Crop Week Four

Obviously, I’m not working on Crop anymore. I’ve been editing like crazy.

The wrap for Seed is done, along with the cover of Crop. The wrap for Crop could be done in about an hour.

I like that wraps used to take me something like sixteen hours, and now it’s down to an hour or so.

I had an anxiety attack Sunday so bad that I was in tears. It continued into Monday. No reason for it, just over stressed about the day-job and the move coming up I guess.

Monday night, I played some video games and had a little wine. Just unwound basically. The attack passed sometime around midnight on Monday.

I didn’t get out of bed until one on Tuesday, and then only because my older cat demanded I get up.

So that he could sleep on the couch instead of the bed…

Jerk.

Sometimes caring for yourself means sleeping off the tremor created by attacks and the weariness from forcing yourself through a day. This was the first time in years that I didn’t want to get out of bed.

And last time it was also a cat that made me get up. Except that time it was so he could sleep in my spot.

Cats. They are so mean.

Once I got up yesterday I finished writing Contract Gifted which isn’t a big deal, it was only two chapters left. Then I put it through a chunk edit and started a regular edit. One chapter left for that edit and I plan to do it at work today.

I also started looking at photos for the cover. I have to figure out how many edits it needs, but it could be up as early as next week.

Novelettes are kind of nifty, but I’m not certain I have a plot or way to do another one. It’s just that Nicole popped up just before Christmas and was like, “Hello,” and it just worked itself out.

Tomorrow I start Awakened and I don’t have the energy to be excited about it. The attack is still riding the edge of my mood and it could be a while before I completely recover.

Or I could be tired because I forgot to take my pills and eat before leaving the apartment. Or it could be weariness in general. I want to move yesterday. And as much as I ‘booked’ six weeks off because I know all but one is going to be anxiety riddled and scary, I want it to happen and I want to be on the other side.

Awakened will have to keep me distracted until then. Four weeks, and supposedly twenty-four chapters to go. That’s about 100k words. 25k a week, or about 6 chapters.

Okay. Maybe I’m a little excited. Just a smidgen.

Writing Marathon

Writing sprint just doesn’t cut it for what I plan to do…

Okay, so I have some time off work next week and can’t afford to go anywhere, can’t afford to do much either. At least, not until I get paid.

I’ve been planning on writing Fragments for the past nine months. D.o.t.A. needs its next installment, and it needs it before I turn fifty.

I’m not near fifty, it’s a joke.

Anyhow, I had planned on writing Fragments over that six day period, so August 15th to 20th with a couple ‘free’ days afterward between it and a base edit to catch up if necessary. You know, if I don’t make it.

Yesterday on my lunch break, I tried to do marketing but my computer had some kind of a weird malfunction and wouldn’t connect to the internet, then spent the half hour restarting. Note: this is my new computer, not a work computer of any sort.

So, one, it should have worked, and two, I am not using company time or resources for my writing. Just, you know, you’d be surprised who gets in a tizzy over the mere implication of that.

Anywho.

While the computer was doing its thing, I had a paper I had started that morning with sites I had already applied to. Fifteen and counting, none of them are likely to market me but it’s that slim chance I put in the effort for.

I flipped the paper over and started doing some math, because I was in work mode and wanted to do something with my time besides stare at a wall, or at my phone.

I broke down Seed, it may be possible to finish it by Sept 7th. I will try my best. His Grace is already done. Two projects laid out for both writing and editing.

Next week is Fragments. I fully intend to try to write this entire book in a week. So, ninety thousand words all told.

Broken down, I gave myself Monday as well. I’m working Monday but that’s never stopped me from writing. Aside from ritualistic things once I get off work, I’m good to go by about 5pm. Normally that time is 8, so even better.

Each day I need to write approximately 12,837 words, I belive it was. That’s about 8hrs of work (taking into account that I can write 3k words in two hours on my commutes) a day. Still leaving theoretical time to do other things.

Which is good, because I’ve got a vet appointment one day, and a social outing planned another day.

I’ve written a book in a week before. Locked up in my little apartment, playing Sims and writing. No TV, this was before Netflix and my internet sucked. Not that I had any websites to visit back then.

