Monthly Archives: August 2011

I’m only wafer thin

Had a seriously eek moment. I’ve simply run out of time. Thanks to a series of natural  and unnatural disasters that took up large chunks of time for the last 5 months until now, my usual couple of thousand words a day is down to a few hundred.

We had floods, wonky internet phonelines, and death, then the unnatural ones were members of my family throwing tantrums. You can’t get much more unnatural than that.

I endured minor glitches like Mr Whatsit being crook which landed me with all the cooking and cleaning, then the book being invisible for the first 10 weeks of publication so i had to spend much more time trying to promote it than I actually had. Still somehow optimistic – possibly demented – when asked, i said sure, I’ll get Book 2 done by Christmas.

Now i’ve realised (because i put the equation into a spreadsheet) that i’m not going to finish book 2 before Christmas 2012 unless i disengage from social media. Not completely, i’m not doing a Stephen Fry – just need to use it much less.

The problem with being a sole trader, if you’re busy, there’s nobody to mind the shop. Which is why my book’s on Smashwords, so at least there’s a shop there.

I’ll check emails and DM’s of course, (most things let me know if someone says hi, Facebook even lays guilt trips on me) and will have to trust word of mouth continues with the first book.

So far, despite being invisible for 10 weeks (and only visible since 14th August – yes, 12 days!), The Birthday Dragon is in the Smashwords Top 10 for both Best Selling AND Highest Rated Science Fiction Fantasy Novels.

No doubt i’ll surface in a short while, scream about freaking writing a bit, then disappear again. See you in November? It will be earlier, as if i know i’m not going to finish Book 2 on time, i’ll have to let people know. I really don’t want to put out something rushed (again).  I only have a small number of disciples audience, it’s not like i can afford to screw up with a shoddy sequel.

Then it will be same with Book 3. And then, i swear, i’m going to take a breath. This will probably be sometime after June 2012. And yeah, i have to move interstate in that time too, at least that’s the plan.

Free sample of Book 1 of the Polo Shawcross Journals here – The Birthday Dragon – not a children’s book. A funny, touching, story about growing up, which happens to be set in the future. As my one reviewer said (you can read it and more reviews on the link just above) “If JRR Tolkien, Douglas Adams, Jane Austen and Phillip K Dick were to collaborate on a book, they might write something like this.”

We have to mention ‘not a children’s book’ because there is a kids Euro TV show of the same name. I swear it didn’t turn up when i googled my title.

See you when i’ve put down a few thousand words instead of a few hundred.

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/


Competition Time!

Win a copy of The Birthday Dragon – just say on Twitter you’d like to enter the competition, or leave a note here – or you can email stinginthetale at hotmail dot com.

That’s all. First Competition closes in about seven hours. (Midnight Friday in Australia.) Entries must be in by then, in case i’m still awake and do the draw. Winners will be notified, and noted here and on Twitter. Oh, and on Facebook if i remember.

Again on Saturday, same drill.

And on Sunday (Australian East Coast time so Saturday US)

This is to celebrate the damned thing – aka #TheThing reaching 10 weeks of publication, the heights of the top 5 Best Rated Scifi Fantasy Books on Smashwords – and somehow managing that despite being completely invisible unless you switched the Adult filter off.

It’s not invisible any more. So you can win a copy. Enter.  It’s a damn fine book. Funny, character-driven adventure. Don’t just take my word for it, read my reviews. 😀

First Competition WON (see comments below – gave away 2 books) but all entries that didn’t win will go into next draw – will be drawn 20th August midnight my time.


Second Competition also WON – gave away 3 books – when i catch my breath, i may do another one. Stay tuned. 

Third Competition won by @_tractorgirl_ @_PDT @dhympna – congrats to all.

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/


Headdesk Times A Million

I confess, i was getting freaked. Panicking even.

Book published, check. Sending people to Smashwords, check. Them looking at the book, some of them buying it, check. Giving it away in a few competitions, check.

And where’s the through traffic? I put it down to my book not showing up in the first pages of either Best Sellers, Most Downloads (some books are free), or Highest Rated.

So, how will they find my book? I’ll have to get it rated, i don’t have enough sales to get it on the bestseller lists, and i’m not yet desperate enough to give it away to drum up publicity for Book 2.

I worked hard, trying to get people to review it – did very well, and got some wonderful reviews. Smashwords was doing what it says on the box, sort of – i wasn’t getting sales, but the sales i did get in my first month (so in the last quarter), Smashwords promptly (quarterly) paid royalties, which are generous per book. (85% of the cover price comes to me if sold from the site.)

Still, despite sitting on front page of Smashwords Highest Rated Scifi And Fantasy for weeks, nothing. For a month, nothing. Not even someone downloading the sample?

