Blimprider Times, No. 15

Featured Site of the Week

Today I give you Metapunk

MetapunkHeader

Metapunk is a ten-year old European blog covering steam-, cyber-, and all the other punks under one fascinating roof.  We have all heard volumes about the GDPR, and seen the endless cookie notifications everywhere we go, but there is more to it than that.  Under the new rules, Metapunk (and quite probably many more personal blogs) found itself classified as a business and subject to stringent restrictions and fees.  Its last post before the current one announced its impending demise, but before that came to pass, the operator, a brilliant young man named Gilman, thankfully decided to jump through all the hoops necessary to keep his rating as a Personal Blog.  This involved removing a decade’s worth of links, and relinquishing his Patreon account, but he did it all for us.  As he stated, he has made $5.12 from his blog over the last eight years, so no great harm was done, but he still had to do all the work of cleaning out the links.

The net, the blogosphere, punkdom, whatever you want to call it, is a little richer today for Gilman’s continued presence, and my hope here is to thank him by driving a little extra traffic his way.  Anyone care to help?  Metapunk!

View from the Blimp

The Darklighters is my current project du jour, though you wouldn’t know it from the lack of progress.  The book is envisioned to comprise five linked novellas of about 20,000 words each.  The first one is done, and I have finished Part I of the second, which is where I have been most frustratingly stalled for at least a week now.  I can point to real-life issues stealing my time, and overcommitment on my part to a number of projects that don’t get words on the page, including this blog, but those are just so many worthless excuses.  The bottom line is that it’s on me to create time to write, and I haven’t been doing that.  I will.

Then there’s this other issue of where I’m going with this writing gig.  In my last article I made it clear that I wasn’t in it for the money, and put my literal money where my mouth is by reducing the price on every book in my catalog to 99¢.  I made it clear that what I want as a writer is to be read.  A number of people commented favorably on that post, and shared it around the internet, but it hasn’t led to one additional sale.  The fact is that despite my relentless marketing on every platform I can access, including Facebook and Goodreads with their tens of millions of subscribers, I haven’t made a sale since April 28th, when the first and so far only copy of The Stone Seekers was purchased.

Here’s what my plan is at this moment; regular readers will know how that goes, but as of this writing:  I’m going to finish The Darklighters.  It seems to move at its own pace, but I’m thinking by the end of the year it should be done and up on Amazon.  Then I’m going to take a vacation, right now I’m thinking 90 days, during which time I will continue to blog and promote as usual.  If at the end of the 90 days I’m selling a book a month, just one book a month, I will continue writing.  If not, then I’m going to close the book on all of these groups and blogs and sites and pages that I run around servicing like my hair’s on fire, and get on with my retirement as a rather more private citizen.  There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to quit doing the same thing over and over, and hoping for different results…

Interesting Reads

VicariousView

Vicarious View by Brian Barr.  With the help of powerful mind-link technology, the bed-ridden Nishiyoka gets another chance at life through the eyes of the attractive actor Tanaka.  Women, drinks, and the glamourous life offered by Japan’s film industry are all at Nishiyoka’s fingertips, which allows the old man to forget the cancer that eats away at his own body in a lonely hospital room.  Just as Tanaka assumes his roles in popular samurai dramas, Nishiyoka can feel everything Tanaka feels, as he experiences life not only in Tanaka’s mind but his body as well.  With such a rewarding second opportunity at life, what could go wrong?  Paperback only, $5.99.

SUVI

SUVI by Prudence MacLeod.  Enslaved as a child, her DNA altered until she was barely half human, Jeannie Sorenson still managed to engineer her escape back to the ship that brought her to that deadly planet.  Could the humans accept her now that she was half alien?  Could she learn to interact with them and still retain her freedom?  And why the hell did they keep asking her for answers when they didn’t want to hear them?  $5.99 on Kindle.

PacificationReeducation

Pacification and Reeducation by Jason Frahm.  For nearly two millennia Humanity has been exploring and colonizing the galaxy.  During their explorations the Star Cruiser Verona discovers a rare gem, a near perfect world teeming with life and ideal for colonization.  Unfortunately it is already inhabited by primitive and mystical peoples and societies bent on eventual self destruction.  A decision is made.  $4.99 on Kindle.

JohnnyOClockCosmicMan

William J. Jackson makes the list again; I won’t apologize… he’s very active!  After a long hiatus, he has returned with a vengeance to his weekly series Atoms & Shadows, his double helping of sci-fi and noir.  This weeks he goes in-depth with 1959’s mysterious sci-fi offering The Cosmic Man starring John Carradine, and 1947’s noir melodrama, Johnny O’Clock, dishing up a healthy helping of noir master Dick Powell.  Both movies can be watch in their entirety right from his blog, so grab the popcorn and settle back for an evening’s nostalgia.  And while you’re there, check the blog for deals.  William is a prolific steam- and dieselpunk author, and always has one sale or another underway.

