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Kindness

I’ve been playing Runescape, by JagEx for about seven years now. I’ve rolled with the changes, and in the last two or so years, I’ve not been as diligent playing. They have a free version of the game and a paid version of the game. In the last seven years, I’ve ponied up the dough to get a membership a few times. You get to keep you progress when your membership expires, you just can’t use any of your member’s stuff. Anthony told me that JagEx had introduced a way to purchase a membership through the in-game currency, so after not playing for about nine months, I purchased a two-week membership. When my membership expired, I got to keep playing as a member until I logged out or died. I was talking about this fact to other players, and another player spent real world money to buy me a membership. Completely unexpected, and greatly appreciated.

It’s easy to be a cynic in this modern world of in-your-face media who’s only job is to scare you. It’s refreshing to see someone do something for someone else without expecting anything in return. This player didn’t know anything about me, but was willing to help a fellow gamer and human being out. So, help someone out if you can. Hopefully, some good karma will end up heading your way.


Hiatus exclamation point

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Hello, guys and dolls! I meant to post this on Monday, but I didn’t. I’ll be on a two-week hiatus! from the blog. Days Until Home and Mental State should still update on Wednesday and Friday. After my hiatus!, book reviews should start again, and I think I’ll have another new project that will be posting on every other Monday. Be sure to keep checking out Days Until Home, and the great work David and Greg are doing!

I stole this post from Greg Dragon

I totally stole this blog post from Greg Dragon’s blog. You’ll be hearing more this year from Greg, since he’s one of the authors working on Days Until Home.

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“For every jerk that I have met, there have been five others that are actually nice, helpful people.”

I was never one of those kids that needed to fit into somebody else’s cool club. People can say that it’s because of the way I was raised, but that’s cliche isn’t it? I know enough followers whose parents are hardcore leaders to know that our decisions go way beyond conditioning. Some of us NEED to fit in when it comes to social cliques and clubs.

For the longest time, I couldn’t grasp why people who were brilliant and attractive felt the need to follow a group of mediocre clones, but it happens every single day. This is why it doesn’t surprise me when I see good writers act like a student that desperately wants to get hazed into a fraternity or sorority. People can have tons of books sold, millions of adoring fans, but the instant someone pens an article discrediting their choice of genre or method of publishing it’s as if nothing that they’ve done has merit.

You will never get everyone to like you. Even if you could swap places with a J.K. Rowling, you would only inherit the hundreds of haters that dislike her books or the things she tweets about. Everybody is a critic it seems, so why let these people define you? Why get huffy when a generally unknown “authority” issues a blanket statement about self-publishing? They don’t know you, or perhaps they do but skip over your work to spray that machine gun conveniently. Why give them the power to ruin your day?

Survival of the fittest?

Like it or not, to survive as an indie publisher, you will need to get down into the mud with the rest of us pigs to hustle for your food. I make this crude analogy because it has been the Wild Wild West and with every person that treats this as a business, there are 100 more casuals putting up their creations. Your $1,500 worth of editing, book cover art, and marketing is thrown onto the same shelves as someone who uploads a rough draft and you are only separated by the amount of books you sell. But that’s the price of admission. If you have a problem with those odds then you shouldn’t self-publish.

I know the game that I am in, and I trust that with enough learning, pushing, and cultivating, I can get my books in front of the people that will enjoy them, hopefully, that is you. If I am called a hack by a random critic with an ax to grind … I will still be writing. The beauty about publishing independently is that for every jerk that I have met, there have been ten others that are actually nice, helpful people.

“Once you start thinking about it in a mercenary frame of mind, then you’re finished. You’re a joke because there are too many mercenaries out there already.” – Tommy Shaw

Indie Publishing has become a bit of a cool club since the time of this writing, and though the rebel in me makes me want to run for the hills, it is still a better place to be than on team judgment whose membership has to be in the trillions. So stop listening to the negatives, and reading articles full of nonsense metrics and falsities. Focus your energy on writing, learning, and improving, you know … the things that you can actually control. If I read another “I have written a million agents and none wants me so I self-published but now I worry that I will get no respect,” post my head will explode. What a strange attitude to go into an entrepreneur’s arena with.

There’s an analogy about people being sharks or goldfish and it seems to be very prominent in all of the arts. Not all sharks are loudmouthed, racist, lobbyists with blog followings and not all goldfish make forum posts opining their “failed attempt at making a living writing.” Some sharks are damn near invisible. They eat up everything, make a boatload of cash and have enough readers to keep them going for life. That’s the type of shark that can give a damn about what another has to say about their writing or their method of publishing.

