Discovery Rant and More
I watched Discovery and Orville last night and forgot to share this. Discovery has improved this season BUT Michael Burnham is STILL running things. Example: they receiving a hale from the planet below. Bridge officer tells the Captain. Before he tells them to answer, he, the captain, first LOOKS TO BURNHAM FOR PERMISSION! And this isn’t just any captain, it is Pike, in his prime, getting permission from someone who is not even his first officer! What???? In the whole show I think she is present for a single order that she does not then countermand in front if the WHOLE BRIDGE CREW. I’m sorry, but that’s not how Star Fleet works. It just irritates the crap out of me. They need to chill and either make her act like someone on her pay grade or promote her so it makes sense. If she were first officer, then okay, but she’s not. Or if she and Pike were long time friends, ok, but no reason he should be tolerating her behavior. Despite what the show tries to cram down our throats, she is not the most brilliant mind in Starfleet. They could get along just fine without her, do this constant butt kissing is wearing.
Orville was good. My only complaint is that it’s a two-parter and I have to wait to see what happens. I expected the usual trope with robots, which has not happened yet. If it does in part 2, I’ll be okay with it because it means we get Iasaac back. But if it doesn’t I’ll also be okay because it makes sense. By the way, no one in Orville spends all their time countermanding their captain in front of the whole crew, not even the first officer.
Also spent yesterday replaying Kingdom Hearts. 3 came out last month but we don’t remember the storyline, so we thought, what the heck. It was a snow day, after all.
After the blizzard.
Look what came in the mail. Just need set #5 at a cheap price! Yay!
And now for your AR photo of the day
Meowth says move, but Ancient Kitty doesn’t care.
And now I need coffee. Have a caffeinated kinda day!
P.s. bonus cat pic:
Thankfulness #44: Facebook Live
Yesterday my best friend got officially engaged, and thanks to Facebook Live we got to see it happen, even though he proposed to her in Council Bluffs and I was sitting in my jammies in Villisca.
I’m also grateful that she has finally found someone who makes her and the girls happy. I think they’re a great couple – they treat each other as equals and seem to totally balance one another out, which is how this is supposed to work. I’m super excited for the wedding!
In other news around here we’ve switched vets for the cat who has the seizures. Her prescription was up and she needed tests run, which the vet we were using admitted could not be done for days, however they would not give her a couple of pills to get her through those days, even though they warned us at one point that if she had a sustained seizure she could end up with brain damage. This is their third strike. (the first being that the vet actually booted our fifteen year old arthritic chihuahua in the butt because he pooped on her “hard to clean mat”) They really don’t care about the well being of the animals at all, and are far more concerned with making sure they get paid. Anyway, so we took her to the vet in Shenandoah this time (which was the same vet clinic we went to when I was a kid here – the vet himself has changed, of course), and they did the same tests (for literally HALF the price) and were surprised to find that the cat does not have just a seizure disorder, but rather a thyroid problem (her number was 10 when it is supposed to be a max of 4) that has probably been causing the seizures for the last TWO years, as well as driving her blood pressure up to insane heights that has caused her brain to bleed and even her eyes to hemorrhage (from the damage he said it has been this way for quite some time – meaning that other vet should have caught ALL of this!) He said if the phenobarbital stopped her seizures (which it did) it was just a coincidence. This makes me really furious because as I said, the other vet charged twice as much and – what? didn’t even look in her eyes? For crying out loud. There just isn’t words.
In writing news, I am working on my Vampire Christmas story that just keeps going. It’s an attempt at replicated a Hallmark Christmas movie, but with vampires. It’s a lot of fun, for me at least. Then I need to finish my Ol’ man Wickleberry and the Zombie Bunnie, and try to get back to book 9. Yeesh.
Nothing new to report on the house *sigh* And it’s too cold to pokemon, so I am out of here for now.
Have an engagement video kinda day!
The Secret to Making Tons of Money as an 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!
I like my laptop. No, I love my laptop, but since I bought it the years ago it’s head corrupted sectors on the hard drive. At first this wasn’t really an issue; none of my data was anywhere near it. Then it started causing crashes every once in awhile. Since August it has crashed daily, often multiple times (especially if I’m editing photos or doing any kind of artwork, or listening to music while running word, or basically doing anything except just surfing the web.) Back in August we embraced the fact that a new hard drive was the only fix, and bought one. There’s a long story that fills in the time from August until now, but it’s not conducive to family harmony, so we’ll shorten it by saying that Hubby’s brilliant plan of cloning it never panned out.
