Archive | May 20, 2012

Stress…..

So, the new book is published everywhere, the website is as updated as *I* can make it (hubby is working to add a new Characters section that spans all four novels instead of having  separate characters sections for each book), the Facebook page is updated, the contest posts are scheduled, all the artwork for the giveaway items and such is done. The items are even ready (though I need to print the t-shirt transfers – need a new print head first. Yay Kodak. – the Kodak printers are wonderful when they WORK, alas the print head is SO revolutionary that it needs replaced all the time. So far they have done so for free, we’ll see if that carries over this time or not.), I have organized my facebook photos, replaced the ones that facebook apparently ate, scheduled blog posts for this blog and….

bleh.

People want to know where i have been. I can tell them.

I spent two days drawing new characters (and redrawing old characters) for that new, updated characters section I talked about. I then had to write bios that would not be spoilers (to put on the website) as well as bios that would set up for the fourth book for my blog. Then I had to color the new characters, design the backgrounds and put it all together:

Then I spent two days printing the Executioner cards sets for the giveaway. This does not count the hours of coloring, designing both sides of the cards, putting them together  and the days of drawing 14 individual people, all in black coats that had to look different from one another. Why did it take two days to print? First, the Avery cards I used only have an illustrator template and – buh, bum, I do not use illustrator. Luckily some kind soul posted the dimensions on how to make your own, so after building it inch by inch I discovered it only worked on some of the sheets – why? Because half the pack is cut crooked! And each one is not even cut to the same amount of crooked, so it was a nightmare of printing one sheet at a time. In the end I got one test set (which I gave my mom) and five viable sets.

I then made some snazzy Executioner character images to go on the site (not loading them here, though as the characters look the same – you can see them on flickr if you want) and wrote bios for all of them.

The bookmarks had no template either, so again I made one. They took one day to create/design and test print, (of course they were too dark so I had to lighten them up, and redo them all) and then I did the rest of the printing/cutting out/and putting together (in their sleeves and tying on tassels) the next night.

Then I had to make the vinyl stickers and print them – which would have gone faster had I googled it first. I bought the vinyl from this awesome and cheap place, however part of what makes it cheap is you just get sheets of vinyl stickers – no directions or packaging. So I checked the site, no directions for what printer settings etc. And figured “eh, I can manage it”. Well, long story short I put it in upside down, smeared ink all over everything (ruined the sheet, too) and had to spend an hour cleaning it up and trying to figure out what to do. Finally via google I found the website with the directions – it’s like crackle candy or something like that – and then you click on the “buy” link and it goes to the place I bought it from. Anyway, they have a video that tells you to put it in matte side down as opposed to shiny side down. After that they printed beautifully. I am soo thrilled with them I may buy more just to make random stickers!

Next came t-shirt transfers. These were the fastest and easiest of the lot – until the black ink quit working. Waiting for Kodak to get back to us, as I mentioned earlier, so I can print them. The one that printed came out nice, though.

I got the website updated, including all the links and such for the Ashes of Deceit page tonight, which took a couple of hours to do. This also included adding the 20-some book covers I’ve done in the last month, month and a half, even though I said I wouldn’t do any. (There are still several out for approval, some of which I think I need to resend as I seem to be having trouble with emails that have attachments).

Oh, and I wrote an 8,000+ word story that I am going to expand into a novella if I have the time – it’s Patrick, of course, who has always wanted his own “book”.

And of course I did all the formatting for my own book (smashwords, B&N, paperback tweaks, cover tweaks etc) and uploaded it, (Luckily the brunt of the cover was finished last week when I redid the description and the back cover image.) Then Sue noticed I’d left a word out of chapter one (eep!) so I had to fix this in all copies and reupload (Except B&N – they take sooo long to approve that it is just going to be missing a word. Once Smashwords approves it for expanded distribution I will take it down from there, anyway and let them handle it)

As I mentioned I organized all my photos of the day on facebook and set up blogs to post them on here. I have also managed to edit a tiny handful of old photos from November ’11. Yay. Then I have managed to go to a picnic with hubby (and answer some emails on my phone while I was there), do normal work, and see the Avengers (we went last night). And, oh, I even got a few hours of sleep.