Jeffrey R. Gund of the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writing Collective, is distributing the info on what looks to be a great gathering for folks of the nerdy persuasion, and really, how can my nerdy self not help to spread the word?  Everyone check out the Pre Comic-Con Bash in LA set for Thursday, July 12th, just before the main event.  Make yourself present and mingle with producers, creators, executives and stars, and quite possibly enjoy the time of your life!

And that’s 30 for today.  See you back here Monday.  Until then, read well and write better!

 

13 thoughts on “Blimprider Times, No. 15

    1. They’re a worthwhile site… and so is yours! It’s an honor and a privilege to have such talented friends to support.

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  1. Concerning readers and selling books, the best business advice for indie authors, IMO, was posted by Patty Jansen on her blog two years ago. Here is the link in full: https://pattyjansen.com/2016/03/25/the-three-year-no-bestseller-plan-to-a-sustainable-income-from-self-publishing/

    Patty’s 3 book update and expansion of the post are very much worth buying. Very practical business advice on how to build a fan base and a livable income from writing. Which of course means readers.

    I started publishing in November 2014. The business side of our indie world has gone through several significant changes, but some things remain the same. The two most important things an indie author MUST do are:

    *Write lots
    *Publish often

    Every indie author I’ve seen who is making serious coin, does those two things. Sure, there are exceptions. But then they are exceptions. The other 98% of us don’t fit. We have to do it the old-fashioned way. After all, how many Margaret Mitchells have there been?

    So what is writing a lot? At least 1,000 finished words/day every day of the year. No vacations. That’s 365,000 words/year = six 60,000 word novels/year. One every other month.

    Publish often means we indies must be publishing a book at least every quarter. Better if it’s every other month. Ideal if we publish one a month.

    That publishing schedule will give us sales up front and a decent backlist in 3 years time so we can start to back off on the rigorous up front schedule. Of course, we have to actively promote that backlist so it makes money for us.

    Indies must also write in series. Not standalone novels, because they don’t appeal to indie readers. Not trilogies. Trilogies are just the start of a series. We must write in series of at least 5, 6, 7 books. Michael Anderle, a voracious KU reader, wouldn’t even look at a book unless it was at least part of a trilogy. That’s our audience.

    Patty Jansen advises us to write 2 series of 3 books in related genres to start. Then add to the one that is doing better.

    I have seen without exception if an indie author isn’t prolific, his or her books don’t sell — which means, they don’t get read. Virtually all of the underdogs I promote aren’t prolific writers. Which is too bad. Because they’re good.

    Over the years I’ve learned that posting about your book on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and any other social media site is at best ineffective, and at worse not effective at all.

    Over the past couple of months, I’ve spent many hours tweeting up a storm about my books and other authors’s books. I’ve gained many new followers. But I’ve only made 3 sales that I know of and perhaps one KU read of my mystery series. That’s it. My time would have been better spent writing.

    Social media will only get you significant sales if you have 10,000 or 20,000 (or more) followers, a significant portion of which are fans. And even then it’s iffy.

    What does work eventually is a mailing list. Because the people who stay on the list and open the emails are at least interested in you and your books. At best, they’re fans. A mailing list requires work to create and work to maintain. However, I’ve gotten more sales from my mailing list than I have from social media and paid advertising.

    I love writing. I hate business. However, I’ve learned — because I’m an indie author/publisher — that I have to learn business if I want people to read my books. And that just sucks, IMO. 🙂 But what’s an indie author to do?

    Lindsay Buroker, Patty Jansen, PF Ford, Michael Anderle, TS Paul, Craig Martelle, JF Holmes, and others write fast and publish often. That is the ONE common denominator of success. Each one of those writers makes a living from his or her writing. And some, like Anderle and Paul, are pulling in over half a mil a year.

    Shoot, Anthony Trollope and Charles Dickens knew a writer had to be prolific in order to make money from writing, and making money probably means people are reading your books. The pulp writers knew it too. So too Lawrence Block and Michael Crichton (who put himself through med school writing trash thrillers).

    My friend, it’s too early to throw in the towel. You only have 4 books. And 1 series. I have 3 series, 20 books, and I make a tiny amount of money. Yet I’ve never made enough in one month to pay the cable bill for that month.And I’ve yet to make $275 in one year. However, I’m finally getting a handle on the business side of things — after almost 4 years.

    Publishing a book a month for the first 3 months of this year, showed me the power of being prolific. Now, I’ve hit that 30-day cliff, and it’s the sounds of silence.

    Over the next year, I’ll be adding to my mystery series, launching a new paranormal series, and perhaps adding to my alternative history books so I have a couple more series there.

    You, my friend, need to get the Darklighters out. Add to BtR. Get two more books added to The Stone Seekers. Work up Brass & Coal. Start a mailing list and a closed Facebook group for your fans and direct people to both.

    It takes time and an awful lot of unpleasant work. But you do have an audience. People have purchased your books. But once they’ve read BtR, where do they go?

    Of the 700 people on my 2 mailing lists, I have one fan that I know of besides my daughter and my sister. One. I’m not going to disappoint her. I’m not going to stop writing. Because I believe there are others who are just too shy to tell me they’re fans.

