Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Roller Coaster called Kindle

It’s here! Click the link to continue the saga...

And the compilation — The Trilogy of Thrills

    Originally, I created the lead character of the McShane Mini-Mystery Series, Summer Autumn McShane, as practice for the intricacies of self-publishing through kindle. What a roller-coaster. Hair-pulling frustration at its depth, and mind-spinning elation at its peak, the ride is not for the easily intimidated. No matter what the writer’s writing for writers writing say, it can be a real nightmare.
     As I said in my last post, I love to write. The newest wrinkle in a successful career, however, is the ability to also understand a certain level of computer programming. Oh, and marketing. We can't forget the marketing. And don't lose sight all of this is moot if you haven't the basic talent to tell a story people might find interesting enough to read (and hopefully, to pay for).
     I am self-taught. Never having taken a formal writing course may, or may not, be evident. Still, I have had lots of informal guidance from very learned sources (and tons of kudo’s).
     There are three books to the McShane series, and I’ve learned so much from them. I’ve even gone so far as to combine them, complete with inserted graphics, and upload the entire thing as The Trilogy of Thrills.
     Apparently the combo sent my kindle account into a tail spin. The next evening I checked my books, and the texts of the four books had gotten switched between the covers. I don’t want to know what kind of party the Amazon AI’s were having which resulted in that. Ignorance is bliss, and all.
     At a gathering of friends recently, I tried to explain all that I’ve been through with kindle. One acquaintance said, Oh, I thought you just wrote a book and handed it off to someone else to upload. *sigh*  Not a lot of people understand self-publishing.
     Anyway, I hope you’ll give in to the temptation and check out the links above. Ms. McShane has become so much more to me than practice. She has grown off the page and demanded to be heard. And I am having a blast learning from her.
     Enjoy the trilogy for a buck off through 3/3/2015. And as you read, imagine the fun I had until two a.m. clearing my head and un-clenching my stomach after a ride on the Roller Coaster Kindle.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Blood, Sweat, and yes, Tears

 Blood, Sweat, and yes, Tears

            Writing isn’t all that hard. All you need is blood, sweat, and tears.

Blood — Check
     I love to write. I have so many short stories already written, a few published, and more ideas for stories I want to write. I can sit at my laptop all day and still not have written everything bouncing around in my head. Years ago, I wrote for the fun of it. I had no aspirations other than to get a story out of my head and onto paper. Afterward, it would get filed away with the rest of the stories that demanded to be put "onto paper". However, life’s other demands at the time were children, a nine-to-five job, a husband, etc., etc. A wished-for writing career would have to wait. There would be time for that. In the meantime, I could continue to bleed ink.

Sweat — Check
     Writing is easy. Marketing is hard.
It seems I have squandered the opportunities of old. Once upon a time, a writer needed to submit their work to a publisher, and the work would be given genuine consideration on its own merit. Those days are gone.
     Now, should you be qualified to submit your work to a publisher, you also need to bring your platform. A “platform” is a polite euphemism for a fan base. Yes, you must bring fans to a publisher. If there are not five to ten thousand folks ready to buy your book, the big boys don’t want to hear from you.
     How does one get five to ten thousand people ready to buy a book?
     There are writers who’ve left their day jobs with that many contacts. For instance, successful business people, doctors, marketing agents. That’s almost a ready-made platform.
     There are other writers writing for writers who write words. That’s another way to build a fan base. Be an expert at something people need.
     Some folks, like me, have do it a harder way. We try to build an audience through blogs, independent publishing houses, self-publishing, shaking hands, kissing babies, whatever it takes, we’ll give it a shot.
     But, here’s a typical conversation: Hi. I’m JL Mo. I’m writing a mystery series called… No! Wait! Come back! 

Tears — Check
     Rejection is hardest of all. (Announcer’s voice) But, hey, tears are salty, and salt is a flavor enhancer, and better flavor is what we’re all after! Right?
     Okay, I’m not a motivational speaker either.
I still need to rehearse pitches, so if I meet someone who doesn’t run away I’ll not bore them, or make myself sound like an idiot. Family, and some friends, stand there glassy-eyed through my rehearsals, waiting for me to stop talking. To be fair, I’d much rather go back to my laptop and keep writing. I’m no good at marketing.
     Anybody want a commission-based job selling books?
     Me neither.