Sunday, May 1, 2016

If you don't work for free why should we?

It's happened and I've been pissed and I wrote a blog about it but of course it changes nothing. Then something came through my Facebook feed and I just lost my shit. Because I know, I fucking know this shit for brains bitch isn't alone-there are readers out there who want the same damn thing and they might say no but their actions in returning books they've read tell another story. 

I don't know Elizabeth York yes we are Facebook friends but I have never posted on her page or the other way around. I can't even say if I've liked anything she's posted or shared anything until today. But when I saw what she posted today I feel for her and I couldn't imagine being on the receiving end of this email then insane fucking instant message. 

This is apparently what started it all:

Wow! I am completely speechless. I had seen one of the books purchased were returned and then I noticed more... Didn't think anything of it until I got a email. I don't even know how to reply.
"Ms. York, I wanted to tell you that your books are above par and you should be proud. I was able to read them all, but sadly I returned them all because they range from $0.99 to $2.99 and that is just too much for me to spend on a ebook. Can you please make all your books in the future free so that I do not have to return it?"

Then when Elizabeth shared it and blocked the psycho she friended Ms. York again and let loose a deluge of steaming pile of off her fucking meds. Yes damn it, yes you should pay for the stories in a writer's head because yeah it was in a writer's head then they sat the fuck down spent their time writing, revising, and created a product which you consumed. 

I've been vocal in the past about not pricing myself low and how I don't want a reader who is only willing to pay .99 cents for my books. Quite frankly the writers that price their stuff so low make it worse for everyone else I fucking wish they would stop. If your work is longer than a short story, and you have paid for it to be edited and a person can get about two hours out of it, pricing it at 99 cents places little value on your hard work. It might take less than two hours or more maybe even more but it sure as fuck didn't take that long to write. It was days, weeks, for some maybe even months of starting, stopping, finding the right words and self-sacrifice to get those words out the first damn time, revise, money spent on covers, editing, more time on edits more time on getting the word out, bothering bloggers, beta writers, drumming up people willing to read and review. This is fucking work and to say hey yeah a dollar will do is complete and utter bullshit because we don't walk away with a dollar- thirty fucking cents is all we get, not even enough to make a damn phone call. So when I see these writers pricing for 99 cents it makes me fucking nuts but what can I do but shrug and move on? 

It happens every damn month, returns from assholes who I know read the books, probably read more than one and then returned them. I gave you two hours of enjoyment and you pay me back my returning it. A movie these days can cost $10.00 or $11.00 depending on your city, when the movie is over whether you loved it or hated it do you go up to the box office and ask for a refund? A meal at a fast food place runs on average between $7.00 to $12.00 and it usually only takes fifteen minutes to eat and keeps you full about three hours. When you're done do you go up to the cashier and ask for your money back? That cup of coffee that gives you your fix in the morning runs about $5.00 to $7.00 it takes you maybe ten minutes to drink about two hours of zip, when the caffeine buzz is over do you go back for a refund? No, just fucking no. Would you ask any of those people to give you anything for free???? When you go to work does your boss say you won't be paid for the first half of the day and you think that's okay? Of course not! 

So why the fuck is it okay for you to bitch, moan, complain, about pricing and return a book you read??? Why? Please explain to me why that is acceptable. Months, I spent months on that and you read the blurb and you read the sample and you decided to press buy and when it was over you hit return and took back the paltry two fucking dollars I made back. I just paid $335 for a current book to be edited, most of my books because of their length run about $250 to $300 for editing. Three hundred dollars and you can't pay less than $5.00 for it? 

So please sign this petition. Do I really think anything will change? Not really but maybe in a few years this will stop. If even one asshole who reads and returns stops because of it then it's worth it. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

The Importance of a Beta Reader

I'm doing my usual thing on Twitter if you tweet me I do my best to tweet you back. Honestly sometimes I look at the tweet but not usually, just checking to make sure it isn't crazy dirty otherwise I hit retweet and move onto the next. The person catches on if she retweets me I'll retweet her so the next day I retweet again and this time I read it and out of curiosity click on the link, a professional beta reader hmm. As I've whined I'm having problems with my latest story. While I have now finished, again, and am now really happy it reminded me that I don't have any beta readers, haven't for the last few books. While I miss them the whole process of finding and getting honest good feedback from a beta reader is fucking exhausting. 

I checked out the website or whatever and holy shit she nailed it dead on. You send out the email and you get a great response of people who want to read then nothing then a few weeks on you prod people and less than half respond to you. Then you get emails of it was good but nothing on how to make it better. I realized it pretty much didn't work having people I knew read because even though I practically begged them only one person ever told me one thing out of seven books that I could change and I did it and I think it made the story stronger but one person, seven books one fucking thing? Don't even get me started on the emails that I got after I published the freaking book that trailed in of it was good. My editor was kind enough to make a note on one of my last books that I think was a huge catch and slightly embarrassing BUT I shouldn't have depended on her for that and I can't in the future. 

