Sunday, December 28, 2014

The More The Merrier

     So I've always been one of those who walk alone (no, I'm not a Twilight actor). This used to be the norm for twitchy, geeky authors. It's somewhat dismaying to have to push yourself in the other direction and become a social butterfly when your inner child prefers to crawl into bed and pull the covers over its head.
     Ah, well. I've done the life of skewed identity before. You get used to juggling your private self and public self as a reporter. It was usually possible to switch hats without things getting too crazy. (On one occasion, I glanced out the window while washing the supper dishes to notice a neighbor's house in flames across the street. I finished washing the dishes before I went to cover it.)
     Public participation in the world is a demand of many professions, though it is certainly harder to keep up with if you're famous. I remember an RN friend who was outgoing and friendly with all her patients. She was well-liked as a result. But I knew her in her private life and she was actually one of the shyest people I have ever met (never even learned to dance until she was 28 years old, having been raised in a fairly strict Mennonite family).
     So what am I doing that's public? I'm experimenting with an alliance set up by fellow author Angela Kulig to sell/give away eBooks as below. I've thrown in a Blood Tied story as my contribution at 99 cents. I would like to do a freebie, but I went a little crazy using up my free days in the past two months. Too bad I didn't know this was coming.
     If you'd like to sample a story from my Blood Tied Series or pick up a book/story from one of the other authors participating, this is the place: http://bit.ly/1xr13fQ
     I hope every one of you had a wonderful holiday with your family and I wish you all the best in the New Year! 
 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Why Book Series Sell Better Than Singles

   I sometimes wonder if I should return to conventional publishing, if only because I am a conventional writer.
   That is, I would be a writer of some stripe in any era. Amazon, in particular, has made it possible for Ma and Pa and every one of their squint-eyed kids to foster so-called books on a reluctant public (very much like my uncle Fred used to make us sit down and endure his home movies), but I would write if I were limited to a sharp stick and a patch of dirt.
   Yeah, I'm one of those.
   I remain fully confident that my fiction star will rise. Much of my past success as a print reporter relied on the indisputable truth that I was a good writer and that what I wrote was devoured by the public. It gives me a measure of confidence that newbie writers lack. But these things take time. I have yet to meet an 'overnight success' who has not spent years perfecting his or her craft while failing numerous times before at last succeeding.
   So don't believe the hype, eh? There seems to be an assumption out there that genius of any kind will be instantly noticed, but I'd contend that real genius means your success, if it ever comes, will be posthumous (long after they've burnt you at the stake).
   Whether that fiction star I'm personally working on will end by hanging fairly low on the horizon or ascend higher is, as always, up to the gods. I'll get there eventually. If you know you have the talent, then nothing will take you farther than hard work and perseverance. Burnt offerings don't even begin to enter the picture unless you're superstitious. And besides, just as the ancient Romans sacrificed to the goddess Fortuna (and then went out to chop heads left and right), you can make your own luck.
     As I've said before on this blog, nothing will ever convince me that quality writing (coupled with hard work) is not the deciding factor in succeeding as a writer. I am, however, lately intrigued by the idea that the actual definition of what is quality writing has mutated into something new because this is the age of the series.    
     For example, I wrote Give It Back, an intense and, I think, reasonably deep-reading horror book. It made it into the ABNA Quarter Finals on my first try (and I had missed sending over the last third of the book!), but it has garnered little attention since publication. But with only one book of my Blood Tied series out and about (along with four companion stories), there is much more interest.
     Deep reading--the kind where you immerse yourself into a book so far that you might as well be walking around on a different planet--is peculiarly satisfying. But that kind of deep immersion seems to growing rarer all the time when it comes to novels. It is mandatory for computer games. For popular TV series with the luxury of time to deepen the natures of lead characters (this is why series like Supernatural and The Walking Dead are so addictive--it's the same technique used in early soap operas--just when you think you know a character, they do something else to recapture your interest).
     This is an interesting thing. Because what makes any form of entertainment compelling is just that kind of deep immersion that is now considered old-fashioned as per books. And fewer and fewer novelists are willing to put in the time--often years--to produce truly rounded characters in a single book.
     The repetition of characters in book series brings readers ever closer to a rounded character while ensuring the author doesn't expire of starvation at the same time. So it's really an instance of the more things change, the more they stay the same. People want the same thing as they ever did from entertainment -- to laugh or to cry over the all-too-human antics of characters they can either identify with or revile. And authors, too, want what they've always wanted: to achieve a measure of fame/monetary return that will allow them to keep on doing what they do best.
    We're still aiming at the ultimate book. But the ultimate book has changed. And I rather think classically trained writers--the ones to whom things like archaic grammar (When was the last time you read 'whom' in a modern sentence?), and imagery still mean something are likely to have an advantage here. This is because the ultimate book will be much more than a book; it will have cross-genre appeal, certainly, but the defining motif of this new breed will be cross-medium appeal.
     This has already started (I not only read the Harry Potter series endlessly, I played all the games and watched the movies and admit it--everyone, including yourself, hummed that damned tune while you were stirring the spaghetti sauce). It's still early days, however (The Hunger Games has been pushed to have this same kind of cross-medium success, but it's faltering now).
    Still, it certainly indicates that series are the way to go in these new days of indie publishing. Producing one or more series:
  • separates you from the Mas and Pas who have decided to share their life story with the world in a twenty-page pamphlet. You stand revealed as a serious author.
  • allows you to produce rounded characters that are more appealing than flat ones with decidedly less effort.
  • builds a loyal readership.
  • increases the odds that your book may have cross-medium success.
   Ironically, along with series, I also think short stories are making a bit of a comeback these days. But I'll tackle that topic another day.

