropped. “No. I- that’s all. Thank you Mackenzie. I owe you. I’ll talk to you soon.” And then her ex-husband hung up on her.

Mac closed her cell phone between her free hand and her rib cage. Her other hand was staring at Corey Porter’s picture. He shouldn’t cut off the family who treated him so well, she thought. If they weren’t willing to pursue a reunion, she might have to take things into her own hands.

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