Monday, August 27, 2012

The Choice to Keep Writing

It's hard enough to write these days when I'm exhausted all the time.  New Baby and his teeth have crippled my Terris comeback, but my word of the year is DETERMINATION, so never fear readers!  I will triumph and make my way past this hiccup.

When I hear about stories like this, however: Authors Buying Book Reviews, I'm both stunned and disheartened.  It's not the first time I've heard of such things.  No, indeed, the kindleboards bandy about such rumors of these sites with derision.  Today, however, I learned that author John Locke, arguably one of the best selling indie authors in the business, was one who purchased 300 reviews for his books.

Laughably, his bestselling book "How I sold 1 million ebooks" is supposedly a testament to his insane business prowess.  Indies everywhere touted his skill, his marketing, and his knowledge.  Low and behold, I could have had the same knowledge myself, for the price of $6,000.  Who knows?  Maybe MY novels would have been in the top 100.

Here is why this makes me bitter.  Locke (and many many others) are smart enough to realize how the Amazon system works.  It's a delicate balance of number of reviews, and novelrank.  The more reviews you have (good or bad) the more attention you get on amazon.  The more attention you get, the more books you sell, the higher your ranking is.  And of course, the higher your ranking, again, the more books you sell.

So essentially, what he did was gaming the system.  He bought a bunch of reviews, which got him noticed.  His books sold more and consequently got him more notice.  Could his writing be good?  Certainly.  But the way he chose to start his career sucks.

What sucks even more is that any attention he gets now will only benefit him.  People will read his book out of curiosity or downright anger and even if he gets THOUSANDS of one star reviews, it will only benefit his sales and make him more famous.  It just purely PISSES ME OFF that he and others like him will not only get away with this, but that they will benefit from it forever.

Sometimes, as an author, I want to go away to the world I create, where justice is stronger than any form of evil cunning that exists.  I want to be where someone gains success on the merits of their hard work, determination, and ethics.  I hate, purely HATE living in a world where I have to tell my children... "Yeah, you can work hard and enjoy some modest success.  But in the end, the people that pay or scheme or practice dishonesty to get ahead will do better than you."

As a reader, I want that list.  I want to know who has been paying for reviews so I can never give them money.  I want to tell my friends about them and warn them away.  I want to publish that list as a public shaming for every author in the world who would even think of paying for a review.

I want to cry because as an indie author I feel nothing but shame from this.  I feel so disheartened right now.  After this, no one is going to take us seriously any more.  Thanks to authors who can't keep their mouths shut over a bad review we are already a laughingstock.  After this, we may as well just hang up our hats and go legitimate.  Locke, in my opinion, has done traditional publishing a favor today.

In fact, I'm almost kicking myself for not taking the traditional publishing route when it was offered to me.  "No," I said.  "Thanks, but I really like doing this for myself.  Thank you for your offer."  I don't know how I feel anymore.

Be careful, readers, in what you read today.  That's all I can say.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Same Old, With a Bit of the New

Wow, I didn't realize it had been so long since I wrote a blog post.  Oops.  :)  In my defense, my inlaws have been up visiting for the past TWO weeks, and with that, and a sick AND teething baby... it's been busy over here.

New baby... man this has been tough.  Because no offense to him, but he basically ruined my chances of finishing Camp Nano.  It is really, really tough to write at 5 AM when you've been up all night.  It is also really really tough to stay awake during nap time and write, when you know it is the only time you'll get to sleep.  So for like 5 days I wrote nothing.  And I'm still massively struggling in that dept.  Terris: 17,639.  Angel Book: 2903.

Still planning to keep on with Camp Nano because it is a good motivator, but I'm pretty certain at this point that I won't be able to catch up in time to finish.  And that's okay, because whatever words I get out of it are words that wouldn't be written otherwise.  I'll take that any day! :)

So many things to write about!  So, I don't know if you remember, readers, but this time around I decided to write one story line at a time in the hopes that I wouldn't hit as many plot/pacing roadblocks as I did with Aeris.  So far it's working out great.  I'm doing Luka's story line right now and I've written some stuff that I'm actually proud of.  I plan to stop his story at part 1 and then start in on another story line—probably Zyander—until they're all caught up to each other.  I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am to be writing Luka's story line this time around.  I was excited last book, but this book will get into the real meat of some of his character changes.  I'm doing some serious setup work for the next book, you see.

Aeris continues to surprise me in the sales dept.  Double the sales of Compis thus far.  Amazon, in a move that surprised me, put Compis up for sale at 99 cents.  Not sure why, but I will of course still get my $2.99 royalty, so I'm not complaining.

The best part of releasing the second in my series has been the reader feedback.  I've gotten more emails in the past week and a half than I have in the past 4 months. :)  It's so fun to talk to people who are enjoying where the story is going and who are downright curious about where it's going to end up.  I even got my first international fan email from a nice woman in France.  Hi Rut!  :)

This is the part of writing that I was always hoping for—finding an audience for the stories in my head.  Obviously not everyone loves my books and that's a-okay.  But the people that do are making writing so enjoyable for me.