At first I kind of got annoyed at once again paying for an aspect of publishing. So many readers out there wouldn't charge me then I thought about it. Do I want the best for my story and frankly my nerves? How fair is it exactly for me to ask someone to take time out of their life to read my book and get back to me with a thorough list of what isn't working and how to make it better? If someone who already likes your writing is reading they probably are worried about ticking you off or insulting you by telling you a scene didn't work or they didn't feel a connection with a character or the fatal but all important, the characters lacked depth. All fixes that can be done but not if you don't know about them until you hit publish and you get that feedback in the form of two or three stars. 

If you have good beta readers let them know how much you appreciate them and if you don't then maybe a professional beta reader is the best way to go.

Monday, April 11, 2016

When the muse doesn't play nice

Three days ago I'm loathing my story. I wanted to burn it page by page slowly. I wanted to take a gun to the huge wad of paper I edited then still hated. I wanted to trash it and never give either one of the characters another thought. I should have known when it took absolutely fucking ever to finish the first draft and I had a hangover of epic tequila proportions. It lasted two days then I was excited, so damn excited to read through and edit before printing out to edit (never skip the print out edit-you miss so damn much with computer only). Yet as I read through on the computer I was all huh then what the fuck then oh fucking shit-I felt nothing for these characters, no connection whatsoever. Uh the fuck oh. If I'm the writer and I don't feel anything how the hell is a reader supposed to feel? 

I stepped away from it midway through. I froze. I had written another one two weeks before it and I loved it (ego aside I think it's fucking great and I can't wait until others read it) so what the fuck happened? I had no idea what to do so I did nothing. I tried reading other writers and no offense to anyone, I hated everything I read-it wasn't the stories or the other writers-all I could do was put my story against theirs and judge everything badly. I gave up and read my own past stories. Okay I had done it once before I could do it again. This wasn't the first time I had written something then hated it once I was finished. I took the past story and gutted it entirely and now it's one of my personal favorites.

As I sat there I actually contemplated shelving it and starting a new one entirely. Problem-I only have two weeks before it needs to go to my editor that's not enough time to start from a new beginning. Suck it up I told myself, at the heart of it I loved this story I want people to be able to read it. I remembered my initial excitement and held onto it. 

Okay let's do this again. I went back and started editing. I couldn't take it anymore it sucked so badly. So I'm now it's the middle of once again rewriting it. I'm taking it page by page, sentence by sentence and chapter by chapter and damn is it taking forever. BUT I already I feel so much better about it. The h isn't what I thought she would be, she's better and H is asserting himself making him a better rounded character which was needed but I lost sight in what I thought I wanted. I forgot the first rule, let the voices speak for themselves, they know what they want to say. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Will people who return books stop being dicks?

You have finished reading the book everyone says is amazing it has about three hundred five star reviews but when you finish as a reader the most you can muster up is maybe three stars. Okay, so it wasn't the story of the year for you or even the month that doesn't mean you get to ask for a refund from Amazon. Because here's the most important question-would you do that at Barnes and Noble or any other place you bought a book and it wasn't what you were expecting? Really? You would take your book up to the counter and say please give me back my money for this book, here's my receipt. 

Honestly? I don't believe you would. Amazon with it's big giant blank face that just says hit this and we'll give you your money back in 3-5 days. Not a disapproving librarian looking person asking why you are returning the book with a hint of a sneer. Because yes returning a book you've read is a shitty thing to do.

Seriously, if you return a book you've read you are a dick. Pure and simple. 

I get it, it wasn't quite what you expected but here's the thing you have the ability to read up to twenty percent of the book FOR FREE it gives you the ability to see, are there typos, does the writer's voice sound stilted, is the plot ridiculous? That twenty percent is buyer beware, if after twenty percent you still want to keep reading then you have bought it then you own it. 

If you want to try a book for free, then go get a fucking library card. 

I will say that I don't think refunds should be forbidden I have accidentally hit one click before but it was on a book I did want to read so I said fuck it and kept it. For accidental purchases I'm thinking 48 hours tops after that then no you shouldn't be able to get your money back. 