I know in theory this can work. But theory doesn’t always work. With my luck, the landlord will spray for pests and somehow light the apartment on fire and then a flaming raccoon will leap from the roof onto my head.

Oh, yeah, there are raccoons living in my ceiling. They’re bringing bedbugs in with them and I’ve filed yet another complaint about the raccoons, adding in their infested ways.

So, my possible worse situation isn’t entirely impossible.

I have no idea what my plot is, it’s supposed to be a lot smuttier than Masked Intentions, but it’s too late to choose another, as I have absolutely no plans for anything but Seed.

Wish me luck.

On Running Behind

I’m a lazy, lazy bum. Or, at least, I feel like a lazy, lazy bum.

The advice all writers are given, especially going into indie publishing is, “Just keep writing.” That’s not just to mean that you write forever and a day, but that you write, publish a book, then write some more.

I haven’t really been doing that. I feel like during the summer, I’m not myself. At least, not my productive self. All I want to do is head out into the sun, or clean my apartment. Thanks to two cats fighting over territory, it seems there’s always hair and kibble everywhere.

I need to start another mass edit of Death Mask, which was supposed to launch August 9th. There’s still a chance that it will launch on time. It’s a very slight chance, but still a chance.

I have almost a week in August off and I plan to write Fragments. This is the much waited for second book for the Daughters of the Alphas series. I thought that Masked Intentions received mixed reviews at best, but I keep getting questions on when the next book will be coming out, so…

When people ask for something, give it to them, especially if it was already on your to-do list. Just jump that sucker up some. Unless you were having issues for another reason.

I’ve fixed everything up so that I can edit at work. I’m so flipping pleased with myself. New tablet. Old one… uh… yeah, I could use it for writing if I was super patient.  But I couldn’t use it to edit or access pretty well anything except Facebook… ish. That’s the problem with that kind of tablet. Without the ability to install new tech, the thing became obsolete. And I think its company realized its mistake because the new ones can be upgraded.

In the meantime, the old one will sit to the side and gather dust but it’s still useful if necessary. I can breathe again, I can do my things again. I can touch a button and see all the things. Darn it, when I come on the new tablet, it’s like viewing the sites from a laptop instead of getting a mobile version that makes me pick up and shake the tablet in frustration.

I feel like I’m ready to get back to work. Like, maybe, I was a little burnt out from so many words so quickly, so much work while working the full-time job. Now the only problem is all those nifty ideas that I’ve had over the past year, that I haven’t gotten around to? They’re all arguing over which gets to go first.

Have you ever seen the Simpsons episode where Mr. Burns gets told that he has pretty well every illness possible? I feel like that almost. Except instead of diseases, it’s ideas and I’m the doctor and Mr. Burns is my muses humming and skipping away instead of listening to me and just fixing the problem.

I swear, if they toss me one more idea… I’ll… I’ll…

I have no idea what I can do to them that they wouldn’t enjoy. They were the ones giggling at the back of my mind as Mr. Wrightworth beat on someone ruthlessly.

Pre-Launch Jitters

It happens every time, and typically I plan out so that I work the day before launch so that I’m at least distracted.

Know what I did today? Cleaned my entire apartment. My kitchen floor hasn’t been this clean since December.

… right before I lost water for three weeks.

And my bathroom? You could eat off the tub!

I rewarded myself with Chinese food, I know I shouldn’t, I should save my money, but every once in a while, you know, you just have to. Circumstances that are completely your own doing.

I get pre-launch jitters. Worried about what I’m going to wake to tomorrow morning, wandering around in circles, unable to focus on anything.

I’ve been wandering in and out of Amazon all day, like things are just going to magically appear.

So, I went through and did the math. When I get worried, I start doing math. Yup, I can add, subtract, divide and multiply, dun that make me special?

I’ve… I’ve had people get uppity with me like I think I’m special because I can run basic percentages in my head. Not special, just worked in retail too long.

Anywho. Last year I did some math for, uh, retirement sake. I needed to sell 150 books a day to be able to retire with my current lifestyle. My plan has changed a little bit. The new lifestyle would take a great deal less. I think. Maybe.

