1000 Reading Hoarders?

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Discovered this cool milestone today at Smashwords, an ebook distributor in the midst of their gi-normous summer giveaway. My ebooks have 1,000 “purchases” via Smashwords.

Now, most of these purchases have been free in giveaways. And people tend to hoard ebooks, unopened, after such sales. But at least a few have read my books. They post reviews; during future sales, they acquire later volumes in series; they bookmark me as an author they want to find again.

Nowadays I don’t care much about getting customers for my books but I most definitely want readers. Through the month of July, you can download any/all of my books from my page at Smashwords, in any/all ebook formats.

10 lords a-leaping, 1,000 readers hoarding…

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A Free Read Every Day (on the DDsE blog)

BlogLogoRedo2018I’m so glad I decided to do it! Brought back the DDsE daily serial blog.

Over on the DDsE blog, we’re in book 8 of Ella’s diary. As far as I can tell, her current adventures will take us through book 9.

I’m having a great time posting Ella’s diary to the near-instant gratification of readers who come to the blog daily.

The farther I get into the DDsE series, the less I can figure out whether I am writing it or transcribing it. For the first time, I’m writing improvisationally. What happens happens. I discover what comes next as I fill the latest blank screen on my iPad.

If you become a follower of  the DDsE daily serial blog, you will get each day’s diary entry emailed to you. Of course you can also click over to it whenever you please. I’ve heard from a number of folks that they’d rather wait and read a bunch of daily entries in one swoop. You can read the compiled, completed books (7 so far) on the blog.

For those who don’t want to read via browser, each book of Ella’s diary is an individual e-book novella on Smashwords. (6 individual novellas on Smashwords so far – 3 to go.) I’ve also compiled Ella’s books, 3 to a volume, and published those volumes on Amazon as e-books and paper books (2 compiled volumes so far – 1 to go).

You Can Read DDsE by Blog (Again)

BlogLogoRedo2018It’s a recurring story of my life. To see the value in something, I have to stop, leave, turn away from it.

It, such as publishing the DDsE daily serial blog.

Once upon a time, I had a blog that published the daily diary entries of Ella, a 16-year-old who had just entered a horrible strange amazing phase of life. Ella filled three books with her secret, hand-written diary entries and I posted the entries on the DDsE blog.

[OK, I admit it, I’m the one who has been writing Ella’s diaries and I’ve loved doing so. Although I’ve never had mind-to-mind contact with a feral cat, nor run away with a boy who wasn’t human, nor been chased by unhuman monsters, I can so relate to Ella. I’ve been a teenager all my life.]

Ella has kept writing her diary but I stopped posting entries on the DDsE blog.

I stopped because I’d been bitten by the publishing bug and my agent said that she couldn’t shop DDsE if I was giving it away. So I compiled Ella’s first three books into a single volume and my agent began to shop DDsE to big-deal publishers who took forever to say that they loved the story but didn’t like Ella. Or vice versa.

I discovered that I’ve changed.

Long ago, publishing my novel Was It A Rat I Saw in hardcover with a big-deal publisher was very important to me. Nonetheless, I stopped writing for a couple decades and when I resumed, it wasn’t because I wanted to build or re-build a writing career. I resumed writing because I missed writing.

When I resumed, I joined the self-publishing revolution (and it really is a revolution) but I maintained lingering fantasies about some sugar-daddy publisher who would make the publishing grind easier for me.

I’ve come to realize that I write to connect: with myself; with my readers. To realize this, I had to shut down the DDsE daily serial blog then miss it.

But re-starting the blog seemed impossible. Embarrassing.

At some point, I withdrew DDsE from the big-deal-publishers shop-around and began to self-publish it. Each book of Ella’s diary became an individual novella on Smashwords. (6 individual novellas so far – 3 to go.) I compiled Ella’s books, 3 to a volume, and published those volumes on Amazon (2 compiled volumes so far – 1 to go).

I continued to miss the blog. So. Tupac the impossible embarrassing. The DDsE daily serial blog is back. From now on, every day that blog will publish a new diary entry by Ella.

However, the new entries will resume with the current diary, book 7, because the DDsE blog features Ella’s newest entries, the ones that haven’t been published elsewhere. While the blog was on hiatus, books 4-6 got published elsewhere. Sure, they are compiled on the DDsE blog, and you can read them there. But the newest entries are in book 7.

