Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Responses to a Great Review - Paperback and Sequel News!

So almost a month ago "Anthony P." wrote me a great review for SMARTASS. Some comments I had on what he wrote:

1. I actually, swear to God, had never read any Leigh Brackett until I was about 3/4 of the way through the book. I want to say I finished the first draft before I'd even heard of this lady. And I'm old enough that I should've already. To be honest I can't completely remember. Anyway, I was glad to be compared to her as she was doing a lot of the stuff I wanted to do from the beginning. I will admit that I read basically every Mars book of hers while revising the book but I didn't change the characters all that much. Nothing wrong with admitting your influences.

2.Very gratifying to hear about the proofreading and formatting. Partial credit for this goes to Guido Henkel and his ZEN OF EBOOK FORMATTING, which helped the book look awesome on the inside. I did all of it myself. That book comes very highly recommended, even if you don't have any knowledge of HTML, which admittedly I do.

And I have always been a neat rather than a sloppy writer -- part of my process is that I proofread while re-reading the previous session's writing. Really helps make that work go by very quickly. Still takes a lot of work -- so good to know it was appreciated! He's not wrong, folks.

3. A paperback version of SOM will happen -- once I can pay for it. Formatting a paper book is a more involved process than formatting an ebook, because paper gives you a lot more freedom for crazy fonts, etc as well as being more punishing in terms of getting the words right on the page. I have made enough money from SOM (THANKS AGAIN, EVERYONE!) that I can afford to pay someone to lay it out and fix the cover so that it will look right on a paper book. Keep watching here for the announcement. My "big" royalty check should be dropping any day now.

4. The sequel will drop "when its done". I am working on it at a pace somewhere between George "RR you ready for some football" Martin and Bukowski on coke. Which means some days I blast it and some days I blast fools in Team Fortress. Good reviews like this help motivate me so HINT FRICKIN HINT if you want the book faster, write more reviews! It will, however, certainly NOT be titled "Gods of Kunilak" as no one knows what the fuck Kunilak is and it goes against the philosophy of the book (and my others) to avoid a lot of the nerdiness of the genre.

Not that I'm too cool -- I mean, I am a hipster but let's be real, a hipster is a nerd that knows how to match a pair of pants with a shirt -- but I just have always hated the way scifi book titles just read like so much argle-bargle. "The Vecunian War Cycle Part Two: Fallout on BindleSea" is me just making one up off the top of my head to show you what I mean.

The title will PROBABLY be "<something> of Mars" until I write enough books that that gets old. By that point I think I would be done writing about Mars anyway, but you never know.The title will probably be the last thing I know since I wrote a list of about fifty and didn't really like any of them.

Hell, I didn't really like "Smartass of Mars" all that much. I was leaning towards "Queerbait of Mars" but thought people wouldn't really get what I meant there. "Slacker of Mars" was also in the running but seemed too generic to me.

5. Just wanted to clarify that while Alex McVey did the cover ART, Zach McCain did the cover LAYOUT. What does that mean? It means that Zach was the one who made it look like an old 70s paperback with some photoshop skills and his usual flair for design. Alex did everything that DOESN'T involve letters and numbers. I think "OICU812" was his idea, though. If you're an indie author, HIRE THESE GUYS. Good work for reasonable rates.

Anyway, really uplifting to see that out there in the big wide world there was at least one guy who got exactly what I was trying to do, and liked it. Thanks, Anthony P.

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Long Tail

Hadn't checked my KDP reports in a while. It's looking pretty good! After the book bomb hit towards the end of May thanks to all the morons at Ace of Spades, my sales have been pretty consistent - one or two a day since then, with some off days.

I am a little disappointed that I didn't get any more non-US sales. I guess I haven't leveled up enough yet to get the "BIG IN <SOME NON-US COUNTRY>" cheevo. My wife is rooting for Italy. Me, I'd take just about anywhere. Maybe even North Korea. I need to read that guy's book to see how the accommodations there are for kidnapped artists. Because if all they got is soju then we got a problem.

Of those, sales are mostly for SMARTASS. I'm not surprised. It's a better book, frankly. I'd like HBVK to do better but facts are facts. It's kind of a hot mess. While I was reformatting HBVK to make it look nicer on ereaders I was just embarrassed the whole time. There are still parts of it I really like -- but overall part of me wants to go back and just re-do the whole thing.

Which I won't, by the way.

And you know, after saying all that, some people really liked it. I may return to that world at some point ... I did have a pretty badass idea. 

So thanks to all you shitlords, morons, trolls, reprobates, and unpersons that bought my books. Also to all the beautiful, kind, God-fearing people, of course, but the Venn diagram on that these days is pretty close. Now, would you LEAVE A DAMN REVIEW?

Let me give a shoutout to Rick Mayo, who bought HBVK recently and reviewed it. Thanks, man. Just a short two sentences and a click on that 5th star was all it took! OK, he called it a "romp" which basically in book-speak is "this book is shit but it's fun". BUT I'LL TAKE IT! 5 STARS! It wasn't like I was aiming for it to be anything but an 80s action movie anyway.

Money is nice -- very nice, very gratifying. But if the money is the meat, the reviews are the drink.

My big royalty check will get here at the end of this month so I will maybe take a selfie by way of a thank-you to show you your money is wisely spent on whisky, cigars, firearms and other accoutrements of fine living. Please buy more books so that I get enough money to buy a new gun and I can work that in as well. I can assure you it will be interesting as I'm a gun hipster and just a basic bitch AR-15 is not good enough for me. Maybe a CZ in 7.65 x25 Tokarev (I can hear the gun people laughing out there -- DONCHU JUDGE ME).

And I think this means I should start working on the new Mars book. I already have a bunch written down ... just doesn't quite make sense yet.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

ARENA OF THE WOLF now $1.99 -- Why?

I should also mention that I've re-formatted HBVK and ARENA as well to bring up the standard. Sorry if you bought a crap copy. Just email me and I'll send you the new version and you can sideload it onto your device (you can't get the new version "officially" without buying it again, sorry).

I don't think I'll be writing any more novellas unless I'm compelled to just for the sake of art. No one seems to want to buy ARENA at $2.99 -- but that's the lowest price I can offer and still get 70%. Dropped the price to $1.99 to see if that helps -- but I only get 35% of that. So 70 cents instead of $1.39. Which kind of defeats the point of me self-publishing it since Amazon keeps most of the money just like a publisher would.

I get why people wouldn't want to pay 3 bucks for a novella when there are a lot of novels out there for the same price. People seem to equate the size of the book with its value for their dollar, which is unfortunate but that's how it is. Too bad -- some ideas really don't seem to work well as full-length novels. If you've ever read a book and felt like it had a bunch of filler, that could be why.

Now, some of this is Amazon. Other services like Kobo might be different, I need to check. Maybe it's not "worth it" to Amazon to have low-priced books like this on their service so they discourage it. I can see that -- it's not about the space they take but I think that's their way of trying to discourage being flooded with cheap, worthless crap books. You can see how well THAT worked out.

One way to handle this problem, I think, would be to anthologize novellas together like Stephen King's (THE UNICORN!)* DIFFERENT SEASONS. Pack three or four together and people might buy that. This is why you see so many short story anthologies as well. Of course, people still don't buy those as much but it's an idea.

Anyway, when you see the price drop on ARENA, that's when the new formatting hits, so you can wait until then. HBVK's new formatting is live.

* - I call Stephen King "The Unicorn". I'll explain why in a later post or MAYBE a podcast ...