Blah.

While I enjoy the frantic pace for a little while, I have been at it for well over two years now and I’m burned out. I feel like I never have time for my own books or my websites, etc. etc. I am finally starting to get some traction on selling books, and I am going to miss the window because normally, in place of doing all that work for me, I am doing it for other people’s books. And while on one hand I do enjoy it – and it pays pretty good – on the other hand, sometimes it’s like I am watching them churn out book after book while I can’t even find time to write one.  However, due to the randomness of the universe, I seem to finally be getting some sales – I sold around 200 each in Jan, Feb and April – March saw a spike of 390, but that was because of the similar title with Fifty Shades of Grey, so I don’t really count those numbers into my long term planning.  And I have even started selling an odd handful of paperbacks for no reason. So, it seems to me,  if I wanted to actually go somewhere with the writing I should grab this chance and start churning stuff out – only –

Only I can’t do both. I can’t spend all my time turning out book covers (sometimes 20+ a month) AND concentrate on a writing blitz. It just can not happen. BUT I make WAY more at book covers than I do my books, partially because my books are priced low. I have raised the price of all of them at Barnes & Noble and Smashwords, etc. and am waiting to see if that impacts sales. I also put the newest book at 2.99 on Amazon and set it to the 75% royalty option as a test. But it’s still not going to equal the book covers. In order to make even close, I need to sell 400 plus books a month – double what I am selling now.  The way to do that, of course, is to write MORE books but…

Yeah. It’s a circle. A big never ending circle, and hubby , god love him, is useless because all he’ll say is “do what you want” while really meaning “Keep churning out those covers because those make money!” Or at least I feel like that’s what he means. I don’t know. I just know that doing both isn’t working out. One has to take precedence  over the other. Right now it’s the covers over the books.

And it;s not just the writing I am missing. I used to be able to take time to help people with other stuff, read blogs, interact, and all of that is gone, too.

Blah, blah, blah.

Add to that all the health shit between us, and the pets, and everything else and I need a real vacation. I will never get one, but I need one.

*sigh*

And then, of course, I am stressing out over the book release because I just KNOW everyone will hate it. It’s probably not normal, but whenever someone says to me, “Oh, I read your book.” I panic because I just KNOW they did;t like it, never mind that 99% of people are too polite to mention they’ve read it – let alone take the time to mail you about it – if they didn’t like it, but I am still convinced each time that that is what the mail will say. So I just know that everyone will hate this one, too. *sigh*

Well, it’s 3pm and I am still up from yesterday – Chris is with Mom at ER so waiting up to hear something about that. She was having chest pains, but I don’t think it’s her heart – though her BP was super high, so just in case we packed her off.  I think that the rest of the wire from her heart surgery has come loose (there is a mysterious bulge under the scar that did NOT used to be there – I know. I bandaged it enough that I KNOW what was there) and she had a lot of problems with the other piece when it came loose, with infections and all sorts of things. I think there is another infection, only this time there is no weak spot – aka the unhealed seam – like there was last time, so it’s not popping open like it did then. But maybe not. Maybe it’s fluid on her lungs making it hurt, or maybe it’s something with Parkinson’s or… God only knows.

This is long enough and only the brave will wade through it anyway, so I am ending this.  Have a good day, all!

Photo(s) of the Day – Week 15

I’ve been taking a photo a day since December 9th and uploading it to facebook – then I ran into a cool blog where they take a photo a day and post the photos in a weekly blog. So I thought, hey, I should steal that idea (before they pass a law to make that illegal too!).

I’m behind again. It’s so sad to see how behind I get!

Most of these photos were taken with my cell phone, using the Retro Camera app. A few were edited with Color Touch.

Song playing at the moment – Stranger – The Rasmus

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