Publicans

Posted: June 18, 2015 by David in My Fiction

I just like that word. I pronounce it here as if it were closer to “leprechaun” than you might expect, because that makes me happy. And it reminds me that I’d like a beer. Possibly not directly relevant or useful, but still a good thing to know. Yes?

Also, what is public is not secret. I think. But I’ve heard good stuff about the latest revisions to The Secret, and plan to make the thing available soon. To the, uh, public. Or some people. Or something.

My point: most readers say it’s my best so far…once they get around to finishing it. Some don’t like the ending. However, earlier issues (“what the hell happened there at the end?” et al) seem to have been resolved–whether by editing or careful selection of Round Two beta readers is less clear. But what the hell.

Available evidence suggests it’s perceived more as a fantasy dingus than a thriller whatsit, though, so I may need to modify the title and cover. And I kinda doubt any of the options that have occurred to me thus far are really good ideas, so more thought should happen somewhere. Consider:

  • The Secret: A Fantastic Thriller
  • The Secret: A Thrilling Fantasy
  • Secret Fantasies: Thrilling Sex
  • The Pagan Thrills in Secret Places
  • Secreted in the Sky with Diamonds

…See what I mean? Also I have typos to untype. But I’ll work on that soon.

Can’t say when it’ll be done. I won’t be back home till mid-July. But I’ll work on it when I can. Better than burying it (and my head) in the sand, eh?

(Probably. You still may hate it, you know. If so, please leave a scathing but humorous review! Someday!)

Have fun out there.

A Secret Delay

Posted: May 26, 2015 by David in My Fiction

Hi everybody! Sorry for the longer-than-intended silence. I’m in Vegas, very busy with non-writing activities…and some beta readers are complaining about the ending of The Secret, which leaves me in a bit of a quandary.

I don’t expect everyone to like or even “get” all of my stuff. But so far it appears that few will like this one. Though those may, basing this on a very small sample size, like it tons of bunches. (“My favorite so far!” is always nice to read.)

Responses have so far unanimously been in favor of the thing…right up till readers hit the ending. Which complicates the issue a bit. If most people didn’t like the book at all, I wouldn’t especially care. I mean, so what? But…does this almost-approval mean it’s time to make substantive changes? ‘Cause this doesn’t look like the kind of thing minor edits will fix. Do I chuck the last few chapters and try something else? 

I probably won’t. Which reveals all this delay to be pointless dithering. If there are mistakes made, say my instincts, fix them in the next book. Ship it, and move on.

Maybe that’s right. Maybe it isn’t. I’m thinking about it, and too busy with other stuff to try rewriting any of it right now. So. Hmm. I delay.

To be clear, I don’t expect the book to make much money either way. I just hate disappointing readers…especially those who enjoy almost the entire book. But I also hate the idea of making radical changes to the ending–to my mind, as I told myself the story, it was satisfying and fun.

What’s the right move here? Beats me. 

Hiatus!

Posted: April 7, 2015 by David in My Fiction

That title reminds me of Carl Hiaasen, whose fiction I heartily recommend, unless maybe that was more like my liver speaking up. I’m not much of an expert on distinguishing between various human squishy-bits.

Anyway, please read something of his. Or if you don’t get fiction from Carl, please get fiction somewhere. Because I’ll be shutting up for a bit.

I kinda hate how busy we are with this move. Maybe this time we’ll finally never again accumulate so much etc.

But it is what it is. Also, I’m fairly sure something important will be left undone. Besides writing, I mean. But that too.

I hope you’re all equally busy, but with more entertaining projects! Either way, though…I’ll be mostly incommunicado for the next few weeks.

Have fun without me? {8′>

cover3Of course I mean “going south” in a literal sense, rather than as a writer. Though maybe both are true? Check this out: over at Amazon, where I released two new stories as five-day freebies last week, the total number of downloads was…wait for it…42!

That’s downright awesome. I did something similar for Shiver, and reached several thousand people. Sales were pretty good afterward for months. Now, not so much. My total sales, borrows, and Kindle Unlimited semi-sales since I released those two new titles: zero. (I had to write the word out to make it look more important than the bare digit.) (Of course these were just short stories.) (But…wow.)

