Monday, September 22, 2014

Closing the deal.

Shockingly, I'm running out of Led to the Slaughter copies.  Ordered another 50 copies this morning.  Seems like I sell several every day I work.  I can close the deal.  I'm pretty good at hand-selling.  But each time someone walks away with the flyer instead, saying they are going to buy the ebook version -- it doesn't happen.  I can't close the deal.  Ah, well.

I show people Led to the Slaughter because I think it has a broader appeal than my vampire books.

But starting today, I'm going to point out Death of an Immortal instead.  Time to sell some of that series.

Working at Pegasus Books the next four days.  Weird how that can be intimidating when it was something I used to do as a matter of course.  In fact, I worked every day of the week for years.

But now, I'm not used to it.  Poor, poor me.

Everything feels like it is limbo.  Again, not all that different than most of my working career.   Haven't heard anything about The Dead Spend No Gold.  It's been all of two weeks since the publisher sent the contract.  (I have to remind myself that it used to take months and months in the old days.)  Waiting for the edit of Tuskers.

I've not only stopped losing weight, I've gained some.  Which is weird since I've been good about sticking to my calorie count and am walking 5 miles a day.

As soon as I can get started writing again, on October 1, (Tuskers III) I'm sure I'll feel better.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Haven't written forever!

3 weeks.  That's all it's been, but it feels like forever.

In fact, I contacted my editor about Tuskers, thinking she was only a week from finishing, and it turns out she's got 3 weeks to go.

I guess this means writing has become a habit for me, or something. 

I've got to work the next five days (Oh, the horror of it!  A full week!).

Anyway, come October 1 and I'm going to be writing Tuskers III.  Then immediately following that, I need to rewrite Wolflander to include all the changes I made with Ghostlander.  Need to have it ready for Bren when she's finished with Faerylander.

What the hell.  I'm on schedule.  I've been very productive.

So why do I feel like I've been loafing?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Don't get cocky, kid!

When Led to the Slaughter was first up on Amazon, I did some research and discovered that most books sell their best during the first 5 or 6 months.  Sure enough, almost exactly at the 6 month point, the sales took a dive.  I was hoping to have The Dead Spend No Gold out by then.

I've sold hundreds of copies in the store, which is unexpected.  I seem to sell a couple of copies at my store every time I work, and Linda sells some at her store, and occasionally they sell at my store when I'm not there.  A constant flow of tourists is great for selling the same book.

A real Catch-22.  I can sell when I work, but I can't write.

I went to the printer yesterday and had a flyer created which showed all six covers to the published or about to be published books -- including Tuskers.  Looks very impressive.  Maybe a little much.

I'm going to write Tuskers III in October.  I will have taken the whole month of September off from writing.  I still have to do taxes and this dieting, exercise thing is still going on.  I've upped the walking pace to 5 miles a day.  (I started at 2 and then went to 3 and then 5.)

However, after losing 10 pounds in 15 days, I've gained 2 pounds.  Neither number is right.  I hadn't really lost 10 pounds and I haven't really gained 2 pounds.  (I've not gone over 1500 calories on any day.)  I'm still hoping to lose 15 pounds in the month, but I'll keep going until I do.

Finally did some gardening.  My brother Mike and wife Sherry are coming for lunch today, and I wanted everything to look great.  A comedy of errors on the lawn.  My lawn mowing service skipped a week, and then when they showed up yesterday, Linda's friends had parked their car at the gate so they couldn't get in.  The lawn mower guy was going to come back this morning, but I forgot to turn off the sprinkler so I called him and said he didn't have to come.  Ah, well.

I have to say, things are going well.  Which makes me knock wood, just thinking that.  Double knock wood for saying it.




Friday, September 19, 2014

A month without writing.

I believe this is the longest stretch of not writing in the last two years. 

Next week, I'll be working the store for five days while Cameron goes off gallivanting.  Then I need to get my taxes ready, which is a once a year chore.  My brother Mike and his wife, Sherry are visiting on Saturday.  (Mike's 50 year Bend High School reunion!).

I've been chipping away at the scan of Star Axe.  Interesting to read it after all these years.  All I can see are the mistakes, but this is an existing book and I made the decision not to edit it further.  I can't resist breaking up a few of the longer paragraphs, but other than that and a few word changes and grammar changes here and there, I'm leaving it alone.  I have to save up to buy the rights to the original cover, and that of Snowcastles.  (I'm going to combine Snowcastles and Icetowers in one book.)

I'm not sure when The Dead Spend No Gold is going to be published.  Soon, I hope.  Usually, the physical version comes out a couple weeks after the ebook.  My publisher just posted a blog about how crushed he is under the workload, so...