     

        

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

FINDING A GOOD eBOOK ON THE INTERNET

    It has dawned on me to do something with the stories I've felt compelled to write over the past two weeks. For the uninitiated, they're a cross between Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Goosebumps For Adults. Nothing too bloody or sexy (though some are certainly designed to scare the pants off you).
    Short stories, I have decided, are a good way to show off your style. The one to your right is free on Thursday and Friday.
Click here: http://author.to/MRStorie and you'll be able to download it as well as take a look at four other stories in the same series.
     I have to admit I'm surprised there is still so little in the way of gate-keeping for books on the Internet. I want things to stay free and open as much as the next person, but I did expect copious sites recommending good books and warning of bad ones.
   These gatekeeper book sites are starting to increase now, I think, because readers certainly want them. Need them, even. There are far too many books being published with exciting covers and disappointing stories inside (and, of course, these are the same books honey-basted with tasty five-star reviews). It's sad to think of how many good books are going undiscovered as readers flounder through the junk.
     I can only recommend readers take full advantage of Amazon's Look Inside Feature wherever it is offered. I know I do. It's your only chance to see if the interior story is likely to live up to the promise of its outer cover. Readers who live in countries without access to this feature should check out books they're interested in on the U.S. Amazon site FIRST. They will be automatically redirected back to their own country if they decide to purchase a book anyway.
     Happy reading.
 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mouse In The Wall Free Story Download

     We have to stop meeting like this. Again, another off-schedule post to let you know about a freebie I have running today. Mouse In The Wall http://mybook.to/mouseinthewall is the third in a series of stories I keep picking away at when I'm not working on Blood Tied II.
Lately, I've taken to writing short stories with a vengeance. I always did like writing them, from the time I was in grade school. Back then I thought that, along with poetry, they would provide enough income for me to get by on when I was older (hahahahah--but note that even at ten years of age, I wasn't crazy enough to think anyone ever made a living writing poetry).
     I stopped writing short stories with reluctance in later years, after reading over and over again that length was what fiction readers wanted to buy.
     Luckily, thanks to the borrowing setup currently favored by Amazon, another golden age of short stories is underway (along with a deluge of three-page booklets on how to make a million dollars in six hours). This hasn't been in evidence since the days of 1930s genre pulp magazines.
     Suits me. And I don't feel anywhere near as bad putting short stories up as free samples as I do when it's books. So it's a win-win situation for us all.
     Just to warn you, I have a very English sense of humor (meaning it's as dry as a bone). You can expect some very bleak humor in this story as well as the others in the series. So click on the link in the first paragraph for some free entertainment. You're welcome.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

 Free Story Download Wednesday & Thursday

 See what the Blood Tied Series is all about.
http://mybook.to/bloodtiedIItale 

I'm not the most consistent blogger in the world, am I? However, I do manage to post at least weekly so I suppose that's something. This is a quick one to let people know I have a freebie today and tomorrow. (Yes, I know it says Nov. 20 in the box, but trust me--it's free on Nov. 19, too--I don't have time to change it again because my media time tick, tick, tick, Brring-GGG has run out for the day.)
Blood Tied II Tale contains some frightening parts which I hope you'll enjoy.
But I wrote it to interest adults as well as teenagers (who tend to be bloody-minded ayway--think of all those old B-rated drive-in movies) so the grandmother would scare anyone into fits, I think.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

    At some point all writers--if they're independently wealthy--turn most of the social media over to others. If they're not well-heeled, their wives get the chore. Sometimes the wives get the chore anyway, and it's my observation the smart ones are in there right from the start.
    There have been times in the past when I have envied the male writer with a devoted wife. I still do. Some things never change. Have you never realized that a large part of Stephen King's blinding success is due to his wife? An indefatigable editor ready to perform all the unpleasant little chores (there are always unpleasant little chores) that go along with marrying someone whose career revolves around sitting in a chair. (Not me, though--I'm still the ape who walks like a man--in other words, I write when I'm vertical. I'm actually toying with the idea of renaming this blog "Standing Room Only")
   Back to hidden partners in writing. As in pursuing a life of crime, Agatha Christie would tell you that it helps to have a partner in writing. When something goes wrong, it is the partner's task to correct it or to at least soften the blow when one is carted off to jail.
   Writing is a solo pursuit, but it is a lot less lonely when you have a cheering section, even if it's limited to a school monitor in Green Meadows, N.J. (Hello, Jerry. How are you doing today?) With all the social media outlets available, writers never need be lonely again. Unfortunately, talking to others who are also concerned about their writing is seductive. It's a much more attractive way to spend your time than actually writing.
   So I think it makes sense to limit the social media to some extent. Do not let it overwhelm your writing schedule. Set some specific hours aside for it instead. You won't be missing a thing.
   The internet isn't going anywhere, after all. And neither will you unless you get back to work. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Free eBook For Amazon.Com. Not Amazon.Ca.

     So I'm giving Blood Tied I away for free on Amazon.com starting Nov.11 and continuing through Nov. 13.
     If I were you (and I lived in the U.S.), I'd grab it--I am not an author who ordinarily gives books away. In fact, I may yet experience a panic attack of cheapness during the three-day giveaway and cut it short, so don't hesitate.
     Too many years of writing for a living as a reporter makes me loathe to part with work for free. I have badgered myself into using the KDP Kindle countdown on occasion. But I dislike the amateur tinge that colors authors who give their books away for free.
     Because Blood Tied I is the first of a series, however, I decided it wouldn't kill me (cheap as I am), to give a few copies away. It will certainly give readers a good sense of what the series is about.
      But now that I've finally convinced myself to do it, something else bugs me. I can give an eBook to the Brits for free or to the Americans for free (just not during the same promotion), but I can't give it to readers in other countries.
      This strikes me as more than ironic, considering I'm Canadian. On Amazon, Canadians are lumped in with the Americans when it's convenient (as per services), but we do not get the best of their benefits (It's like the difference between Canadian and U.S. Netflix).
      I don't blame Amazon for this: they are a business and take the most cost-effective route to success. As well, the Canadian government (this is a very odd attitude in the wake of free trade agreements) is rabid about keeping American publishing interests away from Canadians. This has rewarded Canadians with having to purchase books through Amazon.ca (which offers nowhere near the stuff available through Amazon.com). As well, the Amazon Kindle Unlimited program is not available to Canadians.
     I could go on, but you get the drift. I've always thought the attitude somewhat peculiar considering how rotten 90 per cent of Canadian TV shows are (yes, The Beachcombers was a modest hit back in the day, but that was only because the rest of Canadian TV was so bloody, bloody awful).
      I've often wondered who our government is trying to protect: us or them? If the former, then it's already been too late for decades.
     Like the vast majority of the Canadian population, I was raised within 50 miles of the U.S. border. I have numerous American relatives like many, if not most Canadians. Until I reached third grade, I believed I was an American: I watched Brakeman Bill, Captain Kangaroo, and Romper Room religiously--I pledged the Allegiance to the U.S. flag, holding a sofa pillow to my chest, every weekday morning while watching the last show). It was already too late to be a standoffish Canadian because even in those early days, all the good TV shows came out of the States (in my area, from Seattle).
     I still remember my confusion (and anger--I had liked doing the pledge of allegiance) when I found myself singing to the Queen in weekly assembly when I got to first grade. I thought we were singing to be nice to an old lady, for some inexplicable reason. And I still believed Canada was a part of the U.S. It wasn't until Grade Three, when we began studying geography, that I finally realized I was not an American and put the sofa pillow away for good. Reluctantly.
     So lighten up, Canada. We're always going to have stronger beer, better poutine, and apologize to everyone like our lives depended on it.
     But don't tell me what I should read or watch, eh?