One more thing:  I made my books free for any library that uses Smashwords to purchase ebooks, so there may be some point in the future when you can get my ebooks from a library loan.  How cool would that be?  I've always dreamed of having my books available for library users.  I'm a huge library advocate and still go there when I can't find an ebook for a good price.  (Also, for my son! :))

That's all for now. Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Success! (or Something Like It)

So, happy to report that Aeris has finally been published.  Holy Hannah, that took FOREVER, didn't it?  Here's hoping the next one can be just a wee bit quicker.  I mean, isn't that the whole point of self-publishing, that you can get books out faster?  Apparently not, in my case. :)

I'm pretty pleased with the publishing experience this time around.  Practice makes perfect I guess, because I was able to get everything together in the file and formatted in a matter of hours.  No weird TOC problems this time.  And the book is already available on Amazon, B&N and Smashwords.  Kobo is dragging its heels.  It's been about 3 days for them, so if it doesn't get up tomorrow, I'm supposed to email them or something.  Not that my sales on Kobo are anything to celebrate in general.  I think I've sold about 3 books total there.  Smashwords and Amazon are my best venues.

It's interesting, publishing a sequel.  It's a really great indication of how much people liked your book the first time around.  (I learned this from the Angel & Her Gun.)  So far this month I've sold more copies of Aeris than I have of Compis, which is pretty cool considering it's only been available for 2.5 days.  We'll see how the month ends up, but that is a lot of people who read and enjoyed Compis.

On the other hand, I'm so nervous because first of all, I put hours and hours into this book and second of all, I hope all the fans (especially those who took the time and effort to email me) aren't disappointed.  I hope that the story is progressing in a pleasing way.  I hope they are as excited as I am for the next book.

Speaking of which, I'm still making some headway in that department, though today will probably be a wash, because I'll be gone all day.  Terris: 7,892  Angel Book: 2,789  The angel one not having a title is bothering me, so maybe on my drive today I will find time to think of one.  I'm really enjoying writing it once a week.  I think it will be good for me.  And writing in only one perspective at a time in Terris(currently writing Luka's story line) is definitely better for continuity and flow.  Not sure about the inspiration part though.  Usually when I get stuck on something it helps to be able to go on to a different viewpoint.  I may be doing a lot of switching when I write.  We'll see.

That's all for now.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Nothing Doing

I've been full of fail this week.  Curse you, evil teeth, hurting my sweet baby.  Still, even though I'm behind on my word count, I'm still making progress.  For one thing, I've written every day this week.  The Fire Angel book: 1,575 words.  Terris: 5,776.  For another, I got Aeris back from the proofreader's!  Yay!!!!

So my goal for this week, is to address the corrections that have been marked up, add in all the elements I already worked on, format and upload.  Most of the work has already been done, except for the formatting part, so hopefully it won't take too long to get up.

Meanwhile, the internet is full is of interesting things.

Authors, have you uploaded your books to Kobo yet?  If so, did you know that you can connect your goodreads reviews to your Kobo?  Forget waiting around for people to rate it, you can have all the reviews you've already earned for yourself!  Awesome!  Find out how to do that HERE.

Do you like cheap books?  I know I do!!  HERE is a great website that finds all the cheap ebooks on the web and puts them right at your mouseclick.

A timely warning on the use of copyrighted material on the web.  This one scared the bejesus out of me.  Read about this author's account, HERE.

I've pretty much always been on the indie side of things with my writing, so I guess I'm biased.  This is an interesting article, but Mark Coker is biased too.  Still, worth considering.  Read it HERE.

This one had me riveted—one author's experience with Apple iBookstore bias and content policing.  Chilling.  Read it HERE.  And the followup, HERE.

And above all, Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The New Me!

I've been thinking that it's a new year and I have a new baby, and I should revamp my bio. Pretty soon I'll have a new book to add (Iam willing, hahaha), and a new book I'm working on, so I should get my act together and update that sucker.
But I'm having a little problem...

No, it's not a freak windstorm!  (Sorry, had to reference my new favorite k-pop video)

I have no idea what to write, besides the obvious.  Hi, my name is Kate and I write books.  Will you read my books?  I wrote these books.  Oh, and also, I like to garden.  And read.  And I have two kids.  And a husband, too.   The End.

There, what do you think?  Yeah, that's about how I felt too.  So I'm clearly still dwelling on that.

But I did get some things accomplished.  Dedication and Acknowledgments, CHECK.  Intro to Kait Nolan's excerpt, CHECK.  Almost 3,000 words written in Terris, too, thankyouverymuch.   All in all, I'm feeling pretty good right now.  Although, I wish New Baby would sleep. Gosh that would be nice.  It would.

Happy Reading!