Coffee heat rising

Prioritize the Freakin’ Priorities!

It is SOOOO hot that it is physically impossible for Person nor Beast to get anything done. That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

Actually, no: I’m determined to come unstuck.

The past few weeks have put me into a kind of coma. I get up, walk the dog, feed the dog, fart (interminably!) with the pool, then plop down in front of the computer and…and…yeah: sit there. Allll day long. Reading the news. Corresponding with friends. Reading the news some more. Reading those links that Google sticks in the pages upon which it forces you to rest when you enter a search. Writing a blog post (which is akin to writing a diary entry). Posting it to Facebook. Cruising Facebook interminably. Playing Internet games. Reading the news some more. Playing some Internet games some more. Fighting with the hazy swimming pool some more. Writing a Quora post or two. Driving to the grocery store or some odious appointment when forced to it. Fight with the pool again. Playing Internet games some more, again….and so on until around 6 p.m., when it’s time to feed the dog again, wrestle with the pool again, and waste some more time watching PBS news.

In short: I get exactly NOTHING done.

So…something’s gotta happen here. Decided it should be A Schedule: Set aside specific periods of time in which to do things. Write Ella’s Story, which I dropped and forgot about as I sank to the bottom of Lake Comatose. Post Fire-Rider segments, which also have languished. (Interestingly, revenues from Amazon have risen, suggesting the idea of posting freebie chapters from the various books actually does boost sales.)

And today I did, somehow, manage to drag myself around to preparing, finding images for, and posting Part VI of Fire-Rider and then posting links on Facebook and Twaddle.

Sounds great, eh?

Except that already tomorrow a fly will drop into that ointment: Not one but two workmen are slated to show up between 10 and noon. If one of them doesn’t soak up the entire day, the other will. Together they’re guaranteed to put the eefus on the “hour-a-day” scheme.

The pool is still foggy. A little better than it was this morning, but still a disaster area. I figured out it has something to do with the filter, which is operating in a suspicious manner.

The hand lesion that was found to be on the verge of flipping over into a squamous cell carcinoma is not healing. It hurts. It itches. And this morning I find a white spot — a very itchy white spot — right at the location of the original white nasty itchy actinic keratosis that send me to the dermatologist in the first place. And it’s growing. Growing very fast.

So, come Monday I’ll have to traipse halfway to Yuma AGAIN — just the drive there and back consumes almost two hours. This thing is going to have to be removed surgically…I can feel that in my bones. And how many gerzillions of hours will that consume? Don’t even bother to try to estimate.

Tomorrow morning will be consumed with trying to explain to the pool guy what has been going on — complete with photos — and, probably at the same time,. trying to explain to the Cox dude what the goddamn VoiP modem they stuck on my computer did yesterday, dragging me offline in the middle of an Amazon movie.

In the meantime, here’s something you can do for pore, pore pitiful me… 😀

This post at Quora is racking up more “likes” than any squib I’ve ever stuck up there. How’s about you visit that link, enjoy the anecdote (true story! 100 percent!), and if you so choose, click “like” at the bottom of the post? The thing is inching toward 1,000 likes…and I would get quite a kick out of it if it actually did reach that coveted goal. Share it on Facebook and Twitter and whatever other platform you haunt.

In the time-wasting preoccupation department, how cool would it BE to rack up 1.000 votes for that post?

Moving on: after about three hours of sleep last night, I cannot hold my eyes open even though the sun has yet to slide beneath the humid, hot horizon. And so…away….

 

Sales!

InkslingersSo at yesterday’s Grand Celebration of our group’s 2015 Inkslinger’s anthology, I sold $25 worth of books! The sole print version of the first Fire-Rider collection, the sole print version of the whole Family at the Holidays series, and a copy of Slave Labor.

All of these were purchased by one guy, who seemed a little eccentric. When I remarked that reviews of the books would really be appreciated, he said, “Well, fourteen others are ahead of you.”

Yeah. Thanks, pal. Oh well.

While it’s cheering that someone would buy these things, even a guy who goes around buying self-published books just to make amateur writers feel good, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m not making any money here.

Figure the time for just taking the things to the “market”: The event took place at a country club in Goodyear. It’s an hour’s drive one way; over two hours round trip. Then I sat around there for two hours. Twenty-five dollars divided by four hours comes to $6.25 an hour.

Somewhat under minimum wage.

When we factor in the uncountable number of hours entailed in writing, editing, formatting, and uploading the things to Amazon and the printer’s site, we’re in Negative-Number Neverland. Way, way in the Outback…

I was surprised the guy bought the copy of Fire-Rider, since Snowfall Press screwed up the trimming so badly that it really wasn’t salable.

