Sunday, January 14, 2018

Leo and Alexa tidbit

“That’s cheating.” I accuse. That’s how she was able to get those reports done so quickly.
          Blue eyes flash, “It is not cheating. This is a way of getting my work done in a quick and efficient manner. I wouldn’t have been able to get them done without it…” She trails off. “You did it on purpose. You gave me reports to complete in time frames I wouldn’t have been able to get done if I hadn’t brought in my dictation. What a bastard you are. Screw you. I’m not doing it. I’m not quitting so if you want me gone then you’re going to have to fire me. Act like a man and do the dirty work yourself instead of bullying a woman who is half of you.”
          This bitch, the words fly out of my mouth. “Then you’re fired. Get the fuck out of my sight.”
          Her eyes go wide as she stands, despite the desk between us we’re only inches away from each other as she leans across it. “You coward! I thought Natalie was wrong, a part of me just couldn’t believe her but it’s true. You want me but since you can’t have me if you can’t fuck a woman then you don’t want anything to do with her. It’s so beyond your tiny little mind and massive ego to figure out how to interact with a woman without becoming an animal and succumbing to your base desire. I’m not leaving.”

Saturday, January 6, 2018

My Plan for 2018

Last year the pretty bad depression I had been going through finally ended. I wish I could say I had something to do with it, that I changed my habits, that I took the initiative and pulled myself out of the freefall I was in but I didn't. It stopped like it started, a hint of something different and then a 360. That's the thing about depression people don't get, so much of it is actually chemical. There is no decision making of choosing to be depressed. Yes, there are some things that can be done to help with symptoms but the underlying depression is still there.  

I'd been in fog, moving slowly trying to feel my way through every day, just getting through it. I had bouts of clear thinking but never long enough to act and engage. By the time I was good, standing on two feet ready to rumble it felt like the year was almost over. Oh, and then I lost my job. It was a good thing I wasn't depressed anymore. 

I got another and even as I took the job I was panicking. I knew I was going to be so fucked, that this was not the place to go but they were the only place that would take me. I did not have the money or the choice. Like I knew it would be it went to hell so fast it made my head spin. I've never worked in a place so completely and utterly shitty in years, since I was a teenager and desperate for a job. I had a choice, stay and most likely get fired anyway or go to an interview and thereby missing work and get fired immediately. I went on the interview and got fired. And then I didn't get the job I interviewed for. I'm laughing, it's fucking funny. It's fucked up but it's funny. 

I'm lucky, I know I am. Right now, I have support and I don't have to worry about rent, just my cell phone and car insurance. So I'm saying fuck it and going for broke-very literally. The plan is for six this year, I have one half-written and one waiting impatiently in the wings. Release for one will be March, the next one in April and then every month after that. I hope. By the time I hit May I'll know where I stand. I hopefully will be able to start covering rent because I'll need to come July. 

If I haven't been able to get the sales I need to support myself off writing full time by June then I'm going to put the writing down. I really feel like I have to put it down, shut it all down. I'll leave my books up still but no more Facebook, Twitter, marketing, promotion of any kind so I can focus on the thing that will actually pay. 

I'm going to clean up and go job hunting for a very good job or maybe I'll go back to school but it will be time to go back to the 'real' world. I don't want to and nothing feels more real than when I am writing but I can't keep going back and forth. In taking shitty jobs for a pay check with barely any focus because I'm more concerned with writing. I'll take the job and commit one hundred percent like I used to, to be present and to the best job I can, like I can admit I haven't been doing really because I was always thinking about writing and counting down the minutes until the day was over so I could go home and write. 

At some point in the future I'll come back to writing but it will be a few years for sure, especially if I go back to school. 

If I have to take the job then I'll stay in the states, I'll have to put the plan to move to France on hold as well. 

I want my sales to be awesome, but I'm over being disappointed by not hitting awesome so I'll just be happy with steady, able to support myself sales. I don't want to give up writing but I don't want to keep doing what I've been doing for the last few years either. I can't keep doing it, it's fucking exhausting. To be putting in so much of myself and not getting anything back.