The same thing with those who read pirated books. Because both things are taking money from a writer's pocket. If you really can't afford something that usually costs less than $5.00 yet provides you with hours of entertainment then again get a library card and stick with those books. Because if you wouldn't do something when someone is watching or in person, don't hide behind the electronic anonymity. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Editing, one size doesn't fit all

Yep, I screwed up and released my initial stuff without paying for an editor and I lost sales because of it, I know it was the wrong thing to do. So I went back and got everything and the new ones were edited before they came out. At the time I used two editors because of schedules and honestly money, the guy could work faster and was cheaper, the other woman I liked but she was squeezing me in and it would take more than two months for all my stuff to be edited. Before I used the guy who had I had been referred to by fantasy with a hint of romance writer. I asked him, if he was okay with editing, romance/erotic stories he said yes. He did his job but now I can honestly say I won't use him again because he might have done the job but he didn't respect my writing and he did the most basic. 

I'm picky, I'll be the first person to admit it. I demand a lot of myself and I expect to get what I pay for whether it's from the clothes I buy to the computer I buy to even the doctor I use. I actually went to six different doctors before I found one where I liked both the doctor as well as the front staff. If you are paying for something, get your money's worth. Sure word of mouth is a great way to find a good editor but if you don't feel the person works well with you then don't use them. The editor I'm waiting to work with is awesome, she really did not just a great job of editing but her suggestions fit my story well and the way I write, because it was clear she wasn't just looking for what I did wrong she was looking to make my story better and I think that's what a good editor is really suppposed to do. 

Don't do what I did, don't release your story without an honest to goodness editor you pay for to edit. But also if you don't feel like you two mix don't be afraid to say so and find another because there are a lot out there, you'll find one that fits you. 

Now am I going to share my editor's no freaking way.

Monday, February 22, 2016

When the words just won't come

If you've written anything longer than a grocery list then there have been times when the words won't come. For those of us with a day job, not trying to pull the day job card, but I really think it's true. Any time you have to stop then try to start again it's harder for the words to come or maybe you stopped thinking you were already to one point but that is so not where you are-cuz your mind moved the story along without you-that has happened to me more than a few times. 

My very first story took a year to write because it sat in a drawer for two months because the words wouldn't come-serious. 
Anyway for whatever reason you're sitting there and nothing is happening and the longer nothing is happening the more freaked you get. Deep breath and try a few things first. 

1. The one that seems to work best for me is to start reading what you've written so far, it puts you back in the world, now it might seem time consuming if you're at 36k or 55k words in but hey do you want to write or not? You can also edit as you go along, a dropped word or missing, it isn't really a waste of time. 

2. So if you're only five thousand words in the above might not help. Okay, was there another scene further ahead you have planned out, write that. Usually by then you're deep enough in your story you can go back to where you left off to start again.

3. Neither of the above working for you? Maybe is the time to write your blog post for next week. Really. Often it's just the need to write something that will get the words flowing. 

4. Pick anything from the current story you're writing, a name, a supporting character and write five thousand words about them, from anything to how they're day went to why they are the asshole they are. 

5. Desperation, write anything and I mean anything just start typing. Is he in his office? Have him pick up the phone and make him have a conversation. Is she crying over him? Make her stop and go get a carton of ice cream to eat instead. My personal horror story-cuz I am really not used to sex scenes- they are about to have sex and you stopped. Just power through with an off the wall, porno inspired sex scene that might not even make sense. Just start writing and you can fix it when you're done. Maybe the blah scene will inspire a better scene or another story. 

6. Nothing.....really? You tried all of the above and nothing is happening? Then maybe you just need to set it aside and move onto something new. Which hugely sucks, especially if you are on a schedule but if after all that no words are coming then maybe right now isn't the time for them to come

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

My bad

I haven't been keeping up with my blog like I should but it's for a good reason. I promise!!! After a dry spell that was beginning to feel like the Sahara and made me question my entire life up to this point (so we writers are a little dramatic whatev) I finally finished a story!! And then, another one appeared out of like nowhere and I'm working on that one now(wrote this before I finished the seond-holy crap-I'm back baby). Yay!!! No more rocking on the floor in the corner until my back hurts causing me to throw myself on the bed rocking back and forth and then I call asleep because my bed is just soft. 

Of course this is me so there will be a bit of a delay before I put anything out. I need the money for my awesome editor and I need covers. That's probably a two month delay however I'm hoping that will give me time for a third. I have also had an 'aha' moment that for indie's to keep interest and attention from new readers it's also a good idea to put out a new story every month instead of dropping everything I've got done at one time. Although it sure is awesome to the sale of several different books in one month meaning someone liked one and just kept going through my others. 

Then I had a wow moment of the weekend after Christmas where I sold maybe fifteen to twenty books, and I realized people had used their Amazon gift card on me. Not gonna lie, I got a little teary eyed on that one. 

I promise to do better even though I didn't start the year out quite right. Which reminds me, for my next post please hit me up for cover artists for my next post, whether you are a cover artist or have a go to. Please send to my email: 
Now I won't promise to use everyone but if I like them then I will, especially if I have mentioned them before.