Life just likes bending me over tables in a very un-fun way though…

The new math says that I only need to sell 77 books a day. Not because my math has changed, but because I based in on averages of books and their cost. I think my initial numbers were based on Kindle Unlimited books.

Why does that number excite me? Because it means I’m closer. I trust my math, because… well, I did the math. Closer is good. Closer is something to get excited about. I’ve halved my number and increased books in less than a year.

You have to celebrate the wins, even if they’re small. I can’t celebrate the launch of another book because of nerves, so I found something else to pat myself on the back about.

I’ve gotten closer. I’m on the right track. I just have to keep writing stories that you all want to read, which seems to be what I want to read, so that at least helps me decide which ones to go about writing.

Cheating Death launches in three hours for my timezone. Amazon will start registering the pre-orders in a couple more hours. Readers could review as early as tomorrow morning, depending on how quickly they read.

Please like my book.

I think that is the prayer of every author. But us indie authors, we have a different prayer, don’t we?

Please say nice things about my book.

Did you know people are more likely to say something or comment if they’re unhappy? Yeah, that’s something I learned in all my years in retail. You could bend over backwards for someone and they won’t say a thing, they’ll come back in and see you, but they will never tell your company that you did a good job.

Or, in the rare cases they do, they’ll call you by the wrong name.

It’s an odd thing, but true. There are those who will say nice things and broadcast to the world about how they love this thing, but a majority of the population would only make comment if they have a complaint, or don’t like something.

Which is probably why indie authors have taken up the mantra of:

Please say nice things about my book.

Marketing is Repetitive

I’m marketing At Death’s Door more today. I’m going to say this, but only because I’m bored: Ugh.

If there are any marketers reading this and I’ve accidentally submitted to your site twice, I apologize. Beth’s had me do this for her, so I thought the site looked familiar because I was there for her, but no.

Ugh.

Marketing is repetitive. You can pay other services to submit to other pages, however you pay them to submit your book to the free services of other sites which doesn’t guarantee you promotion. This means that… well, do it yourself! If you submit to 45 sites the chances of being picked up by one are pretty slim unless you are some sort of best seller with six million reviews. For all you or I know, those sites are automatically ignored because they’re basically spam bots.

Now if it’s a network, that’s a different story.

So paying such and such a price to do that when there’s a Fiverr option (of five bucks) to do the same thing is pretty well pointless. But beware Fiverr, there are some who say they’ll post your book to Facebook pages, ect, then send you doctored photos. Beth caught someone last year doing that. She’s very focused on anything Fiverr. If she can’t track what you did, then you did nothing and she wants her money back.

And if you send her images of “open” Facebook groups and she can’t find them on Facebook, she’s going to demand her money back, then report you to Fiverr, and give you a one star rating because stop ripping indie authors off you mean people.

Submitting to sites goes by fairly quickly, after an hour I had about twenty sites. Maybe a few less, I’ve been wandering in between submissions because it’s such repetitive work. I don’t mind repetitive work if it’s with my hands. Sorting blueberries, removing paper bits from fiddleheads, that kind of thing. The copy and paste and switch windows in a different pattern every time, that’s what’s getting to me.

I like patterns, they make my job easier.

Here’s the thing with marketing (for those brand new at it) you want all your links open in tabs in behind. Open a new tab for each site you visit, then close it once everything is complete.

I visit sites often which have the go forward then back thing going on, but marketing, I often close the tab I’m working on. It’ll also help you trace back and forward. So at the moment I have the original search through Google (good ol’Google) then the first result I opened, and from there I actually found another site with many links and that’s the site I’m working on. Once I’m done I can just close the tab and go backwards, or keep it open and use it to compare the links between sites and maybe save myself a few clicks.

Some people ask for ASIN, then they ask for the link to your Amazon book, do not go to Amazon and look up your book. Go to your bookshelf in KDP and click on the US site from there, this will give you a clean link. If you look it up on Amazon, there’s a bunch of numbers at the end.

Want reviews? If six people click that link with the numbers and try to review, you’re going to have a bad time. It’s some kind of referral number. Use a clean link. And in that clean link, the ASIN is present. I think that might be the most frustrating, yet easiest part. I just keep the Amazon link on the clipboard and then delete the webpage and leave only the ASIN when they request it.