If the sales keep staying steady I will begin planning my move to France by September, getting the savings built up, the passport I don't even have, working with a tutor for my French which I know will still be horrible. 

So that's the plan, that's what 2018 will be about. Working hard to make enough to live as a writer or if that's not possible putting it down and going back to day job world. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Marketing: More than just buy my book

I'm lucky, I know I am. I haven't spent a whole lot of money on marketing. I don't think more than a hundred dollars a year since I started. Although when you think of it the money I spent on covers and editing was a part of that because those are huge factors in a reader deciding to read your book. But as far as giving someone stone cash to get my books in front of prospective readers it hasn't been much, a few Facebook ads, gift cards in giveaways and that kind of thing. Yet, I've had solid sales without paying for ads. In looking at my sales and reviews my thought has been if I'm doing this good without ads, what would my sales be like if I did pay for it? I decided to look at going ahead and paying for marketing but I wasn't sure where and how exactly to go about it. So I asked fellow writers. 

The response I had was great, several ideas I'm taking a look at and I've already bought ads but one answer came up again. It's something I heard when I first started getting into this and have heard often over the years. Interact with readers, establish relationships and you'll get readers for life. 

It sounds easy, it sounds like the easiest thing to do compared to all the other things, and it's free. Unless you are like me. I've mentioned, I think, before but I don't write about it often. I am first an introvert, I prefer to live in my own world without people invading and trying to take me out. Introvert writers are pretty common, most extroverts would shrivel up and die if they were forced to sit for hours on end and write. But then you add in I also have depression and anxiety and man am I just a bundle of fun. Actually, in real life I am pretty fun, most people don't know I have depression and anxiety. To most people, I'm funny, charming, quick witted, a natural leader, and of course, a smart ass. When I'm not depressed, when I'm happy and without stress that's who I am. It's also easier to be that way when I have someone in front of me to gauge their responses. 

It isn't easy for me to interact with people on line, especially readers. I'm just confused as fuck when it comes to readers. You know how writers beg for reviews, yeah it's to help  with  sales but it's also to know what the fuck is going on with  readers. I feel so lost with readers these days. How can you read all fifteen of my books and not leave me  a single review? Do you  really like me? Would you have read any other writer the same way? I feel like a girlfriend trying to figure out a closed off man. What do you like? What do you not like? What did I do wrong? Why won't you talk to me? Can I make it right or is this the end? 

Yeah, anxiety and depression make for fun times. I, for the life of me, cannot imagine someone being interested in me. Not if they've never met me and been won over by my dimples and fly as fuck personality. So in trying to interact with readers I'm left gasping for air as I search desperately for something witty to say on Facebook in  the three seconds before another post catches  their ADD attention span. What? What do readers want from me besides to write new books? Do they actually care my favorite kind of wine is pinot noir and I can't stand beer? Does it matter that I have asthma and am allergic to cats so my fond wish of being a crazy cat lady will never be realized? (my dream is for a starter pack of six) 

I would actually love to connect with readers. With the lack of reviews and the lack of interaction it kind of feels like no one is reading or cares about what I'm writing. Deep down though I worry I'm annoying people and sound needy-that's depression and anxiety all in one. 

It's something I need to work on but it's also something I want to be and feel authentic. To me, I don't think you should be reaching out and making connections with only the question of, what can this person do for me? That's just not a way to live your life, ever. 

Any suggestions out there? I'd love to hear them. 

Happy New Year to you all. I hope this year brings you not just what you want but what you need. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

The devil is in the details

It is, it really fucking is. 

Even though I said I was fine with the lackluster sales of my latest and I am it didn't stop me from wondering why the sales weren't near what I expected. In trying to figure out where I came up short and what separated this one from the last one. Right away there is the whole sex for money thing that isn't exactly a common trope-I don't do tropes I tell stories-so I shrugged it off being out of the norm. But it does matter it wasn't something readers are used to seeing. Then there was the whole 'asshole' thing. I don't commonly write assholes because I don't like them and it isn't easy to write people I don't like. The weird thing is readers love assholes. The last one, asshole in the style of Harvey Spector from Suits, still selling like hotcakes. This guy not so much an asshole, he's pretty damn bossy have no doubt about that but an asshole who makes the h cry, not so much. These thoughts came and went but I knew I was missing something. 