Being a goldfish will get you turned out in this system just like in any business. You will get ripped off by cover artists, wannabe editors, terrible marketing websites, and your fellow badly behaving authors. You don’t have to be aggressive but you have to believe in yourself and be ready to back it up. How do you feel about your chances, really? Writing is an art, we’re selling art, and like a painting you will have people who love it and others who want to put a knife through it. The difference comes with the artist and whether or not they will, in turn, fold to the people with the knife, or put their focus on those that enjoy their work.

So stand by your work my fellow writers but realize that nobody owes you a living or acceptance of your work.


Exposing Yourself with Mark Gardner | Indie Publishing Tips from a Pro

I did this guest post on Adan Ramie’s blog. You should check it out.


LGBT Discrimination at 24symbols?

Alan-Lennox_02a_ebook-250x400I saw this blog post by Brian Olsen. There wasn’t a good way to reblog, so I asked him for permission to repost a portion of his blog.

Brian writes:


24symbols is a new ebook vendor. It uses the subscription model – readers pay a monthly fee and can then read an unlimited number of any of the ebooks they offer. They’re based in Spain, and their big hook seems to be that they have business agreements with telecom companies worldwide to bring their service to people’s phones. This is potentially huge – in a lot of countries, a smartphone may be the only electronic device that someone owns, and so bringing ebooks cheaply and easily to those devices is pretty smart.

I use a service called Draft2Digital to distribute my books to many vendors. Some smaller vendors don’t allow indie authors to distribute to them directly, so a business like Draft2Digital allows me access to those readers. They recently added 24symbols as one of their clients, and I signed up immediately – why not? It cost me nothing.

On December 18 I got the email from Draft2Digital that my books were now available on 24symbols. I went to the site, just to see how they were being displayed and make sure all the information was correct. I noticed that the cover to Alan Lennox and the Temp Job of Doom was blurry, but I didn’t think much of it. I figured I had only just gotten the email, maybe the page was still being set up. I set it aside to come back and check the rest later.

On December 19 I went back and checked all my books. Three of my four books had blurred covers – and when I say blurred, I mean they’re completely illegible and unrecognizable. You can get a sense of the color scheme of the image, and that’s it – no title, no picture, nothing is visible. Only Mark Park and the Flume of Destiny was presented normally.

I assumed this was a technical glitch and emailed Draft2Digital to alert them to the problem. Yesterday, December 21, I received this response from Steed at D2D:

“24Symbols blurs out cover art for certain adult content unless a user is signed in and has their age settings set up appropriately. Since your books have gay/lesbian subject matter, 24Symbols has elected to keep those books in an adult content section. However, any adult users who are signed into their site will see the covers in full.”

Oh. Okay. Well, that explains the discrepancy – I don’t have “gay and lesbian” as a tag on Mark Park and the Flume of Destiny, but I do on the other three books.

I responded with this:
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(Not) NaNoWriMo, Day Sixteen

I’ve been slacking lately. November has always been the worst month to get anything done. Erika and I both have birthdays this month, Turkey day is around the corner, and my sister-in-law always visits the first week of November.

Of course November 2015 is even more crazy with the Kindle Scout campaign, the audiobook stuff, the novelette submission to TOR, and three different collaborative projects! I did manage to get 1,200 words written this morning.


(Not) NanoWriMo Day Nine

Today was a good day for writing. I managed about 1700 words or so before work, and added another 450 after work for a daily count of 2140.


Art Harder Motherfucker

I’ve been marginal in designing my own covers. I’m good enough to do some basic stuff, but smart enough to know when I can’t hack it. I’ve been helping Linn Fergus with some cover concepts and reference covers. Since I don’t have the proper rights to some of the photographs and art I’ve used, Linn’s going to commission an artist to do the covers based off of my reference covers. Joel Cotejar might be involved, so we’ll see. I wanted to share with you all some of the reference covers I’ve done for Linn:
Ascension-Birthright Ascension-RazorsPass Ascension-FallAndRise

 

Lost-Chronicles Undead_Enemies-B Kita
Here are some more randoms I’ve been working on:
space-adventure-2 space-adventure-1 space-adventure-3

(Not) NaNoWriMo Day six

2135 words today. As I was writing the last page or so, I really started having fun. It sucks that the fun started as I was concluding for the day, and not at the very beginning. I added my draft progress to each day, basically so Rosie could read it, but you can read too if you want. I’m sure that after this first draft is done, I’ll need to tear this thing apart, and decide what to do with it.
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(Not) NaNoWriMo Day five

When I started out writing for (Not) NaNoWriMo, I intended on finally writing the sequel to Body Rentals. Since I’m a pantser, the story is unfolding in a way that just might not be Body Rentals-esque. Today’s 2,000 words gets me over the 10k mark, and a nifty badge over at nanowrimo.org.
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