Blogophilia 28.9

random photos

Blogophilia is the fun blog group where Martin gives participants prompts to use in their weekly blog. This week’s prompts are:

  • Ecrits Blogophilia Week 28.9 Topic: “I Had Been Waiting All Day”
  • Bonuses:
  • Hard (2 pts): Include the titles of 3 movies DIRECTED by Eric Weston
  • Easy (1 pt): Mention “Xena Warrior Princess”

I missed last week’s introduction post, but that’s okay because I am going to do it this week instead, even though I don’t get a wildcard for it.


me, with some great cards I won

I’m Jo, and I have done Blogophilia off and on since MySpace days. I disappear a lot, but I usually find my way back because I enjoy it. As for “about me”, I live with too many family members in a DIY house in Villisca, Iowa that will never be finished. I’m the author of the Amaranthine vampire universe, I illustrate the Terrible Turtle Conspiracy webcomic (written by my evil twin Jonathan), and I do a billion and one other odd ball things. In all I am pretty boring.

Oh, and I play Pokemon Go.

I realize in some circles that is Evilspeak, or a real Pressure Point, and I don;t know why. It’s not as if I’m Xena Warrior Princess with a high Body Count. I’m just walking around town, looking for Pikachu.

Not that I go to do much of that today. It started out sunny and with a visit from someone we went to school with. he was actually a friend of my brothers, but like all the friends of my brothers I was always fond of him in a little brother sort of way. unfortunately I caught him just as he was leaving, but since he’s living not too far away we’ll have to get together again.

I had been waiting all day (actually all week) to get some stuff done outdoors, but then the clouds came rolling in and brought with it a lot of rain, so as they say, that was that. Hubby did get some work done on my website – he’s working on a new version that looks the same (at least on the computer) but is mobile friendly, but ti means a reprogram one page at a time. Not sure how far he is. I also worked on my short story for the Blood moon anthology. I’ve been stuck for days, but finally changed which character’s PoV it is in and rewrote everything I had and now I think it is moving again. I hope so, because it is due September first. (eek!)

And now, I leave you with some rain photos from my cellphone. (lucky you!)

Have an old friend visiting kind of day!


P.S. for once I am going to try picture guesses: Bluebird of happiness, bluebird of glumness, feeling blue, new friend, blue friend – and I’m out.

The Secret to Making Tons of Money as an Author.


pennies for the author

The secret to making tons of money as an author is: There is no secret.

Yeah, that’s right. There’s no “If you just do X you’ll make it big.” It’s not just about marketing, it’s not just about a good book, it’s not just about great writing, it’s also about luck.

Otherwise 50 Shades of Gray would never have been big.

I got into a discussion on Facebook today where I tried to explain that to a fellow author who was feeling down about her lack of success (with only one book out, I think she’s doing pretty good if she’s sold so much as one copy to a stranger. I only sold 25 my first four months, all to people I knew), but of course that explanation was met (by someone else) with the same old same old:

“If you just do this, this, and this, you’ll be a bestseller like these ten authors I know about.”

I’m sure they meant well, but it’s this kind of comment that discourages authors – and especially NEW authors – because they see all of this “Do this. Do that. Do another thing.” and if they can’t do all of it – or even worse if they do all of it – and still don’t get “successful”, then their natural reaction is, “It must be because I/my books/my writing sucks.” Even if it doesn’t.

Half of Indy authors earn less than $500 a year and if we’re being honest and really looking through Amazon rankings and what not, as another site said, 90-95% of books never even make 100$. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hope for more, work for more, but at the same time it also means we shouldn’t beat ourselves up, make ourselves cry, or want to give up a dream because we’re not on the bestseller list. Thousands of other authors aren’t either. And, having been there, I can tell you that you don’t stay there forever, anyway.

But we’re in a business where sales numbers matter, and we all “know” that everyone else is magically super successful. These estimations are based on how other authors comport themselves, not real numbers, because no one is sharing real numbers except those few who are making it big. Why? Because if we admit our book didn’t sell a million copies, we’re admitting failure. We’re admitting that our work must be bad, that we must be bad. We haven’t advertised enough. We haven’t worked hard enough. Plus, if we let readers know that the book isn’t making millions, they won’t want to read it. People read 50 Shades because “everyone else was reading it”, not because it’s good.