So I sat down and really looked at the release. In going over the shares on blogs I was rather proud of the fact my release, the title, blurb, cover they all looked like other new releases. Oh shit, they looked like all the rest of them. I saw it, or rather didn't see it. BBW Erotic Romance is the tag after my titles on Kindle. But in an effort to be more mainstream I went with contemporary romance because let's be completely fucking honest the only difference between contemporary and erotic these days is two sex scenes. The stuff tagged as contemporary these days are as graphic as any erotic romance but they only do one or two sex scenes compared to my five or so in any book. That's not the issue, the issue is I left off BBW.

I cannot believe I left it off. It's the thing that drives my sales. It's what separates me from the writers who write the perfect men and the perfect women who fall in love and live a perfect happily ever after. Readers have been there done that, most of the readers are not perfect and they are kind of sick of reading perfect. The plain fact is it's all been done before, writers know that, readers know that.  Writers have to make their story unique to them, to give their twist. My twist is broken people and BBW women, as someone who isn't a size two I wrote what I wanted to see. Then I found out what a difference it makes when I had two releasing at once when one was 'normal' size and the other was BBW I didn't tag it as BBW I just mentioned in the blurb she wasn't a size two. In one day the BBW sold 19 and the other book sold 1. You better believe it clicked right then and there for me. I had another BBW already that always sold more than all my others I thought it was because the blurb was hot, the blurb was hot and it talked about how he wanted her even though she bigger. Ohhhhh.....

Yeah, I missed a huge opportunity because of something so small. There I was looking like all the other new releases, there was nothing to distinguish my book from everyone else's. 

Well, fuck 

Monday, December 11, 2017

Planning: Without a plan are you destined to fail?

I'm not much of a planner. I have a hard time with my depression when I fail to meet a goal, it usually sends me into a bought of depression that wipes out everything I had accomplished to that point. Yet, the more I look at others who have reached their goals one thing is clear, they sat down with a plan. I did have a plan when I started. Write and self-publish seven books and have one for free. I did that and it was more of a success than I thought it would be but that was it for my plan. I didn't plan anything beyond that, not when I would finish my next books, when I would release, what advertising if any I would do. After the first few months of great sales everything kind of faltered. Oh, wait, I don't have a million dollars now? Huh. 

So I went back and I wrote two more. Then I released them and it was great. I had sales off my new ones and old ones and then nothing. So then I did it again, two more and then nothing. Okay, I think I see a pattern here. 

As crazy as it seems I knew the key was writing more and putting out more. But the problem was I was writing, finishing, publishing and then going to sit down and write the next one. This is what I see other writers doing. But is it? I joined a writers group and yes there are several writers doing the write, edit, publish then sit and write again. There are also who finish 2 or 3, yes many of them are for series, but there are just as many who do it as a plan of rapid release. Usually rapid release is for serials or series but it doesn't have to be. It can also be and what I'm going to use it for-to establish a schedule of writing and publishing. It worked for me when I first started. I liked it because I liked being able to see everything as a whole. Not going to lie it was hella stressful but I'm dealing with more stress in the one or two books a year. 

Then I looked at the whole, when am I going to release issue. Both January and February just seem to full so I looked at the next release for March, my problem has been in the past to finish and then wait until I was done with it being published to start or finish the next book. But the turmoil and stress of a release jacks up all the good flow to just sit down and write again. 

So I've actually sat down and made a plan. It's interesting what happens when you write stuff down and start looking at a calendar. At first it was finish four and have them ready to go by March for release 3/20 then I really started looking. With that release I learned (like I said you learn something with every release) to have the book I'm releasing 100% done and edited at least 30 days before the release date if I'm doing ARCs and I want to do ARCs. So, wait if I want to put the first chapter of the next book in the back of the first then I need 2 books 100% so that it's edited-no cover is fine but it's the least of all my worries (seriously, Carrie at Cheeky Covers best fucking decision I've ever made). Okay, edits from an editor take 2 weeks then me a week at least. If that's my time frame then 2 books need to be written and edited by me and in an editor's hands by no later than February 1st. 