Snowfall, as it develops, has a policy of not printing erotica. When they saw the contents of Family, they printed off a proof because I’d paid for it but had their guy call me and announce they wouldn’t print any more than that. Okay…you have a right to censor what other people write and publish — probably you’re the same sort of folks who think gay couples shouldn’t be allowed to buy wedding cakes at bakeries serving the public, too. So I was polite to the guy and he sounded relieved that I didn’t tell him what he deserved to be told.

However, in their Righteousness, they screwed up the printing of the other two books I’d sent over to prepare for this event: two copies of Slave Labor and a proof of Fire-Rider. They slopped the Slave Labor cover over so the spine wraps around to the front, and they trimmed the Fire-Rider book so badly that the back cover looks crooked, the 300+ pages are out of true, and the interior pages have about a two-inch gutter! It looks terrible.

So now that thing has to be reformatted for the new PoD vendor. I just checked the specs on the thing, thinking maybe I entered the wrong figures for the margins and gutter. But no: they’re exactly what they’re supposed to be.

That makes it very hard to believe anything other than that Snowfall deliberately screwed up those two books because they didn’t like the third one.

Mighty Christian of them, eh?

Anyway, all this causes one to wonder if the publishing endeavor is worth the effort. Unless we can get someone to buy these things and see some results by about the end of March, I think it will be time to sign back up for some more freshman comp courses. We’re running so far in the red now that the S-corp will be out of money by the end of first-quarter 2016.

Next week I’ll hire a marketing specialist to create and manage a Facebook Ads campaign for Fire-Rider. For the Racy Books, which can’t be advertised on FB, I’m advertising on this entertaining site and also probably will consign  to a distributor that targets romance readers. Both sites go direct to readers who enjoy these specific types of books.

Then I’ll have to reformat Fire-Rider for the new printer, format the second “boxed set,” and get Gary to create a cover for the Family boxed set, which will entail creating an ebook  cover based on the print cover I made for that thing.

Those tasks alone will entail hours and hours and hours of work — more than enough to fill up a week. So we’re looking at more 14-hour days, of which I grow mightily weary.

Hm. My roommate is about out of the shower. We have to run around to get to church this morning — she has to be at the early service, too, so presumably will fly out the door in about 15 minutes. Mercifully, I don’t have to sing until 10 a.m.

And so, to breakfast…

Fire-Rider: Another Day, Another Book…

Dang! We just published the eighth volume of the Fire-Rider series and one of the book’s several high points: The Lake of Fire!

Over at the Fire-Rider website, I’ve posted an excerpt. Come on over and have a look at it. And while you’re at it, do buy the book, review it, and tell your friends.

Seriously: Fire-Rider needs reviews. If you’d like a copy, let me know and I can send you a .mobi version readable on a free downloadable Kindle app.

Not on of our boys' better days...
Not on of our boys’ better days…

Fire-Rider Book 7: You Live & Learn

Every new publication at Amazon is another learning experience. Fire-Rider Book 7 — The Battle of Loma Alda — is online. Click on the link to the right and take a look at it!

It’s taken SIX efforts at publishing these damn serials to figure out how to force Amazon to publish them in a way that distinguishes them from each other more clearly. I’ve tried every which way from Sunday, and every goddamn time they publish the thing as “Fire-Rider,” in one iteration or another.

Even though Amazon claims it will number serials and post them in the order of the serial number, that does not happen consistently. Sometimes they appear in order, sometimes not. But most of them do not have the whole title or the correct title.

I’m kind of literal-minded, clearly too much so to survive in the Digital Age. I tend to think that if you have a series that has a number of bookoids, any given bookoid’s title should be SERIES TITLE: Bookoid’s Title. The series is not a subtitle. The book’s title is not a subtitle. But there’s no easy way to indicate to Amazon that thus-and-such a book is part of a series until you’re well after the fact: you have to have already submitted the title & subtitle before you can tell Amazon’s endless form that the thing is part of a series, and here’s the damn series title.

Today it dawned on me that instead of telling Amazon the title is Fire-Rider: The Battle of Loma Alda, I should go the other way around and say it’s The Battle of Loma Alda: Fire-Rider.

The problem is much worse at Bowker, where you can NOT convince the software that anything coming after a colon is part of the book’s title. The result of that is, as we speak, 13 ISBN’s for books titled “Fire-Rider.” Over  there, too, a colon signifies a subtitle, even if it’s punctuation in a series of words typed into the “Title” slot. Extremely annoying.

Oh well.

Book VII is lively stuff! You should read it. I really need people to review these things, and so if you’d like to do so, please let me know and I’ll arrange (if I can figure out how) to put one or two installments up as freebies. Sooner or later I’ll need to do that anyway, but will move the task forward if one of you indicates you’d like a peek.