I mean, really, is my intro that bad? I decided to rewrite (to an earlier edit) Chapter 1. Waited. I rewrote the blurbs. Waited.  I rewrote them again. I cried some.  Waited. No impact. Nothing. Nobody even looking at it, unless i went on a flurry of self-promotion. Then, to make things worse, i couldn’t always find it in the listings.

I was beginning to wonder if i’d over-estimated the pull Smashwords might have by itself. I did think they had some people wandering through. Then i found someone with a bunch of fake reviews. Was everyone fake? (I reported the fake, action is pending or being taken at various sites across the net – more later.)

My book wasn’t always visible, but i assumed they had a slightly glitchy search, and shrugged it off.  What could i do? Most of the time i showed up, and always on the Sci Fi Fantasy listings. Then i disappeared from the SFF pages. Completely. I could see where i should be, the books ahead and behind me in rankings, but i wasn’t there.

I waited. Maybe questions had been asked and my book was invisible because i reported the fake? I cleared my internet cache. Another day. I cleared cookies, cache, and discovered i was still invisible. I think i cried again then.

Now, I’ve had the year (or so) from hell. I no longer have a family, and my health’s deteriorating in scary ways. My book was the one bright shining thing i had. And now what i thought was my main marketing tool was useless.

I simply don’t have time to do what i thought Smashwords could do for me. In fact, i wouldn’t have self-published if i hadn’t investigated them and self-publishing very thoroughly, and decided their way was the only feasible option – unless i went the traditional route of finding representation and a publisher.

Now, by self-publishing without a decent market, i’d completely destroyed my career. That book is the first in a series, and if i’ve published it in the wrong place, i’m screwed. I think i cried some more. Then, i pulled myself together.

There must be a reason, it had been 4 days or so, it was now reasonable to ask wtf.  So i did, politely. And she (lovely helpful lass from Smashwords wrote almost straight back) said it’s there, page 5 or so on my comp on the main ‘Highest Rated Smashwords books’ pages.

Phew, i thought, and went to look. Several hours later, having cleared everything again, i asked Twitter friends to help out. Could anyone else see it? Five couldn’t, and i wasn’t in the index either. I thought aha! But then one could see me. Huh? Oh wait, bet she’s on a Mac. She wasn’t.

She was using exactly the same WinXP with Firefox as me. Meanwhile,  i logged back in and noticed something. A tiny something, top right of the page.  Adult Filter is ON

Bah humbug to adult filters, i said to myself, and of course I switched it off and magically, there i was. At number freaking 3 on the best rated SFF! I didn’t even know i’d made it there!

I wrote back to Smashwords, so if the nice lass had similar hysterical authors, she could sort it out in a snap. Then it hit me. I would never get any passing traffic from Smashwords. The only people who would see me were those who noticed the Filter and switched it off.

I cried some more. Mr Whatsit was getting damp. Then i said, i’m taking the Adult rating off.  He thought would be fine, i checked with others who’d read it, decided to do it.  Nice lass at Smashwords said that was okay, was up to me. (But of course, i now hope nobody is horribly shocked by suicidal sheep or permanently emotionally scarred by Polo’s mother.)

Then I noticed the “voluntary” Adult rating wasn’t even on most of the Erotica on the site!  After a fairly short time, (an hour or so) my book is now showing. To anyone. I’ve already had several people look at the sample. No sales yet, but that’s cool – you don’t have to buy it if you don’t like it. I’m fair, i keep telling you.

I’ve noticed another writer like me, with a well-reviewed book (genuine reviews, i checked) who’s also marked her book Adult. I marked mine adult thinking it wasn’t a children’s book. So, if you’re self-publishing, and thinking of using Smashwords? Don’t mark your book Adult content.

I’ve just wasted ten weeks of promotion for a book nobody could see unless i linked directly to its page. Every time i posted the Highest Rated chart – unless they knew about the Adult filter and switched it off – they looked, and assumed i was posting the wrong link, mistaken, or lying because my book wasn’t there. And get this, NOBODY SAID ANYTHING. Fortunately, i’d posted the direct link a lot, but some of my best retweeted posts were for a link that didn’t show my book.

In a few days, i’ll get it together, relaunch the book with a competition, and pretty much start from scratch. In the meantime, another sample’s been downloaded, am getting steady interest now people can actually see me.

There’s a lesson here. I’m too mangled to figure it out.

****

In the meantime, The Birthday Dragon is still at Number 3 – and anyone can see me.You can also download a free sample to see if you like it.

If you have a Kindle, Smashwords provide downloads for you, as they do for every other kind of ebook reader. If you’re like me, on a PC, you can download FREE Kindle software. If you’re on a Mac they have it too.

copyright 2011 https://stinginthetail.wordpress.com/