If you find yourself getting bored, take a break. Wander the internet, check social media, write a little bit. Boredom makes it a laborious process.

Some sites require a certain number of reviews. The magic numbers seem to be 3, 5, or 18. Nothing outside of that, which I find odd. But hey…

So those who pay for reviews get a head start. Annoying, nope, I will not pay for reviews, not if I can help it.

At Death’s Door currently has four reviews, bringing it to 4.7 Stars on Amazon. Yesterday morning, it had two. I’m dancing, but now I’m just one off of meeting about two thirds of the sites’ requirements. I used to itch for that third review, now I’m itching for the fifth.

Some sites require family friendly books, or no erotica. Most of the sites I chose accept erotica because I’m now keeping a list for later reference. Just a list, not the links themselves. For my next free day I will search each one, which will take me to a new page, in case they move it.

Some sites require you to sign up for free account. For the most part I avoid these. For starters, I never remember the log in and I’ve never heard of these sites.

Many require you sign up for their author newsletters and/or the newsletters sending out the free books. So look at it this way: a site says they have 40,000 readers of their email. They also have a lot of different authors who have advertised on their site. How many of those 40,000 are actually readers, and how many are just authors who are sitting on the newsletter and not paying attention to the emails?

In order to tell if you’ve been advertised, though, you have to sign up for the email and check the days that you requested. The last time I did this, the sites I applied to all sent me an email saying, “Your book will be promoted the days you requested” except it wasn’t. If it’s not guaranteed promotion, just say so! Most sites do.

Don’t tell me you’re going to do something, then don’t.

There are ever a very few that don’t tell you anything at all. They want you to submit an inquiry for more information. I take that as I do jewelry that has no price. Either I can’t afford it, or the seller is snooty and thinks I can’t afford it, either way they aren’t getting my money. I prefer to give my money to those who are transparent and up front about everything.

One site kind of threatened you with the possibility of being drawn for reviews, and that those reviews may not be kind, if you don’t do the paid option. That was a little odd, I’m not certain if I should take that as they will find everything wrong with your book, or if it was just friendly advice. I’m hoping it’s friendly advice…

When Avoiding the Ending, do Other Work

It’s not that I have writer’s block, but that this happens when I get close to the ending of something. It happened with Contract Renewed and prematurely with Contract Sealed. There’s just something about ending a book that gives my brain a stutter and a little death.

I’ve been working on Wraith’s Rebellion since September. My fingers are trying to tell me that’s ten months. I’m not really trusting them at the moment, as I’m having difficulty moving the joints and that interferes with a lot of reasoning skills because of the pain.

If the damp could go away, I’d be ever so happy.

So working out the ending and saying goodbye to Quin and Helen is seriously messing with me. It’s not like there have been a lot of characters, this has been a very intimate story and unlike with Izzy and Nate… and Mr. W, it isn’t done and in the past. 

They just feel cozier to me, and I don’t want to give them up, but this will be the end of their story. The world might continue, but I don’t think they really come up again unless Anna does tell me her story, then it’d be text based communication only.

In the meantime I’ve been playing video games. Mainly because the arthritis is causing enough pain to drain me to the point of nothing, so by the time I get home from the day job there’s a fog in my eyes and I still have the nightly things to do, like dinner, dishes, and cats. 

Please buy my books so I can quit my day job.

I had never intended on full quitting, but it’s working with my hands. I know they say with arthritis to use it or lose it, but I can do stretches or colouring books, nail painting and fine work for cover design. Things which help with my career rather than help someone who yips and yaps at me because someone my age couldn’t possibly have arthritis and why am I not moving faster to serve their purpose?

I’m talking clients, not boss. The boss is quite understanding and we’re discussing training for another position because… well, hands.

In the meantime, while this stupid rain continues and the damp gets into my joints, I’ve started promoting At Death’s Door even though I swore I’d wait for more reviews on all the books before I did that. I’ve been considering setting out a cover goal for myself. 

One pre-made cover for each day off the regular job. Once I reach ten covers, I’ll start selling them. Take that money and reinvest it in the books. Etc and so on.