Just put up a pretty erotic image (speaking of lively stuff) at Camptown Ladies Talk — a famous and very lush painting by Gustav Courbet. The occasion: a nifty poem that appears in today’s NY Times Magazine.

 

Taking a Brief Break…

“Brief” is the operative term. After several frantic weeks, things are cruising along on a fairly even keel just now, so I think I can take off a morning or so to rest and try to think. Actually, I should run out to a grocery store, but the crushing heat discourages one from venturing out of one’s burrow.

We are now ready with about a dozen racy bookoids for Camptown Races Press. That will provide about a month or six weeks’ worth of uploads, if we’re putting them online about every three or four days. With any luck, we’ll be able to run a month or so ahead of that.

Book V of Fire-Rider went online this morning: Kay’s Ghosts. After an angry confrontation leads Tavi to rebel against Kay’s apparent lack of empathy, Kay asks Tavi how he thinks he (Kay) came to learn the Espanyo language. In the absence of an answer, Kay’s horrifying personal story emerges, one that parallels Tavi’s and possibly even outdoes it.

Yesterday I spent some time trying to learn how to use Twitter. The “hashtag” thing has always been a mystery to me. I guess it amounts to a user-generated search term. Apparently you can found one simply by typing it into a tweet. And apparently you can associate a tweet of your own with a larger community (as it were) of people nattering on the same topic. Say, for example, something like “Camptown’s latest #eroticromance just went online at Amazon: http://bitly.hotsytotsy.”

The first experiment with Tweetvertising is branded (uhmmm… I guess that’s the term) with #FireRider, #postapocalyptic, #futurehistory, and #adventurestory. Now I need to find some cool things to share with readers, so I’m not just blitzing folks with ads.

Can you post images on Twitter?

What I don’t yet understand is what the “@” symbol is supposed to do. I think it’s some sort of identification badge.

And can you create a Twitter account or an entity in a new  name, or are you limited to one account? I think the FunnyAboutMoney Twitter persona was created way back in the day, by the delightful Mrs. Micah. (Remember her?)

Same question applies to FaceBook: can I create a site for Camptown RP and the Ladeez? Since certainly I can’t be blitzing my coreligionists, who comprise most of my FB “friends,” with news of lascivious literature.

Also yesterday I made an interesting discovery that will allow me to build a large and entertaining backlist quickly and easily. Better not discuss that here: it will soon become evident what I’m getting up to. It’s a stealable idea, and I think it’s best not tip my hand before the launch.

Working on learning how to make “boxed sets” compiling related bookoids under one electronic cover. You can do this cheaply using freeware called Gimp, but I think I’d rather have Gary Bennett, who designed the Fire-Rider cover, create the things, since he’s a pro, he has many years of experience with PhotoShop, and the result is likely to look a lot more professional than anything I could trick out in a program I don’t know.

Must decide today whether to cancel the New York Times.

The paper uses a local delivery service that also throws the Wall Street Journal and the Arizona Republic onto people’s driveways and into any available puddles. This delivery outfit just stinks. One of two specific reasons I canceled the Republic was that they used to call me on the phone about ten days before the bill was due and harass me to pay up right that minute, as though I were a deadbeat and was late on payment. (The other reason is that the Sunday paper contained nothing but advertising and went directly into the recycling bin without even being read.)

The Times wasn’t delivered either Saturday or Sunday. On Saturday, I don’t believe they came up our street at all: I walk the dogs before it gets too hot and so can see whose driveway has a dead tree on it.

I called and complained. No paper was ever forthcoming.

On Sunday (apparently as a consequence of my complaint), everyone else got a paper but I didn’t.

This is not the first time such a thing has happened, and it’s far from the first time I’ve complained about this bunch.

I have an “educator’s” discount for the Times, which makes it marginally affordable. Still, they’ve raised the bill with some regularity, to the extent that if I canceled that paper, I could use the money to subscribe either to the New York Review of Books (a favorite I can no longer afford) or to The Economist (a weekly that I’ve always coveted).

An online subscription comes with the dead-tree subscription to the Times. If you want to read the Times online only, you have to pay for the privilege. I don’t know if it’s a lot less. Nor do I know whether I would want to pay for the privilege: though I use it all the time to post links to Times articles, I usually find those articles first in the hard-copy version. And I do not find reading the thing on a tablet to be very alluring.

But even when they do deliver the damn thing, these days I rarely get a chance to read it. I’ll look at it while I’m bolting down breakfast, and then I’m launched into 14 or 18 hours of nonstop work. That means I may read maybe two or three pages. Why am I forking over money for that? At that rate, one issue of The Economist would provide reading material for an entire week of breakfasts.

I want to support the little high-quality journalism that survives in this country. But hell. Donating to Pro Publica or PBS would accomplish that.

Such a deal.