Begin March. Finally, sick of the constant freezing, I threw up my hands, had the brother physically install the new hard drive, and now I get the fun of reinstalling EVERYTHING. All the programs. All the settings. All friggin’ day and then some. And half of my programs won’t install because the license is “in use”, despite the fact it’s NOT in use. But, if I wait to call them tomorrow, (assuming I’m not a normal person who is at work during their 9-4 open hours) maybe I’ll get lucky and they’ll reset it. Or maybe not. Never mind I paid 200$ plus for these programs. It’s up to them whether I get to install them or not because I *might* be cheating them. God knows there’s a rash of graphic artists stealing generations-old art plugins. There’s such a high demand for the unsupported old versions.
This is one time I have to applaud Microsoft. I got the Office license reset with no issues, and no talking to some stupid person. I hate talking to customer support people. I hate having my &%$#ing software held hostage until it’s convenient for them, after I already paid outrageous and ridiculous sums for it, because they’re terrified I might install their software twice. At the ridiculous prices they charge you should get a couple of installs! (Yeah, I’m taking mainly about Eye Candy, if you want to know.) If they want to do this to protect their keys, fine, but make it EASY to get things handled like, and I shudder to say this a second time, like Microsoft managed to do. If they can do it, surely other companies can, too.
Anyway, that’s how my whole day has been and it’s going to stretch into my whole night as well because I’m maybe 50% done not counting those that won’t install until their jailers – I mean tech support – release them.
Yeah. I’m irritated.
Hope your day is better than mine.
Jo :[ <— irritated face. Or a vampire. Your pick.
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The Characters I Hate
Though I haven’t mentioned it, I have been reading. I’ve just started Tricia Drammeh’s newest (yay!) and next I have DM Yates Dimmidiums #2 to beta. Before those, I read a book that took much longer than it should have. It looked like a good book. It sounded like a good book. It had romance, it had action, it had excitement, it had adventure, it was decently edited – it even had hot men. So what was the problem?
The protagonist was a Mary Sue.
A Mary Sue is basically a character that every character in the book instantly loves. Mary usually solves all problems, is clever, witty, ultra talented, and if she has flaws they only serve to make her somehow cuter. Often she is a personification of what the author wishes she was, hence why everyone falls in love with this character. (You can read about the history of the term.)
So our character (we’ll call her Mary) has a full time white collar job – the kind of job that you never really stop working. To wind down she does gardening. I’m down with that. Then the author starts to tell us how teeny-weeny-tiny she is. (I can’t count how many times we hear about her “child-sized hands”). She’s itty bitty, barely weighs anything – fine. I’ll take it. Suddenly, we are told that she’s still curvy with full breasts and a “luscious ass” despite weighing “100 pounds wet”. Ugh, but okay. Now we introduce the idea that Mary works out daily, while working this over-time filled job, and gardening. Okay. Fine. Of course, by now the hero, who has just met her, is head over heals for her, despite his swearing he will never date again after some horrible incident years ago (but hey, Mary is so great that upon *seeing* her he throws that out the window), and all of his friends, who are normally prickly, distrustful, and suspicious, instantly warm to her because she’s so funny and clever and can finish their sentences and figure out the truth of what’s going on (and a love triangle ensues, but that’s another story). Ugh. Then the author reveals that our white collar full-time working, gardening, exercising, witty, clever, smart, almost-psychic woman is now a WEAPONS expert. WHAT??? Are you kidding me? And… we’re not even a third through the book yet.
I’ll give you a hint, it just keeps going like that. She’s so perfect, that I’d like to see them put her on an episode of Dr. Who to see if she and her teeny tiny hands could out-perfect Clara. (sarcasm) Add to that the non-stop lectures this character gives us via her thoughts. She is a vegan, only eats all natural organic food (to the point of chewing someone out at one point), refuses to use technology because it’s “bad for you” (despite the obvious job requirements to do so) to the tune of a three paragraph lecture (meanwhile readers are reading this lecture on their eReaders!), only uses all natural herbs and holistic medicines, and don’t get me started on her views on religion, blah, blah, blah.
I can’t help it. When faced with a Mary Sue character I am instantly transported back to a high school mentality and want nothing more than to see someone dump a vat of pigs blood on them (ala Carrie). Not only does it grate on my nerves, the same way that tiny little princess that everyone just love-love-loved back in school made me want to vomit, but it makes the character unrelatable and unbelievable.
Or maybe it’s just me. I’ve run into a lot of these characters (the aforementioned Clara on Dr. Who is a glaring example), and there are plenty of people who seem to like them. (In the case of Clara it seems to be mainly men, though, so maybe they’re not paying attention to her personality?) but when answering the question “What inspired you to write your book” on an interview form today, I thought of them – of all the perfect Mary Sues. Back in the day, that was the reason I started my vampire series. I’d run into three different books in a row that had Mary Sue plain Jane who stumbles into fantasy land and within a week turns into a vampire/werewolf/monster killer. Um, no. Just, no. No ordinary woman is going to be able to turn into a ninja-style fighter over night (at least Mary was a work-out-aholic weapons expert to start with!). The characters also never faced consequences, despite being involved in incidents police would be called for, and there was never any mention of repercussions for any of their actions. Those things bugged the crap out of me then, and they bug me now.