It’s okay. But if it’s no longer true that Amazon will drive readers to my stuff via their algorithmic wizardry, I have very little incentive to publish stuff over there at all. (This idea makes me smile in somewhat perverse delight.)

Heck: I do lots better, freebie-wise, posting stories right here on the blog. Fer chrissakes. I could sell stuff here too. I mean, in theory. I doubt I’d do worse, anyway. To put it another way, since the blog is all I have as far as an internet “presence” goes (meaning I have no other means of sending traffic to Amazon), if the ‘Zon ain’t showing people my stuff on their own initiative? Then what’re they fer?

Heh. Well, perhaps paying them to place ads will turn out to be cashflow-positive. Or not. (I’m trying that out, using Amazon-recommended bid sizes and such, and so far it appears they’ve shown my ad precisely zero times over the last three days. But what if there’s a delay in the reporting? I mean, beyond the 24 hours they tell me to expect? More on this stuff later, probably.)

Confession: I sort of don’t care about any of the above. Got other stuff going on. But sheesh–I thought I’d at least get a few hundred copies out there. Ha!

As for the literal going-south thing: we have ferry tickets for 4/15. We gave our landlady notice & have scheduled utility turn-offage.

Therefore we need to dump a whole lot more of our crap on unsuspecting Alaskans, and quickly. Should be fun! (Suddenly I envision a whole new career: writing Craigslist and eBay ads. I mean, why not? Would the pay be any worse?)

Oh yeah! True North, this week’s story, is now available, but not yet for free, from Amazon. It’s another retread. I like the story but hate the cover. Maybe for you it’ll be the other way around?

Anyway: The story will be free for five days starting tomorrow, Thursday 4/3. Couldn’t do it any earlier because of the issues I mentioned in yesterday’s post. They finally made it available this morning. Maybe next week’s story will go a bit more smoothly. Or, you know, not! {8′>

Description:

Josh Brandenhoer has an interesting job: he takes pictures and writes about them. In his world of 2026, that sort of thing is generally automated. But not for him–his readers and viewers know him to be a purist. He’s currently searching for a reported polar bear he believes is probably an albino grizzly.

What he encounters is something entirely different. And it’s not the first time for him, either…

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon DE
Amazon FR
Amazon ES
Amazon IT
Amazon NL
Amazon JP
Amazon BR
Amazon CA
Amazon MX
Amazon AU
Amazon IN

Hey, if it turns out you actually like the damned thing? You could post a review! (That link goes to the Amazon US site, because most of you are US readers. But please feel free to post elsewhere if you’d prefer.)

Guess Amazon’s making an April Fool of me

Posted: April 1, 2015 by David in Jerks, Publishing

Not that it’s too hard for them to do so. Yesterday I tried to publish my story True North on Amazon’s site. They say they need, sometimes, 12 hours to publish English-language ebooks.

My experience is that they generally take less time than that. The thing was “In Review” for only a few minutes, and has been sitting in “Live–Updates Publishing” for over 24 hours.

The thing is, I don’t believe them. First, the “live” part of that should refer to ebooks that were previously published and merely being updated. Second, in the past when they were indeed publishing (meaning “pushing stuff out to their servers”) I’ve been able to access my ebooks well in advance of their official “you’re published!” email. Often within an hour or so.

This time? Nothing. On all Amazon sites, the links give a “404 Not Found” error. And in their “Author Central” site, where I can typically link my books (in case there’s another person using the same name, I guess, and from the same account?) I can’t find the new story. Usually this, too, works fairly quickly.

And I can’t schedule the thing to go free until Amazon admits they’ve pushed the thing to their servers, so…it’s just stuck.

I’m not looking forward to trying to fix this. It happened once before, and I had to go through several rounds of “there’s no problem and we’re closing your support ticket immediately–you should wait 12 hours at least next time” with Amazon support staff over a couple of days before suddenly a ticket wasn’t closed right away…then the ebook finally showed up…and then I got an email telling me there was no problem, ’cause see? It’s published now!

I don’t want to go through that process today. Other things to do. I don’t know when True North will be available, or when I’ll be able to schedule its 5-day freebie.

When it happens, I’ll post. Sorry about this.