I’ve been considering getting a website. But here’s the thing. My credit card expires next month and I haven’t received the new one yet. I’m worried about starting and subscription service, in case the credit card company has decided my paying the card on time all but that one time isn’t good enough and and they don’t send me a new one.

It could seriously mess with my plans, but that’s life. Always kicking me in the face.

After all that trouble last year, I had a couple quiet months. Then on Sunday my kitchen ceiling started leaking. Did my job, notified the landlord. No response. Then on Thursday same thing, except four this time.

Did my job, notified the landlord and pointed out the mould growing on the ceiling now. Said he’d be there Friday.

I have no idea if he did anything. The ceiling isn’t leaking anymore but it’s not raining as hard. My kitchen smells like mould and mildew.

Know where you don’t want that stuff? In your food.

I’m so sick of chasing people with the same comment or question sixteen times, then having them act like I’m imposing on them because I want an answer as to what will be done about this thing that is their responsibility.

Answer the first time, and I won’t have to ask again.

So I need to look for a new place on top of everything else. Due to the area being an “up and comer” people are moving into it which is jacking up the rent. I can’t afford to move on my income, and I’m “well above” minimum wage.

I was told recently that minimum wage was meant to be living wage, how much you had to make to support a family. I can’t support myself on more than that! 

Not anymore, not with people jacking up the rent because people are moving from Toronto because they can’t afford to live there either.

Dear world, I was told there were breaks that people catch. You lied, I want a refund on hope invested so I can convert it into something more useful.

As an added note, I think my autocorrect is starting to lose its mind. Oh boy.

Difficulty Focusing

 

I’m trying to focus for Contract Signed, but I’m outside of the plot I had written down so I’m kind of in my own marsh style area. Seven more chapters to go, I kind of have a gist of an idea of what and how. Because the what and how of before didn’t really change all too much.

On the vampire front, I’m on chapter six of Death Mask now and that’s going fairly well. Again, I’ve broken outside of my plot just a little bit. But this break was by mashing two chapters together because it worked better as one rather than separated.

What I should do, is when I get home start edits on At Death’s Door.

Or work on edits while at work on break and before my shift starts. I could do that too. Except I need to have laser focus for this edit and there are people who talk to me while I’m sitting there. I think they think I’m joking when I say I’m working?

I also have to take the time to set up the… I don’t have a clever name for it yet. The book where I’m going to put all my worlds in one place so that I stop whining about all the ideas I’m chasing and the possibility of losing them. This way I can add and snippets of plot to the book. When I’m done writing Wraith’s Rebellion and the new Contracted trilogy, I can just open the book, grab a page and off I go.

In theory.

I’ve been starting to think of what I’d do if I quite my day job, how would the writing run. Just sleeping until I wake up doesn’t do it for me, not if I want to be productive. So I was thinking if I can manage it, I’d have a seven am start, maybe earlier some days, with coffee. That’d give me a couple of hours to do some writing before a majority of people are even up.

Or stores open, because I’d still have to go out and buy groceries and stuff.

I’d probably work a set schedule, like Monday to Friday, seven to whenever I went to bed. I’d probably end up wheeling that back to like five and then taking the rest of the night “off” to pursue whatever projected I wanted to or to just play video games. Take weekends, holidays, and festival days off.

I know I sound like a crazy person. I know my first book just went up in September. I know that I don’t have a firm date for the next book to come out, or a real plan to get the others out at this moment. I know I’m writing every day instead of editing.

I also know I’m not marketing, but everyone wants 15+ reviews on Amazon, I don’t meet that requirement yet and I’m not going to pay for reviews. So I have to actually wait on that.

But at the end of the day, I am a planner. I want to plan for the eventuality of not working a day job so that when I get off the job, when I get home that first night, then the next morning? I can get up and I know what I’m going to do and I know how I’m going to do it. Without planning now, getting it thought out and the kinks figured out as much as I can, I’ll spend weeks, or even months caught in a bog of trying to figure it out as I go.

So I’m planning and thinking now. How can I do this, what is the best use of my time?

Oh gosh, I’d be able to eat meals at a table instead of at the computer as I typed one handed…