    [Side note – in case any writer is saying they can’t be prolific, this post is 900 words. Anyone can write 1000 finished words a day. I did this in half an hour. The real question is, can you tell a story?]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, C.W., welcome back, and thanks for taking the time. How boring the world would be if we were all the same! I started writing to entertain others (as opposed to the drudgery of school assignments) in the fall of 1958, and publishing in November of 2013, and since that time, I have sold 51 books and given away at least as many. My highest month was April 2015, when I sold 4 books. That was the only time that happened, but there have been 25 when I sold nothing. My last sale was April 28th of this year, when someone, maybe you know who, bought the only copy of The Stone Seekers to date.

      So I will be taking that vacation after The Darklighters wraps, because I need it. To put it in perspective, I took a total of two weeks of vacation in the 41 years I was with my last organization (same company, different jobs). That was a need I never felt, and do you know why? It was because my work there was meaningful, and I hated to leave it undone, even for a week..

      Allow me to pose a question: Let us suppose you were a fine leathersmith, and the favored expression of your personal art was exquisite buggy whips. You make them by hand, they are magnificent, and you have a room full of them. You offer them on E-Bay at a tenth of their fair market value, and people flock in droves to offer lovely comments on the pictures you provide, but nobody wants to buy one. My question is, how long do you keep beating your head against the wall before you put it aside and do something productive?

      But as I said, this isn’t about sales, it’s about readers. I’ll likely be working on The Darklighters for the remainder of this year before I take that breather, and I feel like I’m offering almost the same deal to my prospective readers that God offered to Lott with his “one righteous man;” if I can attract one reader a month I’ll keep writing. It isn’t about the money. On the 35c royalty for a 99c sale, that’s $4.20 per year. If I can make that without doing circus tricks to convince readers that I’m worth it, then I’ll keep writing.

      Wow, I expected this to draw a whole lot of short negative comments; instead it got one big one. But this isn’t an issue yet. A lot’s going to happen between now and the new year. Let’s just wait and see what form it takes…

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      1. Sorry you took my comment as negative. It certainly wasn’t meant that way, Jack. In the end, you have to do what you have to do. All I’m saying is given my understanding of the indie world, you simply don’t have the number of books to draw a significant number of readers.

        One reader a month is either measured by a sale or a KU read. So sales do matter. And indie sales are tied to the number of books you have available.

        I personally think steampunk is a tough row to hoe. It isn’t the most popular genre. But given that, I think you are sitting on a gold mine. And I outlined above a suggested course for you to mine that gold and get the readers you want. But it won’t happen overnight.

        Agatha Frost writes chicklit cozy mysteries. She started selling them at 99¢. And published one a month. Genre + publishing frequency = Amazon bestseller.

        You don’t have the advantage of genre, but you have doggone good characters and good storylines. I personally will be very sad if you throw in the towel.

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      2. We are like two fish sharing a pond. There is only one pond, and yet two worlds created by the different ways we view it. Alicia’s view creates a third world, and William’s a fourth, and though there is only one pond, we can never see each others’ worlds. Yet each of them are valid. Tomorrow cannot be known, and no plan survives contact with reality, yet to have no plan is folly. A great deal will doubtless happen before I finish The Darklighters, and those unforeseen events will have a great influence on what happens next in my world. I thank you for your words of encouragement, and I can only hope it comes out well in the end.

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    2. IIRC, Tolkien never intended to publish. He spent years on his world, Middle Earth, our of love and the vision he had.

      Some writers still want this model.

      The problem with producing quantity is that sometimes the quality suffers – and then sales don’t happen because the product isn’t worth word-of-mouth. When someone is a big seller, and offers a free book or two to get you to try their work, I often find the free book(s) not worth my reading time. Probably they have their audience – and that audience’s money is as good as anyone else’s – but they got me to try, and lost me immediately as a reader. Some writers brag about how they don’t need to edit, and just do a draft or two, throw on a cover, and out the door it goes.

      You can have it, they say, fast, cheap, or good. But not all at once.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That was a mantra in my old profession, and it actually goes “You can have any two.” But anyway, yeah, point taken… And thanks for stopping by!

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      2. Like to chat – with me, you’re not going to get it fast; it isn’t going to be really cheap; so I have to be good (in my own mind – there are many slow expensive writers who write garbage).

        No generalities need apply.

        But keep writing, especially if it brings you pleasure.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I have to respectfully disagree. Dickens and Trollope both wrote fast. I don’t think history has decreed them trash. Robert E Howard wrote fast and none of his work is bad. LIndsay Buroker writes fast and her writing is very decent. Fast writing does not by force mean bad writing. Speed is basically irrelevant. It’s the writer. Not the speed.

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    3. Hoisted in good advice from Texas now !! I think shorter 40K novels more often is the answer especially in the E books market. People read on the commute and short and sharp helps. However, keeping your world going is the answer and that my new objective…Linkage Best as ever Steve

      Liked by 1 person

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