Friday, November 7, 2014

Haste Makes Waste When Writing A Book Series

     So now I'm done. Blood Tied I, the book, launched unseen whilst I was sleeping overnight. It is available at: http://mybook.to/blood-tied-1-storie
     So what have I learned from being a full week late in publishing this eBook? (There's always a lesson to be gleaned after you've screwed up--the bigger the mistake, the bigger the lesson.)
     I've learned to never expect to publish ANYTHING within a day or two of a holiday. That is when the editorial gremlins are most likely to screw up the logistical end of things. If you simply must publish at holiday time (say you have a 1001-ways-to-use-up-turkey-leftovers cookbook), then do it a full week in advance.
     I've also learned the logistics of writing a book series is markedly different from writing a one-off novel or story.
     But while I'm aware of established and successful authors out there who think nothing of periodically updating books they have already written, I'd prefer not to do that.
     What kind of a dog's breakfast would the world's great literature be if its writers had constantly changed it? It makes me shudder to picture a razor-sharp thinker like Voltaire, grown doddering with age at last, whipping out his laptop in a senile panic and changing everything.
     No, far better to get it right the first time. My book simply wasn't ready--not if I intended it to gallop ahead as the advance vehicle of a lengthy book series, at least. Better to make one change now rather than 14 changes later. My preliminary characters--I write character-driven plots and as a consequence find the reins ripped out of my hands as early on as the first chapter--had gone in unexpected (but useful) directions. Yelling at them had done no good. No, if I was to have any chance at all of catching hold again, there were a few crucial changes to incorporate.
     I'm content now with what I've written. The plot has thickened so the entire series should be a more exciting ride for the reader.
     And much more fun than lying under an overturned wagon for me. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ducks In A Row For Publishing

     Before you publish, get all your ducks in a row.
     You knew that. I knew that, too. But for someone who is fond of aphorisms, I blew it last week by neglecting to follow this particularly important one to the max.
     The first book of my Blood Tied series was due out Oct 30 (I gave myself an extra day, thinking it would be out in time for Halloween).
     In the past couple of months, the mechanical side of the Amazonian robot arm has slowed down a bit, with authors complaining it's taking longer for the publishing process to complete. As well, I should have realized that horror authors of any kind (carrying black candles for luck) would naturally gravitate towards a Halloween launch and be clogging the system. Whereas my books ordinarily achieve takeoff in 12 hours and less, I did not get manage to get Blood Tied I launched on time.
     Worse, when I did, I took a penultimate look at it and decided I was not satisfied.
     Not satisfied? There were no visible flaws as per punctuation or grammar; no especial cliches; no reason to agonize.
     But as I read through it, I had to be honest. I knew it wasn't the best book I could produce. Subtleties occurred to me as I read. Companion ideas blossomed. Side shoots grew and flowered. The book, I realized with dismay, had NOT been ready. In my experience, a book is not ready for publication until you cannot stand the sight of it. I rather liked this one still and I knew that was a bad sign, not a good sign.
     I hit the unpublish button almost faster than I had hit its opposite.
     Stay tuned for the real thing. Quack, quack.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Glory Road: Free Weights and Free Speech

   So I did it. The days of dine and dozes will shortly be over because I bought myself a walking treadmill. Soon, I will be strutting and writing my way to glory and a return to fitness.
   I've been a gym nut for years, off and on. It's nothing new for me to spend as much as six hours exercising.  I've been a workaholic for years, too, so at least I'm consistent. What will be different (and what I'm most excited about) is the notion of working and playing at the same time. Really, if you look it at this the right way, it's almost as good as doubling your life expectancy! (And joking aside, this really will improve my quality of life. After years of being fit, I feel uncomfortable with excess poundage.)
   I will no longer feel guilty about not exercising enough. Writing for hours and then spending more hours online with social media and such will no longer be the tradeoff for being out of shape.
     I've always been a fan of free weights and relatively simple exercises. To begin with, I'm not a big person and the quick-fix machines in a gym tend to be sized for Schwarzenegger men (which I've always found odd, considering they are the ones most likely to rely almost exclusively on free weights). One size does not fit all. Machines not sized to fit you force you into unnatural paths of movement. And that leads to injuries. The great thing about free weights is that you yourself control the movement.
   Why I was thinking I needed something that plugs into a wall I don't know. Possibly, it's because I'm used to seeing expensive treadmills in a gym. Perhaps it's because we've been trained by consumerism to assume the most expensive thing is the best, though quite often it's not. I didn't think I'd be in the position to buy a treadmill for months yet since the cheaper electric ones are $2,000 and up. And a desk treadmill is even pricier. So I'd put it out of my mind and steeled myself to stand up while I wrote.
   It wasn't until I caught sight of the hamster wheel for people (what a great concept!) that I realized how flawed my thinking was--why not make this or buy an inexpensive manual treadmill? While I love the hamster treadmill (there are free plans on the internet if you're interested), it would be too big for my house. It would also look decidedly strange with all my antique furniture, though I suppose it could be passed off as a dystopian look.
   I found the walking treadmill I wanted on eBay. It will be an easy conversion to a writing/walking desk and for extra oomph all I'll need is ankle weights. Then I took a gander at Amazon. The same manual treadmill was almost half the price! Free shipping, too. (No wonder retailers are shaking in their boots.) If I lived in a larger place, I might have felt honor-bound to shop locally. But I live in a tiny rural place where a treadmill is as uncommon as city arrogance. We go for country sly in this neck of the woods, uh huh.
   Things had reached breaking point. Looking down at my growing shadow every day (was that the way the sun was hitting it or was I even fatter?) was wrecking my concentration for writing. The last straw was a recent internet story: doctors now think sitting down all day is worse for you than smoking!
   Considering I quit smoking six months ago (and then sat down, for the first time in years, to write fiction) this really, really pissed me off. I mean, what kind of karma is that? I couldn't be smug about quitting smoking anymore (which is really the only fun thing about it) because sitting down is even WORSE? It was then that I spotted the hamster treadmill story.
   So many would-be writers are prepared to hang on for years, even decades, to achieve their publication goals. And they do. But they won't exercise. Inactivity becomes a reward for chaining themselves to desks. I wonder if this latest story about the evils of desk-sitting will change some minds. We'll see, I guess.
   But for me, that  treadmill can't get here fast enough. Free speech AND free weights? It's heaven--the best of both worlds for any writer wanting to stay alive long enough to enjoy the fruits of his or her labors. Use It Or Lose It. No Pain No Gain. These adages work just fine for writing, too. In a world hellbent on making things complicated, why not go against the flow and doubly simplify your life?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Kindle Scout Program Not For Non-U.S. Indies