Oh, shit. I know readers are out there thinking, What's the big deal? 

Despite what readers think I don't just kick these things out. Maybe if I didn't have a day job then two weeks would be all the time I need but for me it's about a month from start to finish-in the best times. Minimum of two books in six weeks, oh shit. 

Yep, it's not going to be easy but it's totally doable-even for me. So if you see me around on Facebook or Twitter tell me to get the fuck off and go write. 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Is timing everything?

With this latest release I've been sitting on it for what felt like forever. I also haven't released anything in going on eighteen months. I wanted to put out one before the end of the year, I could have waited until December but I really believed that if I released in November there would be enough time before the end of the year to make some badly needed connections with new readers before they got their new Kindle at Christmas. Although I heard people say November was a bad release time I shrugged it off and moved forward. And my latest release feels like a flop. 

I'm pretty sure I did pretty much everything I could do for it to be success, using the things I've learned so far. Did I learn something new this time around? Fuck yeah, I learn something new with every release. I learned that you are never as prepared as you think you are. I really thought I would have everything ready by the end of October, nope there was a delay. Did it hurt me? Feels like it maybe did. 

I don't regret going with Give Me Books promotions for this release. At a cost of $150 it hurt to fork over the cash, it didn't give me the sales I wanted. What it did give me is access to bloggers who know my name now. It will come into play in the future. I feel comfortable saying I will use Give Me Books in the future, with my next one? I don't know. I'd like to but it will depend on several things, mainly money. 

I'm not going to hit even half of the sales I did with my last title but shockingly I'm not crushed, not moping, not whining. Not every release will hit out of the park, not every penny spent is repaid immediately. I'm playing the long game here, just because I'm not making five hundred in a week off this book doesn't mean I won't make five hundred off this release over the next year. The feedback has been great, I appreciate every review, other buys have happened. This is another log on my fire. 

Unlike a poor response usually does I'm not questioning if I should keep going. I'm already going back to the story that slipped in a few weeks ago but got put on the back burner with the stress of this latest release. Five, I have five more to write, get edited, and put out this coming year. I don't have time to waste. I've been writing this weekend and I'm looking at the calendar for the next release and wondering when it should release. Hint, it won't be in mid-February when a thousand other romances are releasing. I do think I learned something about timing. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

Looking for a new editor because I am a horrible person

Crazy bad news, my editor is going through health issues. I love my editor, she gets me and I know she's made me a better writer, made my stories better, stronger. She just found out about what she's going through, it's tough really fucking tough. There is no way I could truly imagine what she is going through. When she gave me the news she offered to let me out of the scheduled date of 12/7 for my next story, I didn't even consider going with someone else. As she offered me the out she told me she wasn't expecting to stop working. With that I told her, I wanted to keep her as my editor and the date of 12/7. 

Now comes the part where I am a horrible, shitty person. The edit I got back left me completely underwhelmed and frankly unhappy. She's usually very thorough with insightful, fit for me comments and suggestions. Basically once I'm done with either accepting, usually, or rejecting her changes it's good to go. This time I have had to print out and edit once I finished her edits. As I was printing I was telling myself I was over thinking it, of course it was good but before I even got to page 30 there was something on almost half the pages. It's completely understandable she has her mind on things more important like her health but I spent half a recent paycheck for my edit. I paid for a clean manuscript, and I didn't get it. 

I'm going to hell because I don't want to keep the December scheduled date for my next one. I feel like shit at the thought of telling her that I changed my mind. For the first time in practically ever I'm going to lie for a good reason. I'm going to tell her that I'm no where near done. I suck, this sucks the whole thing is shitty and I wish it were different. But I just do not have the time and money  to edit, yes I do actually edit myself twice then send it to someone paying half my check and then still need to  edit again. 

I hate this, I love my editor and the relationship we had the idea of trying to capture something like that again...I don't know. I don't want to do it but this next year is incredibly important, five books at least that need to be done and out and with them I should be able to make my move to France and to writing full time. But it only works if the books I put out are as good or better than what I have already done. 

So, yeah I'm looking for a new editor. Any suggestions?