Well, I’m going to commit the cardinal sin. Here are my sales numbers of all time through July 2016 (I am NOT including all the free short stories or your brain would melt, just the free novel length books)

  • 2,892  – Shades of Gray Paid (9/09 – 11/14)
  • 18,058 – Shades of Gray FREE (11/14 – 7/16)
  • 1,815 – Legacy of Ghosts (10/10 – 7/16)
  • 1,178 – Ties of Blood (9/11 – 7/16)
  • 784 – Ashes of Deceit (6/12 – 7/16)
  • 590 – Heart of the Raven (3/13 – 7/16)
  • 454 – Children of Shadows (3/14 – 7/16)
  • 325 – Clash of Legends (3/15 – 7/16)
  • 158 – Masque of the Vampire (4/16 – 7/16)
  • 324 – Vampire Morsels Paid (7/12 – 5/15)
  • 489 – Vampire Morsels FREE (5/15 – 7/16)

Have I made more than 100$ per book? Yes. Did it take a lot of time? YES! I have between seven and twelve editors and/or beta readers for each book. I do eight or more rounds of editing myself to make sure I am crafting a good final product. On the promotional side, I have a website which is maintained and updated constantly, a blog that’s updated constantly. I do parties, facebook takeovers, blog hops, blog tours, and giveaways. I have a newsletter and a street team where I do monthly giveaways for “helping” me promote. I write and publish free short stories that tie into the book universe (there are currently 41 free shorts total!). I’ve gotten included in anthologies. I do guest posts and author interviews all over the place. I’ve done podcasts and I blog on the Helping Self Pubbed Authors blog. I took a free online course on website optimization full of tips and tricks (including making your clickable button a contrasting color to your site to make it more click-able). I’ve studied about, and created, marketing graphics- optimized for  so-called maximum effectiveness. I’ve sought out reviews, hired people to handle my blog tours, jumped on twitter, used triberr, made tie-in boards on Pinterest (like my characters and places they have traveled). Basically, I’ve done anything and everything that is suggested for “success”, including keyword optimization “classes” and paying for listings on book bargain sites. I have done all the “right things” and, yet, you can tell with some simple guesstimation-math that I haven’t made a fortune. I haven’t even made enough to say I make a living.

So why is this? Is it because, as many would like to so casually say, I just haven’t done “enough”?  That I just don’t live and breathe writing every second of the day? That I’m not a *real* writer? Is it because my books are bad? Because if they’re good and I’m really trying I’d be a monetary success by now. I’d have tons of money. I’d be rolling in the easy dough.


Wrong. Because writing is not a get rich scheme. Period. Sure, there are going to be a few success stories. Some people can get rich at anything, but just like in traditional publishing, those are few. How many Stephen Kings are there? How many JK Rowlings? How many midlist people you have never even heard of?


So, my point is not to say “boo hoo” (I’m happy with where I am). It’s NOT to ask for your advice, it’s to say that maybe we should stop judging success by whether we are making a fortune and start judging it by whether we’re writing books we love – books that our readers love – and quit worrying about whether we’re selling as many as everyone else.

Besides, it’s impossible to truly compare to everyone else because, you know, no one wants to cop to the numbers.

Have a pennies on a tombstone kind of day!







#SaturdayScribbler 14 & Blogophilia

It’s time again for Saturday Scribbler, the fun blog challenge where Dean Kealy gives participants a doodle to turn into a picture. I’m also combining this with Blogophilia – again – because I am a cheater like that.

This week’s blogophilia prompts are:

Ecrits Blogophilia Week 26.9 Topic: All Through the Night
Hard (2 pts): Incorporate a Steely Dan/Donald Fagen lyric
Easy (1 pts): Include the word “strings”
And here is the prompt for #SS
I’d like to say I am late doing this because I’ve been having adventures all through the night, but alas it’s because of more boring things. I have sent my book out to all the betas finally, and now it’s the nail biting, nerve wracked time where I just know they will all hate it. To quote Steely Dan, “I feel like crying, I wish I had a heart like ice.” You know, so that I didn’t CARE if they didn’t like it. Sadly, I don’t, so waiting for the comments is like walking a tightrope of terror – or more literally a string of worry… okay, maybe a bit of twine and anxiety?
Anyway, on to the Scribble! So I initially thought a spider web and then a song I loved in kindergarten popped in my head:
Mr Fly climbed up a tree,
climbed as high as high could be,
Lost his grip, came tumbling down,
Smashed to pieces on the ground.