    English-based Indies who are not American have a harder time in life. New possibilities for publishing come and go for everyone, all the time, but non-U.S. authors deal with continual annoyances that have nothing to do with their writing per se, but their nationality.
     If nothing else, one must do more with paperwork, internet bank accounts and so on to be part of the Indie scene (which is dominated by the U.S. in the English-speaking world). But the real disadvantage is that we non-Americans are never in on the ground floor. For example, the Scout program below just came on tap today:
     Thanks for your interest in Amazon's new publishing program. We want you to be the first to know it's called Kindle Scout and we're now open for submissions in select genres!
Kindle Scout is reader-powered publishing for new, never-before-published books. It's a place where readers help decide if a book receives a publishing contract. Selected books will be published by Kindle Press and receive 5-year renewable terms, a $1,500 advance, 50% eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions, and featured Amazon marketing.
We will be inviting readers to join and nominate books in a couple of weeks. Submit your book today! 

     This latest effort by Amazon is limited to those with a U.S. bank account and a U.S. tax identification number. (In other words, you have to be American with a U.S. bank account and no, Payoneer and its ilk are not acceptable. Sorry about that.)
      I'd been examining the edges of this program and growing increasingly excited. One book, I've kept thinking, could be sacrificed on the altar of lower returns in order to increase readers for my other books. I was more than a little dismayed to learn such a move is currently impossible for non-U.S. authors. I wanted to phone Amazon and say hey, I do have American cousins. And they live in Seattle! (Does that give me an in?)
     There is a bright side to being rejected. (I'll bet most of you don't believe me, though.) Back in olden times, when our newspaper chain was switching from hoary linotypes to spanking new computers as a means of producing newspapers, the smaller daily newspapers got the new system first.
      The reasoning, I imagine, was that a big screw-up at a small newspaper would be less embarrassing than a big screw-up at a newspaper in metro Toronto or Vancouver.
      One Brit noted that she made it a habit to think of the U.S. as a 'testing ground' for Amazon programs. By the time all the kinks were worked out of the Scout program, she said, it would be next introduced in Britain.
     While she contends this places the Brits in an enviable position it does nothing for the rest of us. Both the Brits and the Germans already have Kindle Unlimited. Canadians don't even have their own author pages (we're rolled into the U.S. ones.) I suppose I should be grateful I'm Canadian and a stone's throw from the U.S. Due to the vast distances, I think the ones hardest hit in the English-speaking world are the Aussies and New Zealanders. Amazon and everyone else is after urban markets with population concentration since they are the most profitable and cost-effective. Countries contained within relatively small areas that boast large populations are inevitably going to have the advantage in this marketplace.
     Nuts. I would ordinarily console myself with the usual Canadian fallback ("well, at least we have health care"), but that's not good enough in a matter of the heart (and writing is a matter of the heart).
     Non-U.S. indie authors who write in English have simply got to bite the bullet and accept it:  thanks to the Internet, we are all free to publish anywhere, but U.S. authors currently have a definite advantage in selling their stuff.
      The one thing that cheers me about the whole situation is the potentially large number of would-be authors who will be 'drawn' off by this new program. And perhaps their reception by readers will be so dismal that some will give up writing altogether. Few authors are stubborn enough to continue when no one likes their stuff. So the program should help clear out a bit of the dead wood.
      If you are a non-U.S. author, keep telling yourself that adversity breeds success. I know I focus more strongly on a goal when I figure it's not going to be an easy win. And I always do a better job under those circumstances, too.
     Better to be last and best, eh?
    Give It Back, my medical horror thriller about organ transplantation goes on sale tomorrow (Sept. 15) in the U.S. You can grab a Kindle edition for 99 cents. Reviews are heavily appreciated, too.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

BookLinker Back To Normal

It was pleasant to log on this morning to realize BookLinker.net has reversed its position.

This is the email those who ordinarily use the service are receiving:

"This is just a quick email to let you know that we at BookLinker have reversed our decision to use advertising as a means to fund our service.

This means that all BookLinker links are now completely back to the way they were a few days ago - i.e. no advertising whatsoever. After having reviewed the situation, we are now uninanmously committed to an ad-free BookLinker forever.

Many thanks to those of you who provided us with feedback, and we have already refunded everyone who had already signed up for the premium plan. It was at least encouraging to realise just how much our service is appreciated! Best regards Richard @ BookLinker www.booklinker.net"

Richard, while you may be a whiz at the tech stuff, you and yours should put some effort into your public relations in future (as well, on your spelling and punctuation: this time 'unanimously' is spelled wrong). It makes me shiver sometimes to think of the wars poor language skills are going to cause in the future.

Enough said.

Monday, October 6, 2014

This is a stickup! BookLinker wants your cash!

   I blogged Saturday about a change that took me and numerous other Amazon associate authors by surprise. Without warning, BookLinker.net has begun inserting spot advertisements between your book link and the potential customer who has clicked on your book.
   While I understand that everyone has to make a living, the lack of warning was unacceptable. And the new cost of using their service turns out to be unnecessarily high, particularly when there are alternatives out there that are still free.
   For those not in the know, short links are essentially short cuts to your books. When someone from another country spots your book on the internet, tapping on the link will take them directly to their country's Amazon site where your book is listed for sale. They can immediately buy your book without any jerking around. Read my earlier blog for more information. There are THREE alternative FREE short link services other writers have generously supplied for you in their comments.
   As you can imagine, I have run into no author who likes the idea of ads inserted between their book and the potential reader. I'm fairly new to such techie stuff, so I haven't yet bothered to insert universal links at the backs of all my books as more experienced indie writers have done. I'm nothing but grateful for that now. Think of all the authors with ten or more paperbacks as well as eBook editions who will have to republish their books to get rid of the link! (BookLinker.net is likely counting on this. No one's going to want to take on a time-intensive chore like that.) Boy, is this dirty.
   But as I said yesterday, even if authors bite the bullet and pay BookLinker.net the fee they are requesting, the service is no longer so useful. Fewer potential readers will tap on a link if they suspect an ad lurking behind it, even if there's not.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Squeeze Play? Amazon Authors Asked To Pay For BookLinker.

   I received an e-mail from BookLinker this AM. It annoyed me so much that I've gone off-schedule to blog about it.
This was the e-mail:

"Marilyn Storie, You may have noticed that BookLinker short-links are currently displaying brief rich-media advertisments before redirecting to your content. This is because Amazon Associates are withholding affiliate income from us; effectively forcing us to display these ads in order to meet our ongoing costs. Sales are unlikely to be affected, but if you would like to continue using our service *completely ad-free*, we are offering a new premium plan, costing 10 GBP per month. Please respond to this email if you would like to upgrade to this plan, and we will respond with instructions. Best regards Richard @ BookLinker www.booklinker.net"

   My first thought, of course, was that Richard had unnecessarily capitalized 'You', misspelled 'advertisements', and misused a semi-colon and a hyphen; my second was that he could take a hike.
   I tweeted my distress and then remembered SmartURL. This was a similar site, somewhat more complicated for an author to use, but also superior in some ways to BookLinker. I say 'was' because I quickly discovered the site(quelle surprise) no longer provides a service for books. They've narrowed their niche market down to music. One would have to wonder if the same party has a finger in both url services. One would also have to wonder if Hachette has an indirect interest in either outfit.
   I suppose $15.30 U.S. or so isn't a huge sum for well-established authors. But for new authors or those who make a limited amount, the annual cost of $185 is steep. It would be naive to think cash-poor Amazon will suddenly shower BookLinker with gold. But it could be that the new fee is solely to force Amazon to pay them what they want.
   It's odd, though. And those who do meekly pay for the non-advertisement service will gain a reduced benefit. Once the public anticipates an unwanted ad at the end of a link, they are not going to open the door to discover there isn't one.
   I was going to end by observing that the change in service will hurt all authors, traditional or Indie. But now I'm rethinking things. Are only authors who are also Amazon affiliates being penalized?
   If so, it sure sounds like a squeeze play to me.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Blood Tied IV rocks!

   Meet Luke Damien, a fast-talking, hard-rocking, music promoter who just happens to be Klea's grandfather. He's totally happy to meet everyone at last. Or so he says. Damien's just dropped in from . . . well, from some disreputable place, and he has good news, especially for Klea.
   Or maybe it's not such good news. And maybe he's not really happy to meet anyone at all and he's a jerk who's only visiting because he really, really needs his granddaughter to do something for him. Remember those oddball little magic tricks Klea used in Blood Tied II to speed up her homework? Well, there's a good reason why she can do stuff like this. To find out what it is, though, you'll have to keep up with the stories I post every Friday on Wattpad.
   I can give you one small hint. Klea and her boyfriend Gunther may soon be heading off on a quest. (Because if they don't, no one else in Klea's bewitched family is going to bother. It would be a shame if the world suddenly came to an end without somebody at least trying to stop it, wouldn't it?) 
   The first part of Blood Tied IV gets posted on Wattpad this Friday. Each story is getting expanded into a book. The first, Blood Tied I, is fast nearing completion. (Well, what else could I call it?)
   I'll be posting a preview video of this vampire adventure series to celebrate publication of the first book in October. Watch for it and a contest, too.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Words Will Never Die: Audio Books As The Future

     Do you ever have days when you wonder if the steep rise in the popularity of audio books will mean the eventual demise of the written word?
     Oh. So you think I'm a bit out there, do you? Consider this: the oral telling of tales predates that oily little press Gutenberg came up with by thousands of years. Our brains are wired for oral tales--or are they?
     Nowadays, everyone is listening more, but hearing less. More than one study, I think, has questioned the movement towards audio books. Scientists have determined that people tend to become bored and/or distracted more easily when they are being read to--I would suspect that might be the original reason for all the rude hand gestures and mad dancing about the campfire.
     Think of querelous old people who are never satisfied with what you're reading to them. I flash back on that scene in Little Women where Jo is reading an edifying book to her humorless aunt. The aunt typically fell asleep for an afternoon nap during Jo's reading of the latest mind-numbing Bulwer-Lytton. At that point, Jo would whip out something a little more racy, like the Vicar of Wakefield, to read for herself.
    The aunt wakes up and catches her at it, insists on having the new book read to her, and is revitalized by a story that does more than drone ever onwards. Readers need ACTION. Readers need COLOR. Readers need CHARACTERS.
      The original teller of tales (like any writer) must have been miffed that no one was paying much attention to his tale and decided to juice it up. Personally, if I was going to have a book read to me, then I would want at least one caveman leaping about, demonstrating the high points of the tale with his spear--and I'd be much happier if he was joined by the Rockettes. And speaking of the Rockettes, think of early radio. The clopping of horses' hooves, the scream of a train, thundering rain--all of the clever sound effects accompanied by a hurried and suspenseful pace to the dialogue helped to keep listeners enthralled. (Boy, is anyone doing this regularly with the new audio books yet? I might be tempted to try one myself.) But without such aids to keep a listener focused, the retention of audio tales is apparently terrible.
      I have a relative with a rare disorder affecting his eyes. It will not be too much longer, in fact, before he is blind. This is how I always thought of audio books: as a necessity for the blind, but as an unneeded luxury for the rest of us. As I looked into them, concerned for this relative who will soon lose his ability to read books in the ordinary way, I was surprised.
     It's not the blind, but ordinary people who are responsible for the renewed interest and billion dollar boom in audio books. While they're working out, while they're walking to work, while they're on the computer (seems like overkill, doesn't it?)--one has to wonder why society is so eternally afraid of blessed silence. Audio books are newly popular with teenagers, too, which is more than a little scary. Things could get quite interesting down the road if the ones listening to audio books turn out to be the ones who can barely read and write as it is.
     The paranoid would say that it's not enough to dumb down newspapers and books anymore--that the latest Machiavellian move by The Ones Who Are Really In Charge is to make people stupid with audio books.
      Well, if so, I want mine with sound effects, please. But not just yet. You see, I've got this great book to read first . . . .

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bad eBooks Good News For Serious Authors

     Everyone complains of the impossibility of getting anyone to notice their eBook. I say that if your book is any good then readers will eventually seize on it with considerable relief. I'd even argue that you will get farther ahead as an author if you lay off social media altogether for a while.
     I began publishing online scant months ago and have overcome new problems every day--but I've learned that social media is the annoying zit that never goes away.
     I have sympathy for one writer's complaint about the new age. He said he was a loner and didn't want to change. He resented having to do all this other stuff that had nothing to do with writing (actually, he used the word 'crap', not 'stuff').
     I have a limited liking for social media as well. When I first started fooling around with it, I found myself transported back in time to an online Sweet Valley High--giggling, fingering my braces, and hanging around the edges of an established group while begging them to let me in.
     I finally decided I didn't much like these people anyway (this could have been sour grapes). It had occurred to me by then that a flock of authors dripping with shiny five-star reviews (given out by other members of the same group) was not credible.
     There are published authors out there who work much harder at giving the illusion of success than they do at their writing. I'm finding them easier to spot these days because they rarely talk about what they're working on, they talk about themselves. These authors also have poor circulation (in more ways than one) and tend to huddle in groups for warmth. No one is allowed to express an opinion that doesn't conform to the general opinions of the group (e.g., the only reason they aren't on the NY Times best sellers' list this month--or any list at all, for that matter--is because they're too good to be noticed by ordinary readers.)
     Social media is important as a means of promoting your book. But it's my personal belief that it's nowhere near as important as most people believe.
     In the news business, a great story was bound to go places. Even if it started out small and got buried for a few days, someone at a big metro newspaper or wire service would eventually notice it, and pump it larger. Then everyone would jump on it with both feet. A news wire service was really a rudimentary internet and the principle remains the same. If a story was really worth the ink, then it got out there in spades.
     I think that if you're good enough, succeeding at fiction writing is exactly like this. I don't deny there is a large component of luck that goes along with any success in publishing. I don't deny there are successful writers out there who largely suck at writing, but are very, very good at self-promotion. I don't deny the sun will probably rise tomorrow. But I do disagree with disgruntled writers who say it's all luck. I know cream will eventually rise to the top because that belief is based on life experience, not situational optimism.
   There is so much self-published crap (I use this word, too) floating around out there, that we all sometimes wish someone would flush the toilet. And I am not really surprised at the number of established, but possibly mediocre, eBook authors out there who like to blame their stalled careers on luck. They think in terms of luck because they themselves got in on the ground floor of Indie publishing. But the eBook market is no longer novel--it is, in fact, maturing. The gold rush is over and quality is becoming a much bigger deal.   
     I look at it in terms of a traditional newspaper. If you pull a newspaper apart, the star placements are the front of the sports page section and page one. If your stories made it to either spot on a daily basis, then you were a hotshot, the approximate equivalent of a well-known and successful self-published book author. But the bulk of any newspaper was made up of more mediocre local stories, fillers, and advertisements. They all served a purpose, but none of them garnered top attention.
      Working as a reporter gave insights traditionally published authors never receive. I got loads of feedback from the public (some of it not especially pleasant) on a daily basis. But I did well as a reporter because I never made the mistake some of my contemporaries did--of assuming people were stupid. Quite the opposite. To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, it has been my experience that people have a fundamental bottom of good sense.
     Just as art can be appreciated by anyone, so can good writing. And just as page one stories stood out from the less exciting inside content of a newspaper, a good book will be noticed with a reasonable amount of marketing.
      I don't happen to consider writing overfilled with academic jargon or made unintelligible by excessive experimentation--to be good writing. (There are exceptions to this rule, e.g., Finnegan's Wake, but I'm speaking in general terms.) We are what we learn, I guess. Having been a reporter, I feel that if writing fails to communicate with readers, then it is, by definition, not good writing (no matter how erudite its author).
     Where real disagreement may arise is in what constitutes the successful writer.
     As we all know, absolute drivel turns a good profit if it is well marketed. Temporarily. But to write a book that can hold the attention of many and survive over time to continue to hold the attention of many . . . well, that's a different goal entirely. Few ever achieve immortality.
     But give it your best shot anyway. Why not? High goals are better than none, I think. And if you don't set high goals for yourself, then you likely won't have high standards for your writing. These things tend to be symbiotic. For myself, I'm still writing for page one, whether a hole's been left open there for me or not.
     Oh, and don't forget to flush the toilet on your way out.   



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Vampires Are Good Company In Blood Tied

     While thumbing through the books at a secondhand outlet, I came across a first edition of Anne Rice's first book, Interview With The Vampire.
     These days I'm trying to lay off buying print books and to embrace the brave new world of eBooks wholeheartedly. I had no business buying this one in particular since I'd read it many times in the past. But I couldn't resist it. Rice looked so vulnerable in her 1976 mugshot on the book jacket that I ended up buying it anyway. (Remember that in the future; if you look pathetic in your author photo, there will always be suckers like me who will come along and buy your book.)
     Only a month later and the book is now a talisman on my desk. I find myself pumped to write not just a few stories about vampires as I had intended, but an actual young adult series. Along with writing horror, I have consistently enjoyed reading this genre myself, whether current or antique. And I've always credited Anne Rice as the one author who excels at depicting vampires. Her complex and uniquely troubled characters have a good deal to do with the resurrection and expansion of the vampire genre so popular today. And back then she, too, was experimenting--perhaps a lucky harbinger for me.
     So what am I doing with this coming-of-age series that is different?
     Well, for one thing I am publishing separate stories on Wattpad. Each Blood Tied story is being developed into a novel from the first-person perspective of that character. The suspiciously armed guy you see above is Gunther, the teenaged daughter's boyfriend and reigning star of the third story which begins this Friday on Wattpad. While Klea is a vampire, Gunther is not--he's having to cope with Klea's crazy family, though, and believe me, the axe is quite necessary.
     The first Blood Tied story is a bit of a shocker and said shock relied on writing it in first person. I had no intention of writing the second story in first person--but then I wondered if the characters might not be more memorable, and the story itself more vibrant, if each book switched to the first-person viewpoint of a different major character.
     After writing two stories, I've decided that the personalized approach is working quite well. It will adapt well to a short novel form (what Henry James used to call 'the blest novella'.) This will make writing the series more challenging in some ways, but I also think it will be doubly intriguing to read if I do things right.
     Being an ex-reporter, I've given myself deadlines and a rough writing length. The core stories will be 10,000 words or under and the books themselves 40,000 to 50,000 words.
     I like the idea of putting the stories up on Wattpad. If readers dislike reading about a particular character, they will know in advance; and if they especially enjoy one of the characters, they will know that, too. And kids without the funds to buy books will still be able to experience the full flavor of this series by reading the stories.
     I think I like that best of all.
  

  

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

You're Only As Good As Your Next Book

     So never mind how good your published book is--the important book is the next one.
     In reporting, all of your glories and sorrows lay in the future. With a daily deadline, there was little time to enjoy it when you'd gotten off a good one. You were too busy racing to the next story. You enjoyed it even less when you discovered an issue that merited days of coverage. A story that important meant racing about like a mobile home on fire to cover every angle.
     If you did not do this, other reporters--some from your own newsroom, too--would perk up and try to chip off your story by swooping in with a different spin. I would not have allowed this as an editor myself. But cannibalism was encouraged in many newsrooms to keep reporters on their toes. Far better, I think, to have openly assigned a number of reporters to different angles on the same story. It was only ever the mediocre reporters who took up this kind of lukewarm challenge out of sheer laziness, anyway. Maybe editors just did it out of boredom to watch the fur fly.
     These days, being handed a story to do is the sum total of a reporter's life. Things have grown tame; few are left to enjoy the thrill of the kill. Thanks to the speed of internet communication, no one cares who gets the story first. For the few oldtimers left in the business, it is demotion as a big game hunter to employment behind the yogurt counter.
     Print reporting really was a dog's life. Half the time you never knew if you were going to get a pat on the head or be banished to the kennel for a few days to mull over your sins (this happened whenever you upset a newspaper advertiser with one of your stories). But man oh man--it was fun.
     Like reporters, fiction writers need to live in the future as well as the present. Oddly, I think writers are at most risk of failure after the publication of their first book. This is a landmark goal, after all. But that sense of accomplishment you feel can mutate into inertia  if you nap on your laurels for too long. (OMG can I really do this again?)
     As with almost everything else to do with writing, self-publishing demands a greater personal effort. Those with traditional publishers are expected to do a reasonable amount of self-promotion. An indie must do everything. If you can afford hired help, fine. But if you can't, you must do it all yourself. And all that while working on your next book.
     It is a difficult task--not an impossible one. And like a reporter working under a spiteful desk editor, you must never be allowed to get your hands on the golden ball or you'll lose your edge. You can see it, taste it, hear it, smell it. But you're not allowed to hold it in your hot little hands. Not ever.
     Write every day or die. Promote every day or die. Wonderful. Now there's two of them.    
     Thank god we don't need to watch out for cannibals.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Persistent Writers: Why To Develop Lizard Skin

    The deciding factor for writers who will be remembered and those who won't isn't talent.
     It's lizard skin.
    Certainly, it helps to have talent. But in the beginning, growing a thick skin is just as important. Good but oversensitive writers sometimes give up after their first rejection slip while lousy ones continue on their stubborn, error-filled ways. In the end, it can be these inconsequential (but do-or-die) writers who are the ones to achieve a modicum of success.
     Don't let that stop you. There is a natural order to these things and life is ultimately fair to writers who try, I think. Also cheering is the fact that the really bad ones only get so far before their lacking ingredient--actual talent--becomes obvious to all. (You don't really think the author of 50 Shades is respected for her literary gifts, do you?)
     What I regret are all the good ones who gave up too soon.
     Part of developing the thick lizard skin that enables you to survive in the cold world as a unknown writer lies in simple routine. Reporting introduced me to the discipline of writing every day (whether I wanted to do it or not), so that's what I do.
    I was lucky. When would-be literary giants ask their famous counterparts how they did it, they always say the same thing: I write every day.
     Nobody likes this unglamorous answer. It's like being told to eat the tofu you left on your plate. I've observed that even reporters--who of all people should know better--will reject this answer and ask the famous writer for another one.         
reptile coloring pages     I suppose it's human nature to look for a shortcut. And really, there are shortcuts out there--you could set your cap for the CEO of a publishing house; you could climb to the top of a tall building, threatening to jump unless someone offers you a book contract.
     Or you could write every day until you get somewhere.
    Then you, too, will be able to crawl out from under your rock to sun yourself in the warm glow of publication.

Monday, August 18, 2014

In Praise of Speed: Why To Write Fast

     A poet once told me he suspected reporters learned things about writing that poets and fiction writers never got a chance to learn.
     Too right. I was attempting to write poetry and short stories long before I ever stumbled into journalism. And the first thing I learned after going over to The Other Side was to stop taking myself so seriously.
     When you begin with poetry or fiction, the production of every word is a kind of torture. I blame this in part on creative writing instructors who make one feel that no matter how well your story is written, it could have been better. These same creative writing types are prone to agonize over every comma in their own writing.
     None of us are Shakespeare. None of us are Tolstoy. But defeatist comparison is largely what writer's block is all about. Every writer has something to contribute. No writer born is perfect. Each one of us is unique.
     There will always be exceptions to the rule, but for most writers, fast writing really is the way to go. At the least, it ensures you will produce more than a couple of half-written poems before you die.
     Working under daily newspaper deadline made me a better writer. There's no time for existential torment when you're reporting. The grunt reporter was laden each morning with two to three back page stories, another for the front page if he or she was lucky (readers actually saw your byline then), and any number of briefs ranging from notable deaths to translating cop speak so you could produce an accident report.
     Thrashing through all that for a morning deadline while stopping to answer the phone every ten minutes kept one busy. You had no time to spend worrying overmuch as to whether you should use "to" or "at" in your copy.
      As a picky writer (and born procrastinator), this necessity for writing at top speed sometimes annoyed me. I do think editors tended to shout at me more than the others because I refused to let go of a story unless it was done to my satisfaction. But any reporter in that newsroom would probably say the same since the editors shouted at everyone.
     All that editorial yelling taught us that a good enough story that was finished was a far superior beast to a perfectly polished story that was unfinished.
     There was a time when telling the truth took precedence in newsrooms and it was satisfying to be a reporter then. A lot of writers who were more naturally inclined to fiction did well as reporters. But while our hearts were in reporting, it was not the kind of writing that would ever touch our souls: even then we knew that only poetry and fiction tell the real and literal truth.
     Charles Dickens' exaggerated portrayals of poverty in London had more to do with truth than the sober newspaper depictions of Victorian life which concealed social ills with robust factory figures and toasts to the Queen. The Grapes of Wrath. Dr. Zhivago. Franny and Zooey. You get the idea. If the words have no heart, there is no heart.
     But those of us who left the newspaper business when things began to unravel took a few good things away with us.
     So if you want to make it as a writer, don't take yourself too seriously. My advice is to write your first draft fast and to not stop to polish it. This forces you to focus on the story, not the language, and the story is what sells books.
     You can do the pretty stuff later. 
Copyright © 2014 Marilyn Storie

