Greetings and Salutations!

Welcome to the longest-running* yet least-read** blog on the internet! Here you'll find me writing about all the things that I write about, which strikes me, just now, as somewhat recursive. In any case, enjoy :)

* not true ** probably true

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I got a little lucky/Joe Konrath's How to Succeed

I do wish iTunes/iBooks wasn't a walled garden, so I could share links, but right now 'The Thief Who Spat in Luck's Good Eye' is:

  • #1 in Top Epic (Fantasy) Free Books
  • #9 in Top Fantasy Free Books
  • #18 in Top Sci Fi & Fantasy Free Books

Thagoth comes in at #190 in Top Epic Paid. It doesn't make the more general categories' Top 200, but that's fine. I'm more than happy with what I have. Hell, I'm freaking ecstatic.

Why did 'Thief Who Spat' take off on iBooks? I honestly don't know. I think that the cover helped; compared to many of the indie free books it's 'competing' against, it has a clean, professional look (at least to my biased eye). But honestly, I'm reminded of something Joe Konrath wrote, whichI will now post here in its entirety:

Q: What's the secret to selling a lot of ebooks?

Joe: There is no secret. Write good books, with good descriptions, good formatting, and good cover art, sell them cheap, and keep at it until you get lucky.

Q: I have an ebook, but it isn't selling well. What should I do to market it?

Joe: Write another ebook, and another, and keep at it until you get lucky.

Q: I've changed my cover art 56 times, but sales are still flat.

Joe: You need to keep writing until you get lucky.

Q: Joe, I've followed your blog, and you're the reason I decided to self-publish. How did you get so many sales?

Joe: I kept at it until I got lucky.

Q: Joe, you're a pioneer. A hero. A guru. You deserve all the success you've gotten. To what do you attribute your success?

Joe: I simply got lucky.

Q: You talk about luck a lot. How do I improve my chances at getting lucky?

Joe: Keep writing good books, with good descriptions, good formatting, and good cover art, and sell them cheap.

Q: Aren't talent and hard work more important than luck?

Joe: They can help you get lucky.

Q: I've done everything you say, but I'm still not selling. What's the problem?

Joe: You haven't gotten lucky yet.

Q: Isn't the self-pubbing road paved with riches?

Joe: No one deserves to make money writing. The world doesn't owe you a living, and you aren't entitled to huge sales. You simply need to work at it, until you get lucky.

Q: How long does it take to get lucky?

Joe: It took me twenty years and over two million written words.

Q: What if I never get lucky?

Joe: Then you didn't try hard enough, or long enough. Or maybe your writing simply isn't good enough.

Not everyone can be a Major League Baseball player. It takes a combination of traits, including luck.

But everyone seems to think they can be an author, simply because they can string some words together.

Some poorly written ebooks will sell well, just like some poorly written legacy books sell well. But if you write shit, you're harming your chances at getting lucky.

I believe cream will rise to the top, and shit will sink. Ebooks are the perfect opportunity to test this theory, because there are no longer any barriers to entry. Prior to ebooks, legacy gatekeepers decided what got published, and even then many good books failed to find an audience because they never had the proper chance to.

Ebooks have an infinite shelf life, and ebook stores have infinite shelf space. If your book is good, it has forever to be discovered.

Forever is a long time to find an audience.

Q: Can it really take forever to be successful?

Joe: I wrote the book ORIGIN in 1999. It's the book that landed me an agent. She tried mightily to sell it on three separate occasions, in 1999, 2005, and 2008, garnering more than fifty rejections by every major house in NY.

Right now, ORIGIN is ranked #274 in the Kindle store, and has received over one hundred 5 star reviews. I've sold tens of thousands of copies.

It took more than ten years for ORIGIN to find its audience. I'm going to write a sequel to it, because I get so much fan mail about that book.

You can quit if you want to. Or you can stick with it until you get lucky.

The are no easy answers. No quickie fixes. No direct paths to success.

No one is forcing you to do this. You have to love it, and to believe in yourself. Even when you fail.

Especially when you fail.

If you aren't failing, you aren't trying hard enough.