About that Amazon thing…

Posted: March 24, 2015 by David in My Fiction, Publishing

Look, giving them exclusive rights to sell/distribute my ebooks, even for 90 days at a time, doesn’t make me shit unicorn kisses any more than you’d expect. But I like getting my stuff in front of readers.

Once upon a time, I could get a couple of hundred people to read, or at least briefly view, stories right here on the blog–back at the beginning of my Weekly Challenge thing, which got some nice publicity. That number’s down about 25 percent since then, with a fair amount of turnover having happened along the way, and all signs point to at least half of those remaining being more interested in publishing tips than fiction. Or at least my fiction.

So I’m going to write less about publishing, and publishing snafus, and try to focus on the fiction. Even this post is being timed so it’ll go out via an email that also includes a couple of posts about fiction. (Incidentally, I don’t like the way the current emails include only an excerpt of each post, with a link back to this site. Seems like extra hassle to me. So in the near future I’m going to switch to a different mail list service, and include the full post each time. Just letting you know.)

I’ve tried making stories (and books!) free on Smashwords, and through them B&N, Sony (they applied DRM without my consent! Argh!!), iBooks, and lots of other places. I tried Google, too. A few readers found me, but mostly they were–weirdly–on Smashwords itself. I also received some very nice reviews, which it pained me to pseudo-delete by unpublishing the books and stories. But I did it anyway.

In principle, Amazon “should” have price-matched all those free stories eventually. They didn’t. The only thing I’ve had perma-free on the ‘Zon was Thursday Night Game–and that one took a lot of effort. Not only from me; several readers and buddies helped lobby to get it done. And for a while it seemed to work–lots of people read the story. Unfortunately, Amazon made their “free” stuff harder to find, and the download-rate dropped off a cliff. Also…I got a few reviews, and a lot more feedback via Twitter and email, but those guys never seemed to go on to buy any of my stuff. Maybe if it’d been the first of a series…but it wasn’t. Oh, and once I made the story exclusive to Amazon? The ‘Zon figured out that they didn’t need to price-match anymore, so: it’s no longer free, except for maybe five days out of 90. So much for that little adventure!

“My” readership is small. This is pretty much okay with me, as I know quite a few of you folks by name. You say stuff to me. I like that. And I get to write, when I write, for people I sort of know. It may not change what gets dumped through my keyboard a whole lot, but it’s still a good feeling. Truthfully, though I’d love to appeal to (and attract…I mean fictionally! mostly!) more readers somehow or other…it’s not going to change my life a hell of a lot either way. Because I’m already insanely lucky to be living as I do, with my goofy little family, and I’m fully aware that I’ve done very little to deserve any of my good fortune. Nobody who meets us can understand what my wife sees in me, for instance. (Me either.) (But shh!)

The thing is, all that said? I can still get several times the reader-count by going all-in with Amazon, compared to anything and everything I’ve tried on other platforms. In principle I’d rather that everything I wrote were available on all sites where people look for stuff to read. I don’t like the exclusivity thing even a little bit. But my primary goal in publishing (as opposed to my primary goal in writing, which seems way the hell fuzzier from here) is to get my stuff in front of as many readers as possible. For now, that means going all-in with Amazon. This decision sucks donkey-parts I don’t want to get too specific about, ’cause I like to think this blog is sort of a G-spot, but that’s the deal. (Come on. You smiled. At least a little. Didn’t you?)

If this chaps your hide? I get it. Let me know, and we’ll work something out. But I gotta do what I gotta do. I think.

If you want to argue with me about this whole idea? Please do! You might convince me. But…I’ve killed my Facebook and Twitter accounts, which action pleases me no end. I don’t intend to do anything ever again via so-called “social media.” I’ve demonstrated to my own satisfaction that if it’s possible to pull large numbers of readers to this site from Amazon (or any other retailer), I clearly don’t know how to go about it. So this is what’s left. Even if it feels like caving, in a non-spelunking sort of way, and leaves me with a noxious finger-stink to type. In principle, I could use soap for that. Right?

Oh, and I’ll probably try some pay-per-click advertising for The Secret when it comes out in a few weeks, too. That used to work pretty well for me, back when I sold software. Either way: it is what it is.

And it ain’t so bad, really. Right? I’m kinda just doing whatever I want over here. {8′>

Have fun out there!