I Think Bruce Willis Might Be a Time Traveler

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Bruce Willis Time Traveler

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I cannot rule out that this MIGHT be Bruce Willis. Anyone with other stills from old movies where Bruce Willis shows up should share the links. The world must know.

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On Authors Kickstarting & General Online Angst

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Author Stacey Jay, whose books I have never read and who I’ve never met before cancelled her Kickstarter and wrote a blog post about it. A really well written blog post, in my opinion, that, according to her, angered the writer/blogger/reader community. In a nutshell, a lot of people didn’t like that she “included money to pay basic living expenses (mortgage, groceries, gas) for the three months it would take to write the book”.

It really did ruffle some feathers. It’s been talked at length about on Twitter. The words “online bullying” have come up. Again.

My two cents:

I like what Chuck Wendig said in his posting yesterday – “Where does that money go? Once it reaches the intended recipients, I mean. I’m going to take a wild guess here and say it goes toward paying their bills. Meaning, I’m helping to fund their lives, if in a small way.”

That’s really quite true when you think about it. Crowd funding doesn’t require a financial audit done by accountants so really, I think that unless Kickstarter requires KPMG to start looking into the financials of every pitched project, some of the money people kick in will go toward paying the bills. Who knows, maybe even the lion’s share.

You see, for authors who haven’t made it yet, $$$ = freedom to write. Say it with me now.

Every author I know wants to be successful but were you to ask them what success looks like, it’s basically, “to make enough to pay my bills.”

Dear God, can I relate to that.

At the time of this writing it is 5:00 AM Central Standard Time where I live. I’ve been up since 3:00 AM writing a novel. I’ve been doing that now since 2007 because I can’t afford to quit my day job. A day job I need to pay the bills. And, agree or disagree, it does have an impact on the quality of my writing. (Yes, yes … I know … it’s not your fault that I have to work full time and write and yes, I know that I’m a lot better off than a hell of a lot of authors.)

Still,  I know that I could be a better writer if I simply had more time to write, but I don’t. I have a mortgage and bills, just like other people. And I’m not physically starving in the sense that I’m living on Ichiban noodles – my day job allows my to buy sirloin. But I know I could write better if I were able to make enough money off the five books I have written and managed to get published. (And the sixth, which I self-published).

I think all the kerfuffle over this issue has less to do with people wanting to express a point of view that their money shouldn’t have to pay for the writer’s living expenses and more to do – way more to do – with the troubling nature by which we communicate via social media these days, the need for everybody to *be heard*. I suspect, though I have no proof, but I suspect that were one to put all the people who kicked up a stink about this in a situation where they were face to face with the author, behavior would be far different. That’s the thing about communicating online – people rarely conduct themselves with one another the way they would were they face to face with someone they disagreed with.

I support the author very much in this case. I don’t think I would have launched a campaign identical to hers, but I certainly know what she’s going through. And I’m really sick to @#$% death of online angst where readers/bloggers are at loggerheads with authors. Dear sweet baby Jesus, but we’re all supposed to be on the same team aren’t we? Authors write because they love to tell stories. Readers read because they love to read stories. Bloggers blog because they love to talk about the stories they’ve read and the authors who wrote them.

So why are we having these online dramas?

I have no idea.

I just wish it would stop but, human nature being the fickle thing that it is, I suspect it won’t. There really is no force on earth quite like social media outrage is there?

I feel bad that Stacey Jay is going through this. I feel worse that this is even being talked about at all.

(Full disclosure – I’m on Patreon – I haven’t received a penny for my proposed project.)

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I’ve got GROOVY book news!

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granny

I’m pleased to announce that my first ever middle grade book comes out this fall thanks to the good folks at Rebelight Publishing! (Yes, I’m finally being published by a CANADIAN PUBLISHER!)

The working title is A CURIOUS CASE OF MISSING CATS and here’s what it’s about:

THE. CATS. ARE. MISSING!

Fear not! Penelope Ann Pickersgill and her grandmother are on the case … assuming that Grandma Bev can coax Penelope out of the spare bedroom and into her psychedelic minivan.

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Did I mention that Penelope’s granny is from the 1960’s?

peace

Sure there’s macrobiotic food, and yes, the soundtrack from Woodstock is playing on Grandma Bev’s CD player. Yep, the house smells like incense & the Groovy Gals (a trio of hippy seniors with a penchant for civil disobedience) want to bring down City Hall. 

But … there are strange lights in the sky. Grandma Bev is certain there’s a UFO cat-abduction conspiracy afoot. Penelope, being the sensible one, thinks all the evidence points to a faceless corporation that produces GMO’s and one very angry farmer. If only she can convince her granny.

WON’T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CATS?

cat

It’s  a mad romp to uncover a mystery amid a backdrop of colorful characters and one larger than life pensioner determined to save her granddaughter’s summer.

So, pretty cool eh?

A shout out to award winning author Edward Willett for nudging me toward submitting the project. Thanks, Ed! (PS – order his books. Order E.C. Blake’s books while yer at it because that’s Edward Willett, too!)

Onward, 2015!

 

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The Last Post – 2014 Sucked. There, I said it.