I'm planning now to put Tuskers online as soon as I can.  Not even try to find a publisher.  I've got a cool cover ready and it is being edited, so when it comes back, there is nothing to stop me putting it up.  I'll be interested to see if a cool cover and an interesting idea are enough by themselves to sell the book.  (I suspect not...)

Got a call from someone yesterday who just wanted to tell me how much he enjoyed Led to the Slaughter.  It was someone who had read my three fantasy's and he told me how much I'd matured as a writer.  Very complimentary.  Getting this kind of response every few weeks or so is enough to keep me going.

I continue to sell Led to the Slaughter (and to a lessor extent, The Vampire Evolution Trilogy) in the two bookstores.  Much more successful at that than I ever dreamed.  Makes me wonder how much I could sell if I was at the store more often.  I'm having some new flyers printed up so I can hand them out to people who prefer to buy the ebook. 

Still making the effort, at least person to person, of promoting my books.

I'm going to keep up the full-scale effort through the publication of The Dead Spend No Gold, Tuskers I, II, and III.  Then for Faerylander, Wolflander, and Ghostlander.  Then for the third Virginia Reed book (subtitle, Ghosts of the Lost Blue Bucket Mine).

After that, I'm going to just produce the books myself and edit them myself and put them online one by one.  I'm pretty good at editing, and I'm more and more inclined to just want to get my books online without interference of any kind.

I suppose things could  change during the process of publishing the next 8 books.  That's a lot of books, and a lot could happen. 

But I will have given it a fair shot by then.

I love the writing, so I'm ready to continue whatever happens.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Writing as a kid or an adult.

I can imagine a lifestyle where I just start writing stories, filling my computer with dozens of books and hundreds of shorter efforts, doing it just for my own enjoyment.  Never show them to anyone else.  There is no end to the words that are whirling through my head.

I like writing.  I like seeing what my subconscious comes up with.  I get a euphoria when the pieces come together, and another jolt when I finish.  It is very satisfying all by itself. 

Apparently, I like telling stories to myself.

In a way, I did the above for about a year, and was incredibly productive. I was conscious that I would want to try to publish these books eventually, so there was always a part of me that was revising and editing.  But mostly, I was just enjoying the writing itself.

That all changed after a year when I start to show and submit my writing to other people.  To get editors, to try to find cover artists, to embark on rewrites, to format the books properly for online, and ultimately to try to find an publisher.

I like the writing.  I don't like just about any other aspect of the process.  I don't enjoy rewriting, I don't like the waiting, I don't like having to depend on other people, I don't like the idea that without promotion no one will ever read my efforts.

If that's true, why even bother?  Why not just write for the enjoyment?
I'm trying hard not to let the process bog me down. 

When I set out to write a book, I still try to put myself in that original pure creative state -- at least for as long as the first draft is being written.

I have to admit, there is joy in  holding a book I wrote in my hands, there is fun in seeing what artists come up with for covers, and I like see the end results of editing and rewriting. But it is frustrating getting there.

Basically it's the different between being a kid and being an adult.

I like being a kid.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Good for Alison Bechdel

I don't know why I picked up Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel.  It isn't the kind of thing I usually read. 

But something about it just caught me.  Maybe it was because I wasn't expecting anything, didn't know anything about it.  One of those time when you accidentally stumble upon something great.

It turned out to be one of the best books I've ever read, prose or graphic.  It was the final piece of the puzzle for me.  Up until then, I'd say, "Graphic novels could be as good as any novel."  After that experience, I could say, "Graphic novels ARE as good as any novel."

Anyway, Alison Bechdel just received a MacArthur genius grant, and it is well deserved.

Apparently, writing is an addiction.

Reading over my blog posts, it makes me seem very ... I don't know ... productive, at least when it comes to writing.

Which is nonsense.  I'm a lazy son of a bitch.

Here's the thing.  I'm a terrible loner.  By myself almost all the time.  When I read other people's Facebook entries, I realize that I'm a fucking hermit.  A Naif.  A Rube.

Which is fantastic if you want to be a writer.  Nothing gets in the way.  (Nobody gets in the way?)

Thing is -- I'd still be a loner even if I wasn't writing, so at least this way, something gets done...



Meanwhile I'm feeling guilty because I haven't written in two weeks.  I wanted time to recharge my batteries before I start Tuskers III.  But it feels like it is taking forever.  Which is ridiculous, of course.  Two weeks isn't long at all.

I've been preoccupied with dieting and exercise and a family visit and I have to work 3 extra days at the store next week.  But right after that, I've got to start writing again.

Apparently, it's an addiction.