Saturday, Feb 16, the DDsE daily serial blog will resume daily posting of Ella’s newest diary entries, starting with entry 260 from book 7 of DDsE.

Now would be a good time to catch up on books 1-6 and to begin following the DDsE blog.

Note that I usually keep my blogs separate so if you follow this blog – awesome! thank you! – you won’t get any DDsE posts. You have to click over to the DDsE daily serial blog to follow Ella’s diary.

Cover Directions – Want to Vote?

I’m about to publish a new series of books called DDsE. My cover ideas are divergent, and I’d like to get your reactions to the two styles, which capture different flavors of the series, a young adult paranormal horror romance. A brief introduction:

Being sixteen is Tupac Eminem. Ella has no one to talk to except her new diary, which she has to hide from Ma and Pa Warden, the foster parents she’s stuck with since her family got flattened in a car accident. Now that she lives with the wardens, she’s in a new school where people act like her tragedy is contagious. Her new suburb is just as boring as the last, and offers no hope of secret passageways or magic. But life is not all bad. There’s an interesting boy at the new school – although his family turns out to be impossibly dangerous. And there’s a feral cat, living in the suburb’s only open space, a pitiful excuse for woods. Sometimes the cat invades Ella’s mind. She tells her diary, ‘I’ve gone a special kind of crazy, a split personality. And my other personality is a cat, not a person.’

I’m looking forward to your input!

Pssst! I Want To Share My New Discovery: It’s Called Twitter!

How many times do you have to hear the same advice before you listen? For me, the answer is 17. That’s how many times somebody told me, You’re a writer? You need to be on Twitter or people won’t know about you.

Okay, I made that up. The 17, that is. It could be 12, could be 30. Anyway, I’ve heard it a lot of times. I resisted the advice for years, because I don’t really get Twitter, except it is amazing to watch the flow of tweets during big-deal world events. And it’s a brilliant medium for certain comedians. The 140-character limit is also an intriguing fictional milieu, and I once dabbled in creating multiple accounts for imaginary people so that I could engage them in a story. It was fun, but writing novels remains funner.

Funner is a word my son used, back when he was small. For example, he dictated this message with the shower gift to an unborn child, “At first it’s not fun but then it gets funner and funner.” (It = life.)

But I digress. Just like on Twitter, except with more characters.

As with my children, I want the best for my novels. Especially, I want people to read them. Towards that end, the first – and in the current publishing world, the most difficult – step is to make people aware that my novels exist! So, a week-plus ago, I took the plunge and joined the Twitter universe.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 5.46.40 PMThe Twitterverse is a peculiar place that I don’t much understand. I have come to learn that if you like what someone tweets, you can reward them with various coins of the realm. You can favorite the tweet, or re-tweet it, or follow that tweeter. Following someone is a particular honor, apparently, and important. Some people pay for services that reveal who followed – and who un-followed – them every day. What does one do with un-follow information? Beg them to come back? Make a Nixonian enemies list?

My number of followers fluctuates. This happens whether or not I tweet anything. The long-term trend is up so maybe it’s like the stock market. Or perhaps I have offended some, by failing to retweet them, and so they cut me off. More likely, they were false followers, who followed me just to get me to check them out and say hmm, interesting and follow them back… Mission accomplished, they hook another follower and then unfollow her. Me. Apparently this kind of thing is worth the effort because your ratio of followers to following could indicate how cool you are. In even more arcane ways, your number of tweets matter, but I’m not the one to explain how that works.

The unfollowing methodology perplexes me. Should I figure out who unfollowed me and – eye for an eye! – unfollow them? Should I unfollow the #Dalai Lama? What about my musical faves like #Chris Thile or #Noam Pikelny or #X (here Xtheband)? They’ve had more than a week to follow me back, how long am I supposed to wait for respect?