And if you aren't trying hard, it's going to take a lot longer to get lucky.

For posterity

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

#1 in iTunes

The Thief Who Spat in Luck's Good Eye is the #1 free Epic Fantasy on iTunes.

That is all.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Trigger Reflex is now available

The monster hunting anthology The Trigger Reflex is now available at Amazon for the low, low price of $3.99 (US). My vampire hunter story 'Night & Day' pulls rearguard on this one, being the last in the anthology.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Yes, it's the 'I Quit' post you knew was coming. You don't have to read it, but I DO have to write it.

As you may have surmised, I'm in the process of quitting smoking around here. At the risk of being boring I've got some thoughts I'd like to share about smoking and about quitting.

  • I consciously started smoking when I was 17, but in reality I have been addicted to nicotine literally all my life. My mom smoked during her pregnancy with me, and there was always someone smoking in the house growing up. I'd do my homework in the bar my mom managed, back in the day when beers cost a buck and everybody smoked in the bar, rather than huddled outside. My nurse grandmother smoked. Both my siblings smoked. Freaking everyone in my life smoked. Upon reflection, it's amazing it took me seventeen years to become an active smoker rather than just a passive one.
  • I've tried to quit many times in my life, using every method available except for hypnosis and acupuncture.
  • I've only had three periods in my life where I was smoke free long enough for the nicotine to leave my system: * At 19, during Army basic training (cold turkey, didn't even miss them, but stupidly picked up a pack the day of graduation 'because I could').  * At 24, due to a bet (who can go the longest without smoking a  cigarette? $50 says it's me) Also cold turkey, lasted a month, gave in/talked myself into listening to my psychological 'need'. Of course I still needed it. The bet was cigarettes, and I was finding every other form of nicotine when the cravings got too bad. I was keeping myself in a state of sporadic withdrawal. I just didn't understand it, then. I did learn that having a group of people to keep it positive made a huge difference. * At 37/38 (can't remember exactly at the moment), using Champix/Chantrix. Used it twice, actually. Details are a bit fuzzy. First time I suspect it caused depression, second time I know it caused some severe pain. Side effects just weren't worth it.
Lesson learned? Cold turkey works, if you do it right and don't get stupid. Other methods don't work/keep you hooked/have serious drawbacks.


For the non-smokers 

Here's something you should really sort out with yourself: Do you want to see a smoker quit, or do you want to have someone to look down on? You know what I mean, don't try and pretend otherwise.

Real disgust: Smoker gets into a lift, reeking of the half-cigarette he's tucked into his pocket to save for later.
Fake disgust: You see a smoker 15 meters away, immediately cover your nose and begin to 'cough'.

So which is it? Loving kindness, or somebody to loathe?

Another thing: You don't have to tell an adult smoker what he/she is doing is stupid. They know. They know all the facts, and beating them over the head with them isn't going to make them stop smoking. It's going to make them feel doomed and miserable and fatalistic, because they are addicted

No, not like you are addicted to Thin Mints or beef jerky. Addicted like the guy with a needle in his arm in a flophouse with feces smeared on the walls. 

He doesn't give a shit about your 'Oh, that's sooo disgusting. What a filthy habit.' It doesn't even register.

Nicotine affects the same area of the brain as heroin, for pete's sake. So you can take your statistics and shove- er, go make origami with them. The time for scare tactics is before they have their first puff. After the addiction has set its hooks in,  the only external factor that has a reasonable chance of success is loving kindness, steady positive pressure, and perhaps real heart-to-heart talks about 'why' they smoke (triggers), what it's like when they can't (withdrawal), and specific ways in which life would be better without the addiction ('you won't die so soon' just doesn't cut it).

Ok, that's my rant for day 6 of quitting. Think I'll go have a smoke now.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Another new story

I wanted to do one of those satirical little posts that riff off the Mastercard ads where the punchline is 'blah blah blah... priceless' but then I realized a) that was done to death and  b) meh. So instead I'll just say that I've completed another new short story, proving to myself that the last one was not a fluke and that real progress is being made, creatively, around here.

Also, this: