The Author as Publisher (via The Militant Writer)


This is the kind of assement that fledgling authors like myself really need. Someone who has been inside the industry and is willing to share information. The difference between the old and new publishing industry is SO key.

Too many times, I find that my most experienced author friends assume I have more knowledge than I actually possess. As flattering as it may be (and I STILL love to be flattered) it often has me running to Google to figure out WTF they are talking about.

Not Mary, when I’m done reading her posts, I feel like I’ve been educated.

This bring me to the present – I am publishing my own work to Create Space. I’m working with Create Space on ‘Let’s Do Lunch’ and I’m going to do ‘Swallow the Moon’ myself. (Yes, I know, I’m doing it bacwards. But LDL has formatting bugs I couldn’t get out. StM doesn’t. LDD desperately needs a descent cover. StM just needs the right file from Ronnell Porter and I’m in business!)

Anyways – here is the post that got me working on paper publishing.

(Second in a series of articles about the new realities for writers and readers.) It seems inevitable to me now that unless they take up the sideline manufacture of weaponry or bath salts to subsidize themselves, the major publishing houses are going down. There will certainly be a role for niche publishers in future (literary presses that focus on poetry or esoteric fiction among them, teetering on the brink of expiration as they always have, an … Read More

via The Militant Writer

Recycling or Exploring Themes?


As I sit down with book #3 – I wonder if I’m being innovative, or lazy to start with the themes from first book and rewrite it into something completely different.

If you take the viewpoint that ‘it’s all been done before’ then it doesn’t matter a lick if I re-write the first book. What is a series if not a recycling of setting and characters?

But the voices in my head don’t want me to get off scott free on this one. (Editorial voices – not the serial killer demonic voices. They are bored mindless with this discussion. They are interested in doing evil things with twitter.)

I’ll mull this over until the coffee is gone. Then I’m back to #amwriting.

The Year in Numbers


I decided to post this, despite the fact the numbers are small.

If I include the Smashwords give aways as sales, the chart looks crazy. So those are out. But so you know, there were 74 ‘giveaways’ of ‘Let’s Do Lunch’ in March and 95 in July. The short stories which debuted for free had 380 total ‘sales’ between them.

This is just sales, it is not broken down by project.

  1. Smashwords – 380 total
  2. Amazon 2010 – 27
  3. Amazon 2011 – 15
  4. B&N – 30

All Smashwords sales are freebies.

A Rant in Geek Speak


I won’t be the least upset if you don’t read this. I haven’t indulged in a good rant in a while, this one is all about data collection and so forth. Boring as hell, so sorry.

I was looking at my sales data, trying to make some sense of it. Lot’s of luck – it’s a nightmare.

There are 3 vendors, with sub-vendors, 12 months, a series of years to come, and an unlimited number of stories. There’s no freaking way to make it fit in a single spreadsheet.

You know why? Because the crazy data is 3-dimensional not 2-dimensional.

Yes – I know – multiple spreadsheets within a book. Ha! Divided by what exactly? Vendor? Each one has a problem with it – watch this.

Spreadsheet sales by vendor. We have months across the top (X) and each writing project across the side (Y). So where does the sub-vendor information go? Oops! Can’t track sales by market.

Take two – Months across the top and vendor with sub-vendor information down the side. So where do we break it down by writing project? (SUPER clunky, this one, though I will need it for the IRS.)

Take three – each project gets their own spreadsheet. (Right, like I have time for that!) and each sale is broken down by price and royalty rate.

PRICE? Royalty rate? Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute! I gotta know each sale for that. Not just Monthly sales and and vendor but the dang prices (which vary) and royalty rates?

Look, you want to crunch these numbers properly or guess at how much money you lose every time you put a work ‘on sale’ for $.99 – or worse yet for free? Average earnings counts in the real world, chickybaby, so don’t go a ‘art-Tist’ and squirm out of it!

Buck up and Geek this properly.

Must have coffee! Coffee and bad Chinese food!

NO! Too early for Chinese.

Okay, Coffee AND chocolate! Put it in the coffee!

(trots off to raid the Godiva.)

Did I ever tell you that I buy Godiva chocolate at the Rineyville Feed Store?

(trot, trot, trot)

AHHHHHH!!!! HE ATE THE GODIVA! AHHHHHH!!!!!!

(Sobbing noises)

Perspective, Respected


There are bloggers and there are those whose words you can take to the bank. I’ve mentioned how much I respect the people who do the math and let you make up your own mind. It’s damn hard to argue with math. I’d like to – but putting everything in a spreadsheet and charting it makes it clear.

This morning I was browsing through the Smashwords giveaways. I’m a little stunned at how many copies of ‘Let’s Do Lunch’ have moved this month, at least 95. Total of all 4 e-book ‘units’ moved is 220. That is a phenomenal number.

Watching all those copies of ‘Let’s Do Lunch’ go out reminds me that I’ve got the advertisment for ‘Swallow the Moon’ in the back. I have my marketing plan for ‘Swallow the Moon’ in place. I’ve hit Nookboards and Kindleboards, blogged about the book and I’m working on plastering the image everywhere. This morning I posted ‘Swallow the Moon’ to Amazon.com. I’ve been waiting for an ISBN number – I got one last night. So now the book will move through the different systems and into Goodreads.

**Pause while I try to get ‘Swallow the Moon’ to appear on Goodreads. Crap, the cover won’t show. But I did get ‘Impressive Bravado’ to show up as mine. **

I’m so glad I gave myself an extra 2 weeks to get all the details of this book in place before I try to ‘launch’ it. This is enough to drive me crazy – the added pressure of getting everything squared away in a few days…I’d end up in a ‘rubber room’ for a long time.

This is where the experience I got from “Let’s Do Lunch” is so valuable. I knew just how much work this was going to be. I expected problems, I expected to stumble over the details. With a year of sales data ready to be processed – I’m looking forward to crunching the numbers.

Just spent a couple of hours update spreadsheets and messing with charts. This is going to be time consuming.  I like playing with databases and spreadsheets. The difference between 8 sales x $.35 and 9 sales at $2.10 each is really clear in a small chart. $10 difference!

Keeping 3 vendors, 6 sub-vendors and 5 products straight is going to be a nightmare. I don’t know how I’m going to do it without an (EXPENSIVE) database. The first thing that has to GO is the price changes. Fixed that this afternoon, too. Everything is listed at the right price across the market.

My Hero, Dean Wesley Smith hit the nail on the head with his latest essay. How to kill your Indie career without even trying can be summed up in two words.

(drumroll)

“Be impatient.” How’s that for a sound bite? Cooled my jets this morning, that’s for sure. I was wrapped around the axle about pricing again this morning, until I read all the way to the end.

So How To Avoid This Death?

— Think Long Term.

A novel selling twenty copies around the world for $4.99 will make you $35.00 per month, $420.00 per year, $4,200 in ten years.  If you got a $5,000 advance from a traditional publisher with an agent, you would lose your book rights for at least that long and make  $4,250 spread over three years.

— Keep Writing.

If you have ten novels selling ten copies, you make $350.00 per month, $4,200 per year, and $42,000 in ten years.

— Set Pricing.

Price your novel at a decent price like $3.99 or $4.99 or $5.99 and leave it alone.

— Stop Checking Numbers.

Check your sales numbers once a month. Let them alone, focus on producing more books and writing more books.

—Stop Comparing Yourself to Joe Konrath or John Locke.

They are on the fringes, just as you can’t compare your sales in traditional publishing to Nora Roberts or Stephen King. If you stay in long enough, you might become one with sales like them, but not early on.

—Keep Learning.

All your focus in the early years should be on learning. Writing and publishing and business. You can’t stop learning. And all your early stuff just consider good practice and if you make money on it, great, be happy.

— Celebrate Every Sale.

A reader thought your book was good enough to pay for. Trust me, that’s the highest compliment you can get. Period.

(Sigh) Common sense wins over peer pressure once again.

I don’t understand why people hate cliches` when they hold so much wisdom.

“Stay on course.”

I can handle that.

‘Swallow the Moon’ – Released

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Here at last is the book I’ve been talking about. ‘Swallow the Moon’ is a paranormal romance set in Ashtabula Ohio.

Swallow the Moon by K. A. Jordan on Barnes & Noble

Swallow the Moon on Smashwords – on sale for $1

 June called down the moon to find her one true love. A motorcycle from Hell dumped Eric on her doorstep.

An accountant for a failing company, June longs for true love. In a Wiccan summoning ceremony, she swallows the moon in an effort to find her soul mate. What she gets is Ohio National Guardsman Eric Macmillan, who owns a cursed Suzuki Hayabusa and two spirits: DEA agent Jake the Snake, and the malevolent stripper Cora Cobra.

Back from Afghanistan, divorced and un-employed, Eric is the third owner of a Suzuki Hayabusa. The other owners are dead, just not departed. He’s looking for the artist who created ‘Cora’s’ snake-inspired paint job. When Eric arrives at the scene of Jake’s last sting, on a one-of-a-kind motorcycle, all hell breaks loose – someone tries to kill him.

Van Man Go is the world’s greatest airbrush artist. He will repaint Eric’s Hayabusa, for the usual price. Like Cora Cobra and Jake the Snake, Eric must put his soul up for collateral. Cora and Jake failed to pay their debts, now the devil wants his due.

Somebody’s going to pay, and pay very soon. Who will it be?

Care to take a ride on the Hayabusa from Hell?

Lawn Mowers From Hell


When the riding mower went down, I knew I was in trouble.

Then it rained, again.

I’m too fat to push a lawn mower. So I needed something self-propelled.

The people at Wal-mart were great – the only suitiable mower started out with a ‘repaired by’ ticket on it. Discounted and folded up, we got it in the back of the PT Cruiser.

It lasted 2 minutes before the drive siezed up.

Hubby decided to ‘help.’ He carelessly tossed the mower in the back of the trailer and got really snarky when I suggested we tie it down.

Three bumps later, I pulled into a parking lot, just as the lawn mower started to slide off the trailer. This time I tied it down, but since we were having one of those cute little ‘discussions’ that happen when a man is wrong and the woman is pissed off…I didn’t check both ends of the tie down.

A couple miles down the road – after he assured me that the mower hadn’t moved (he lied), I pulled into another parking lot, just as the mower was sliding off the back of the trailer AGAIN.

Advice to men: if you are wrong twice, just shut your mouth. Don’t make any noise, don’t even say you are sorry. Because if you do…well, you get what you deserve.

Back at the other Wal-mart (the people were great, again) we picked up another mower. Got that one home (strapped down like a wild animal.) It was the wrong one.

I had errands to run, so I took the trailer off the car. Oh what a mistake. It started to storm, so I quickly put the trailer on the car, and backed the trailer into the barn. The trailer popped up, the ball wasn’t fastened, the trailer slid forward and scratched the hatch. I didn’t have time to cry over the car…but I’m still sniveling.

The next day, I took it back, still in the box.

(Are you seeing a pattern here? I am – and it didn’t stop with mower #3 either.)

The next mower up was out of my price range. So I went to Home Depot, where the people were really great…but someone hit my trailer.

Granted, there aren’t a whole lot of PT Cruisers pulling trailers. But she really, really hurt her Toyota RAV4. All I can think of was that she was traveling at a good clip and never slowed down when she heard the scraping noise. The gouge out of her car went from front wheel to rear wheel, and the (flat) rear wheel had a DEEP slice in the tire.

So the box with mower #4 went into the trailer and was strapped down. It rained all the way home. Not a sprinkle either – a hard and heavy rain.

That mower gave us a lot of trouble. It wouldn’t start, the handles were shoved through the housing. Took us 2 hours to figure out what the problem was.

Once we figured it out, the mower ran great, for an hour.

Then the front wheel drive gave out.

Mind you, my lawn is still growing. Every time it rains it grows an inch. We are talking about a lawn fertilized with years of chicken droppings. When we moved it, there wasn’t much grass. You could see the soil between the blades. No longer.

Even with the lawnmower on it’s highest setting, the grass is still long. Even just clipping the top inch or two, the mower labors in spots. 

The people who work in Wal-mart and Home Depot are great. I can’t say enough nice things about them. They work for huge corporations that pay the lowest wages and in some cases, discriminate against workers based on age and gender. Also the merchandise leaves a lot to be desired. I didn’t buy the cheapest mowers – I bought the mid-priced high end mowers.

Three of them didn’t work, one wasn’t what I needed. I’m pretty darn frustrated with this whole mess. I didn’t know what else to do, but take the dead mower back.

I had a choice between a Toro with a Briggs and Stratton engine and a Lawnboy with a Kolhar engine. All three of the dead mowers had Briggs and Stratton engines. So we went with the Lawnboy.

This time the mower did fine. It was the operator that gave out. I started coughing about 3/4 of the way through. The back yard is full of ragweed, I’m sure that had something to do with it.

Under normal circumstances, a married woman would have a partner to fall back on. Unfortunately, my ‘partner’ was on his back in bed, staring at the ceiling, where he’s been for over a year now.

I have an issue with this.