When the insects heard the sound,
Echoing for miles around,
They began to buzz and cry,
“Quick! First aid for Mr. Fly!”

“Get a bandage, get a splint!”
“Get some liniment and lint!”
“Should we give him aspirin?”
“Someone call the doctor in!”

Then a wise old flea spoke out,
“You don’t know what you’re about.
He’s beyond the reach of aid,
Get a pick and get a spade.”

Then the insects finally knew,
What they really had to do.
On his tombstone bears the scrawl,
“He who climbs too high must fall.”

And so, I give you Mr. Fly!
And now I must go. Have a good one!

#SaturdayScribblers 13


It’s time again for Saturday Scribblers – which does not have to be done on Saturday. It’s a fun blog challenge where Dean Kealy posts a scribble for participants to turn into an image.

Here is this week’s scribble:


As you can see, Dean has started using other media besides just pencil scribbles. This week it’s ink. It was a toughy, I kept getting thrown by the smiley face on the right, but finally….



I call it Cat in the Sun.

I need to get back to daily blogging. Not that I have done much in the last week except run to Omaha. Mom had a heart attack last Friday and was sent to Omaha. The prognosis is not great, but she is still alive and kicking, and the doctor says that with major lifestyle changes she should have ten more years, so it’s better than it could be. But…I wish it was better than that.

I’ll end this now, and one of these days I’ll get back to some real blogging.

Have a cat in the sun kind of day!




#Saturday Scribblers 12 & Blogophilia 24.9


I’m cheating again and doing them together because I haven’t had time for blogging lately.

Saturday Scribblers is the cool blog challenge run by Dean Kealy. Every week he gives participants a scribble to turn into something cool. Here’s this week’s


Blogophilia is the cool blog group where Martien gives participants prompts to use in their weekly blog post. This week’s prompts are:

  • Ecrits Blogophilia Week 24.9 Topic: “Angelic Moments”
  • Bonus:
  • Hard (2 pts) Quote Romeo and Juliet
  • Easy (1 pt) Include the words ‘surprise pink’

I’d like to say that the reason I’ve been busy is because of too many angelic moments, but mostly it’s because I have been working on the Patrick book (which is now named Brothers of Darkness) I have it off to the first two beta readers, and when they finish, I will send it to the others. I’ve lined up some extra ones for this book, so I can get a more objective opinion on it. It’s still a story I am sensitive about.Maybe because it’s not a romance like the series (which in my opinion is not a romance either), but is instead pretty much straight horror full of nasty things. As Shakespeare said “These violent delights have violent ends.” And it does have a violent end.

Anyway, my Saturday Scribbler is:



It didn’t quite turn out the way I planned – the surprise pink at the tips of the petals does not show up well, for instance, but it is what it is.

There’s still time for you to join in on either SS or Blogophilia if you want to!

Have a purple flower kinda day!


#SaturdayScribblers 10


It seems these are the only time I blog anymore – that’s not good, but at least these get me doing something!

Saturday Scribblers is the fun blog prompt where Dean Kealy posts a scribble for us to make into a drawing. Participation goes all week, despite the name. Here is this week’s scribble:


I admit, it took me a little bit to come up with something, but once I started doodling on top of it, I had my butterfly princess:


I’m pretty happy with her – she looks a bit Native American to me.

Other than that I did get some book covers and the Turtle Page done today, and I have been working on the Patrick prequel novel (I have a poll to help choose a name and would love input on it!) And beyond that I have been playing the new Pokemon Go. I primarily am doing it to make myself walk – in the first week I walked 38 miles just playing it, which is waaaaaaay up from my usual weekly walking. The brother and hubby are also playing, so we’re walking together. Sadly with the heat the last two days we haven’t done much and probably won’t tomorrow. Ugh on summer!

And now I leave you. Have a pokemon kind of day!


#SaturdayScribblers 9


Saturday Scribblers is the cool blog challenge run by Dean Kealy. Every week he gives participants a scribble to turn into something cool. Here’s this week’s


I immediately saw a shrubbery – and turned it into the DIY Bonsai – or how to ruin your shrubbery:


I thought it was fun.

And now I have some Star Trek to watch and then I need to hunt Pokemon.

Have a good one!



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