How about you? What kinds of characters do you find annoying?
And while I’m here, enjoy some more random photos.
Have a Mary Sue kinda day!
I’m a huge lover of the Creative Commons licensing – licensing which allows you, as the content creator, to retain rights to your work, but at the same time allows others to use your work in varying capacities – from the right to re-publish it as is (such as using a photo or poem on a blog or website) to allowing them to adapt your work (such as manipulating the photo) and even for commercial purposes (using that photo in an advertisement or on a webpage), with the only stipulation being that they must credit you (This is very important and a lot of people skip it – big no-no).
I offer ALL of my photos and most of my artwork under a CC license, with the idea that people WILL use it – they will remix it, they will illustrate articles with it, they will make business cards and book covers (I actually made three wrap around [paperback] book covers for a lady who had had another designer do her front/ebook covers – and guess what? Though she did not know they had used my photos – ha ha!) And this is the point of the CC license: to share in whatever way you’re comfortable sharing. But sharing is the point of the licenses. For example this is the MOST restrictive of all licenses:
This license is the most restrictive of our six main licenses, only allowing others to download your works and share them with others as long as they credit you, but they can’t change them in any way or use them commercially.
So…with this in mind, maybe someone can explain to me how something is licensed with a CC license and then says RIGHT under the license :”You may NOT share, copy, or reproduce this material without express written permission”? It doesn’t say “CC non-commercial unless you obtain permission” it says “This is Creative Commons but no one can use it unless I grant them the right to use it.”
Maybe I have a weak grasp of licensing, but from where I’m standing that is NOT Creative Commons, it’s a regular ALL Rights Reserved – meaning that in order to have the “right” to use/reproduce you have to get – you guessed it – permission. Not that it isn’t “nice” to get permission when you want to use something (and considering the number of ignorant licensers out there is good for protecting yourself!) even if it’s CC, but nice and required are two different things. (As Smashing Magazine explains “Informing the author is courteous but not required.” exactly.)
Something else I think people are unaware of is that the license – once applied – is irrevocable. Meaning if I offer my photo as a CC license, you use it under the licenses terms and I change my mind (or, as often happens on Flickr I never meant to post is as a CC image at all but was too lazy/uninformed to change the default setting, so it posted as a CC license) then I can not stop you from using it. I can stop new people, but I can’t stop anyone who started using it before I changed my mind/figured out that “duh!” I need to check my Flickr settings.
The point of this blog? Know what you’re talking about before you start waving licenses around. Labeling something CC when you don’t mean it will just make you angry (“They stole my work – that I *accidentally* offered freely!”) and frustrate others. If you want all of your rights reserved, then license your work as All Rights Reserved. If you want to allow people to use your work (to whatever degree) then license it as the appropriate CC or Public Domain. Either way, RESEARCH instead of just throwing out a bunch of words. If you need somewhere to start, here are some links.
Great infographic explaining licenses
If you want to know more, hit google. And remember, don’t license unless you mean it.
P.S. Sorry if this seemed ranty, but it is one of my pet peeves!
Well today was the craft fair. My first ever craft fair. I went with high hopes that were dashed on the rocks of reality. In total we made 54$… I don’t mean 54$ of profit, I mean 54$ period. Less the 25$ booth fee that’s 29$ and I’ll give you a hint, the crap I bought to make an this cost a LOT more than that.
People looked but almost no one was interested in buying it. I had one lady who bought 3 sets cards (sold in sets of four) for $7 a set exclaim in amazement how cheap they were but evidently no one else agree. That or they thought they were crap.
Sure, I can try to unload the crap on Etsy, but I find the site confusing, especially the shit of paying their cut at intervals. What? Sorry, but I prefer a consignment arrangement where they just take their cut to start with. Plus you only get to sell a handful of items with the free account and I’m not looking to be a crafter for life, so not interested in paying. I get that some people make money but it’s not me. I’m too slow and even when I practically give the stuff away no one wants it anyway.
Yeah, I’m depressed over it. I’m allowed to be. I don’t need to justify it, or shrug it off, or pretend I don’t care because it’s “silly” or because other people wouldn’t be depressed. That’s more aimed at me than anyone else because when ever I interact with others I dismiss my feelings because they are “stupid” and people will think I’m “stupid” for them. But I am depressed. I’m upset because I already felt like it was junky crap and that sort of proved it – but even so I expected to sell more than one ornament, two bottles, and a handful of card sets. And I had to reduce the ornament to 50% off to get her to buy it.