I can’t imagine how much energy it takes to keep track of such things. Twitter is overwhelmingly productive. I don’t follow many people yet, so I don’t get all that many tweets on my timeline. While I typed this, I only got 183 new tweets. Wait, make that 203. The tweets flow by and if I’m not watching the screen when your latest tweet posts, I will never see it. And so tweeters post and post and post, so that I might occasionally see one of their tweets. (Make that 247 new tweets.) Many writers claim that incessant tweeting noticeably boosts sales and downloads of their books. (272 new tweets.) Oy. I hope that is not the only way to grow readership. (292 new tweets)

Conversation seems difficult on Twitter. When you reply to a tweet, you do actually engage with another tweeter, but your timelines shows non-sequitur reply lines that make no sense to anyone else and it takes several clicks to backtrack to understand the conversation. I’m sure no one bothers.

For all of that, Twitter is amazing. Think about it. All over the world, millions upon millions typing and sending these cryptic messages in internet bottles, all day, every day. No need to reply, it’s all one-way. (337 tweets) Sometimes I go bittersweet and pretend that Twitter relays the transmissions from a distant galaxy, messages only just now captured after traveling light years from a civilization lost to a supernova, eons ago.

Do you tweet? My twitter handle is in the snapshot – stop on by! (363 tweets)

P.S. To those of you who have read Nica of Los Angeles – I sound like Nica now, don’t I? It’s kind of awesome and kind of creepy to be inhabited by a character in this way. After I finished book 1, I wasn’t able to shake her style of narration, and now that I’m immersed in book 2 in the series, I’ve stopped trying to shake it because I need it again. Maybe I will become more like Nica, and not just talk like her. Now that would be awesome!

Four Answers, Then Tag, They’re It!

Folks, you are about to witness my first participation in a blog tour, a newfangled invention by which indie writers help spread the word that they exist. Lisa Voisin invited me to join. Lisa has followed an interesting life path and it’s no wonder, perhaps, that she now writes young adult paranormal romance.

The way this blog tour works is that I answer four questions, then tell you about a few writers whose books I have really enjoyed. They will continue this tour by answering the same questions on their own blogs in two weeks.

Q1) What am I working on?

I’ve just started writing the second novel in the FRAMES series, the follow-on to Nica of Los Angeles, a speculative fantasy with detective and dystopian elements. Book 2, Chapter 1: my most recently completed sentence reads “As I returned to the street, the air pulsed in a series of quick blasts, punctuated with the deep screams of grown men.” Maybe we should have a contest and the winner will correctly guess what that sentence will read like by the time this new novel matures into a final draft.

Q2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Frankly, I think the author would be the last one to answer this question well.

Q3) Why do I write what I do?

I write what I feel compelled to write. The trick is to sustain that drive through the long haul of finishing a novel. More than once, over the years, I have fought the temptation to freshen my characters mid-book, by sending in a bus to run over the first bunch. Fortunately, I am having a great time writing Nica, and her second book looks to be more fun than the first.

Q4) How does my writing process work?

My subconscious has all the best ideas, but its contributions are scattershot and unpredictable. It’s my conscious writer that keeps plugging away, day after day, to draw the inspirations up to the surface and the page. Screen. Keyboard. Touchscreen.

I write first drafts on my iPad, and love sitting on a summer patio in the dark, illuminated only by my device. However, for editing and formatting, I have to return to my laptop, with its full-service software.

And now I’d like to introduce…

One benefit of being an indie writer is getting to e-meet other indie writers, all over the globe.

Hock Tjoa has this to say about himself:  “Hock is a retired teacher and banker and writes as part of his mission to make more widely known traditional Chinese values, but he makes digressions. He lives in northern California.” I read a play that Hock wrote, based on a Chinese folklore detective, and much enjoyed the dry wit and cleverness of the piece.

Louise White has had nearly as many career paths as I’ve had (!) and has covered both ends of the service spectrum, as a waitress and then a cop. She lives in Scotland and writes a young adult series about a kickass teenage girl who fights demons in a world that is … almost… just like ours. I love how normal and teenage her heroine is, in the midst of all the fantasy.

Tennesseean (?) Fran Veal also writes YA. She mingles teen drama with crime and just a touch of the paranormal. I am one chapter away from completing my first novel by her and it was painful to set it aside so that I could meet various deadlines like posting my blog tour entry on time. But hey, I’m a grown-up, right?

I sense some sniggering, somewhere. Grown-up? Reading a bunch of Young Adult books? And how! It’s one of my favorite genres! Let me know if you want some more YA recommends!