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I Don't Want To Be A Fat Writer: The Locomotion Promotion

    We all know that you must make sacrifices to write. And I have finally accepted that I will never get away from this computer long enough to do more than minimal housekeeping and to ensure my teenager doesn't starve (not that she ever would; she learned to forage for herself from an early age which, come to think of it, could be why she was so enthralled with The Hunger Games series).
     She will cook for the both of us now, with the downside being that I get to do the dishes--we both hate doing dishes. It also means we eat a lot of French fries and pasta dishes with the occasional salad thrown in to stave off rickets. It doesn't save me a lot of time.
     Or lose me any weight. My immediate goal is to make enough so I can buy a treadmill to walk/write on. By the by, I have a couple of horror short stories just out this week, one to read free on Wattpad and a more adult-oriented one available as a 99 cent download on Amazon. Just sayin'. Getting back to the topic, though, I don't mind staring at a computer screen all day, but what I really don't like is all this sitting down business.
     I have always been fascinated by the writing habits of great writers. Balzac, an archetypal spendthrift, turned night into day to ensure none of his creditors could interrupt his train of thought; numerous romantic poets, including Byron, kept a skull or two on their desks. Hemingway in particular has always interested me because he wrote standing up at a drafting table. I am also intrigued by his nervous habit of coring the rot and bruises out of apples with a penknife as he wrote. It would certainly beat devouring jelly babies or pulling out your eyelashes while you polish your language. And if you were feeling particularly dark that day, the knife would be handy.
     Back to the standing, though. As I've mentioned before, I worked for years as a daily newspaper reporter. I never wanted to become an editor, though it meant more money/status/job security, for one reason: every desk editor I ever met had a bad back or was working on one.
     It would be fine if you could go directly from reporter to managing editor (those guys got to take lunch; the desk editors worked straight through due to newspaper deadlines), but that never happened at any newspaper I ever heard of, not even if your relative owned it.
     Sitting still has repercussions. My only exercise this summer has been mowing the lawn once a week. I went to great lengths to explain to the wide-eyed neighbors yesterday that my sudden weight gain was due to working hard sitting on my ass. For some reason, they didn't get it.
     The general perception out there, however untrue, is that fat people are lazy people. Writing may be the only profession whereby rapid weight gain is a sign of success, not laziness. It means you've been socking away 12, 14, and 16 hour days to keep up with your clamoring fans.
      I don't know why more writers don't mention this instead of relying on head shots only: really, we should be equated to leaders of primitive cultures where your status is dependent on the girth of your waist. A fat writer is an affluent writer. The more you weigh, the more you can afford to eat. The more you write, the more you weigh, the more readers you have. It's revolving karma. But no one appreciates this.
      It's a shame that being overweight carries a literal increase in stature, but not status--otherwise, we could have writing contests based on our weight. Indie writers have it the worst, too. The necessity to sit still for long periods of time is accelerating. You can't get away with just writing anymore, not even if you're the genius your mother always said you were.
      You have to blog, reblog, tag, twitter, retwitter, follow; leave hearts, stars, and messages with that hideous smiley face some disco-trotting joker turned computer nerd decided to resurrect from the 1970s--it doesn't end. Writers devote up to four hours a day doing promotional stuff on line. To become a successful writer in the new sense means social media of all kinds is mandatory. Mandatory.
     When you combine this with "just writing"--a seven-hour day at the least if you plan to do it full time (and if you want to really succeed, those regular writing hours are more often 10 to 12 hours a day)--that's a lot of sitting still.
     Remembering the '90s, when workaholics with no time to spare wandered gyms at lunch with work they'd brought from their offices (I myself cruised about in those days carrying weights; my idea of a good exercise was one where you got to sit down), I've realized I need to maximize my time.
     Hemingway the athlete had it right. Back in the 1930s, as a reporter himself, I'm sure he took note of all those groaning, moaning, bad-back desk editors at the Toronto Star. And it's amazing how fast you fall apart when you do nothing but sit. Four months ago, before I returned to fiction writing in earnest, I was in great, if not excellent, shape for my age. Four months. That's all it took for me to bloat up like a dead thing left sitting in the sun. Now I need to lose weight or buy a new wardrobe. And while I've never had a bad back, I surely would if I kept on without making some changes.
     I've rearranged things so I can write à la Hemingway, standing as I type. It's a temporary fix for now. I've worked at jobs before where you must stand in one spot. I've never liked standing still. And I've always thought it would be lousy for your knees over time. Walking on a treadmill, however, sounds ideal.
     So this is a locomotion promotion. I'm interested in hearing from anyone else who is coping, or thinking of coping, with a similar problem.
     But please don't suggest a head shot. 

Copyright © 2014 Marilyn Storie

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How things work

     A goal of blogging once a week to start with didn't sound so bad. Not at first. Not until I got enthusiastic again, messing about with how things work. As a result of that deeply regretted enthusiasm, no one will be reading this second blog any time soon--not until I slog my way through the mud-deep horror of hooking my own domain up with this blog. I have, in fact, royally screwed things up.
     This is one of those hideous computer problems where you can't back out once you've gotten yourself in--it's the equivalent of being caught in a Sumatran man trap except for that I'm a woman and, most luckily, more or less flat-chested. As well, you have to wait 48 hours between tries to see if you've fixed the original problem so the bloody torture could go on for days. Days.
     I will blog on schedule today anyway, whether my words continue to disappear into a laughing black hole or not. But, like most people messing around with websites and such, with no help other than that of a disdainful teenager who stays watching vines in her bedroom WHEN I'M BEGGING YOU FOR HELP HERE YOU ROTTEN KID, I am bitter. I discovered the correct instructions for adding a domain shortly AFTER I balled everything up by following instructions that turned out to be years out of date. Because, of course, that is How Things Work.
     I have had enough learning experiences in life. This last year, in fact, has been a blur of learning. There is never time enough in life to assimilate knowledge so it can be converted to wisdom. I have a godlike or possibly cowlike urge to remain unmoving and ruminate on all the new things I have been forced to learn and swot up on, simply in order to publish a few wretched books on the Internet.
     I do not dare give in to that urge. I must, in fact, write twice as hard and as fast to catch up to where I was before I immersed myself in the tank (in my view, staring at a computer screen for fourteen hours on end defines sensory deprivation).
Because that, my friends, is how things work.

Text Copyright © 2014 Marilyn Storie