Anyway, I won’t do that again (burned me once, shame on you. Burned me twice…) I don’t have the time out money to invest in it to come out with a negative balance. And I didn’t enjoy sitting at the table with a fake smile trying to think of chit chat and silently praying someone might look at my spread (desperation much?). I hate chit chat. (Frankly I hate deep conversations, too, and unless someone wants to take about anime, books, TV, movies, writing, house renovations, or organizing closets I am just tired of it all. ) I’m not good with strangers, and I’m lousy at selling things (this explains my book sales) and then to push through all of that terror, anxiety, etc etc for nothing…
I dunno. Anyway, the crap is on my Facebook in a crafts album with prices listed.
The pics aren’t the best because they weren’t meant as sale shots, but I can take better ones….
Hopefully that works. Anyway, I’m going to bed now. Have a better one than me.
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I read a couple of blog posts tonight about “coming home again” and how it is impossible, and how everyone has done the sophisticated, modern thing and moved far, far away from their “hometown”, shook the dust off their feet, and lost touch with all the people they knew growing up. If I kept following links I could have read several more of these blogs, each one detailing the snapped threads of friendships, the melancholy of knowing you are so much cooler than the people who didn’t move, and the sappy message that home is where your hubby and kiddos are – hubby being someone you met in that far, far away place.
I don’t mean to sound completely sarcastic (Okay, maybe a *little* sarcastic) but as someone who has moved “home” again, I find this attitude cliche. Like most of my generation, I bought into the idea that *the* thing to do was graduate and run – run far, run fast, and don’t look back. Scrape off all those friends and family you grew up with so that you can make a whole new group of super amazing friends who will be as close as family to you…
Not only are those damn hard to find, I can’t help but wonder WHY we’re doing this. We already had friends and family who loved us. We already had a history and roots. So, we dump it all to run somewhere “cool” and start all over and spend years trying to get the same thing WE ALREADY HAD. The answer is simple: we have to get rid of them because they know us too well. How can we become a totally new, totally cool person if we have to drag around the memories of who we were and all the embarrassing, stupid, uncool things we did?
These realizations came to me as we were contemplating the move here last year, and I won’t lie when I say that there is still a part of me that is brainwashed – a tiny part of me that thinks about hiding under the bed when I mumble that I’m back to eating in the same restaurant I ate in since I was a baby, and hanging out with the same people I hung out with in high school – And then I think “Why the **** should I be embarrassed?” I like the spaghetti at that restaurant, so why should I go somewhere else? And yeah, I’m hanging out with those same people because we had fun back then and we have fun now. All the generations who came before us were PROUD to have the same best friend for years, so why the heck shouldn’t I be? Yeah, she knows me – but that’s not as “uncool” and “confining” as TV would have us believe. There’s actually something comforting about it because that means she’s seen me at my stupidest, most uncool, and still talked to me anyway.
That’s not to say I didn’t make some awesome friends in Missouri – many of whom I miss – because I did. And that’s not to say I didn’t love it down there, or would trade my time there for anything, but there is something to be said for being back in south west Iowa. So, to the question “Can you go home again?” I say, “Only if you want to.” Because to do that you have to scrape off the modern concept that success is equal to the miles you get away from your hometown, and you have to accept who you are – not just who you are now, but who you were then – and realize that in truth they’re both pretty cool people.
Is Crowely Running Goodreads?
I don’t have much to say, and I’m cutting it close to midnight. There was a challenge on Opinionated Man’s blog, challenging people to post about an average day in their town, and I have meant to do it but haven;t because I haven’t had an average day lately. I edited some more (rewrote one conversation four times), painted on the kitchen cupboard doors, edited, watched Supernatural (they are mean to Crowley, and speaking of Crowley I HATE his mother. Why does this awesome show always have to have some character we absolutely can’t stand – usually female?), edited…I think you get the point.
We watched Smackdown with dinner. That was good. Just as I thought they’re pushing Bryan over to the Intercontinental Championship since they’ve given the heavy Weight fight to Roman (who was the better choice in case anyone thinks I’m complaining.) It’s what I predicted they’d do, so I felt a bit smarmy.
I did get some book reviews written the other day and pubbed on my blog and on goodreads. Speaking of Goodreads I’m not happy with their decision to take librarian status from authors. Librarian status was something you had to put in for, not something you were given immediately, so to take it away was especially nasty. It’s the sort of underhanded thing Crowley would do. Maybe he’s running things there.
Well, I have nothing interesting to say and I see no reason to bore you, so I’ll end this and get back to Laos where my vampires are.
Have a good one,
PS since I have no photo here’s the promo image I posted everywhere today. I have one a day for every day leading up to the book release. How cool is that?