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(I basically wore this face all year)

Dear baby Jesus, please let 2015 be better than 2014 because this has been my hardest year as a writer.

2014 had Strange Chemistry Books going bye-bye back on June 20th leaving all their authors left to muddle through a shit show on an intergalactic scale. I had a project I’d just pitched to them a week before, too – oh well – it’s six months after and I’m still waiting to get my rights back for Poltergeeks and Student Bodies.

Will there be a third book? Right now, I’d like to say yes but I still need the old rights back before I decide to survey the lay of the land. In truth, I’d like to get the pair of books out as reprints with another publisher but I’m not against self-publishing them instead. More to follow on that front, yo.

I became a bona-fide hybrid author in 2014, self-publishing all my back list on Amazon and Smashwords. It’s brings me in a couple of hundred bucks a month in cash money so let’s just say that self-publishing your old stuff generates enough for a car payment. I can’t say anything  bad about the experience other than it’s a huge learning curve and discoverability is the biggest BIGGEST challenge because Amazon is so damned flooded with self-published books. And it makes me wonder what a guy has to do to get noticed? I’m thinking a YouTube show with me in my underpants smoking a cigar and talking books. Call it “Old Fat Bald Guy Book Reviews” – cue the Masterpiece Theater theme in the background.

I also self-published a new book,  THE NORTH.  I made it free for a couple of weeks to see if that will garner any reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. I’m convinced the key to discoverability on Amazon is reviews. What I did learn is that by making the book free, there was NO bump in sales to my other books. Draw your own conclusions with that.

I’ve had a bit of writer’s block this year. I think brought on because of constant worry about getting rights back, my career as an author and working my tail off getting stuff onto Amazon and Smashwords. So a bit of a break from that in 2015 I hope as I’ve been writing like mad over the last month and I’ve got a few new ideas brewing away.

2014 did show me that I have some amazing, wonderful and supportive friends in publishing, though. Every single author from Strange Chemistry has been a class act despite losing out on forthcoming books and the associated trauma of a publishing house shutting its doors. We have been in constant contact with each other since June.

Strange Chemistry published books by the following authors. These are fantastic, amazing, talented people wholly deserving of your support. Do order one of their books, won’t you?

Rosie Best

Gwenda Bond

M. G. Buehrlen

Cassandra Rose Clarke

T. L. Costa

Eliza Crewe

Kim Curran

Amalie Howard

Jonathan L Howard

Danielle Jensen

Ingrid Jonach

Laura Lam

Rachel Neumeier

Lisa O’Kane

Bryony Pearce

Sarah Raughley

A E Rought

Christian Schoon

Julianna Scott

Martha Wells

On the plus side of things, I’m still plugging along. I do have forthcoming book news … it’s kind of fun and happy. Just say the word “psychedelic” and keep saying it until I announce. A small ray of light in an otherwise crummy year. And yesterday I got some other super pre-advance preliminary forthcoming book news on a project that is very near and dear to me. I have to do a bunch of emailing today. More to come on that front, too.

I also have a core group of wickedly talented authors in my writer’s group,  Saskatoon Writer’s Meetup. I would be freaking lost without them. They’re just brilliant people, so a shout-out to:

Nicole, Courteny, Pearce, Cynthia, Jenna, Elizabeth, Jen, David, Anita and Rachel Astor (who is a bestselling author so go buy her books.)

Well, there you have it. Some good news at the end of a downer of a year. I’m fortunate to have great friends, and amazing wife who supports me as I muddle through the ups and downs of being a published author. I still haven’t written that breakthrough novel yet. So … come on 2015. I hope to hell it’s a great year for you and yours.

Happy New Year!

 

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Self-Publishing Confession: Why I Changed the Cover Art

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north-KDP-covernorth cover KDP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My new book THE NORTH has only been out now for just shy of two months but the sales haven’t been as strong as I’d hoped. (About 500 copies vs more than 1200 for my still selling very strongly MARSHALL CONRAD in the same time frame).

The few reviews I’ve received have all suggested that readers liked the story very much (although some aren’t crazy there are to be two more books), so I was scratching my head at the low sales.

Yep, zombie books are a crowded market and that’s definitely one of the main reasons impacting the sluggish sales of my novel, but I wasn’t convinced that was the only factor. I decided to spend some time looking at competing titles (and there are a HELL of a lot of them) and I realized the top selling ones or rather, the most consistent selling ones have far more interesting cover art than the cover for my book. And don’t get me wrong: the cover I had made up depicted the bleakness of the world I’d created extremely well buuuuut … it is dark and kind of flat in comparison with the other better selling books out there.

So I decided, to hell with it: I’m the publisher, I’m going to get a new cover done. While the stock image isn’t exactly a scene from the novel, the image is still kind of bleak. The bright yellow contrasts the black font very well and I think it’s eye-catching. I spent the last couple of days uploading the cover art on Kindle Direct Publishing, Smashwords and creating a print cover for Create Space. It’s all done now and I guess we’ll just have to see if the new cover has greater impact. It might, it might not. Who knows?

Lesson learned though: book covers need color even if your book is bleak as hell. Might work, might not. We shall see.

 

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