Thursday, November 21, 2013

I'm Thankful For… (2013 edition)

I likely won't be posting next week (which is American Thanksgiving—I'll be out of town at the Biltmore Estate with relatives, and I'll be settling in to my new apartment). Thanksgiving is a time of being thankful for what you have—though I try to give thanks to God all the time—and here are some things I'm thankful for:

  • You.
  • You readers have been quite encouraging to me—even if you just read it. (I can see the stats.) And then there's those of you who comment, discuss, ask questions… When I'm feeling down, as if nobody's cares about what I have to say, I can look at the stats, at your comments and remember that you find me interesting enough to read, and some of you find me interesting enough to read, comment, and follow me to other sites and comment there, too. Thank you.

  • The Internet.
  • Giving me a community to explore separate from my in-person one, the latter of which can feel lonely. That makes me sound pathetic, but you probably remember that I have a hormonal disorder. It's a ton easier to yank myself out of a mood swing when I can just hop somewhere else for a while.

  • Self-Publishing.
  • I've made no secret of the fact that my sales are low, but the very possibilities in self-publishing has helped me get off my butt and finish things. And it gives me a reason to do things like cover design and formatting, which are both relaxing—something I wouldn't have known without reason to play with them.

  • Wattpad.
  • Wattpad as a platform has been quite encouraging for me—and as a bonus for y'all, it's let me put First Draft Fridays in place, to force me to write, even when I don't feel like it, which can help me get out of the "don't feel like it" funk. I even got a nice e-mail last Friday, that I'm one of the most followed people over there, which is mind boggling. I'm still looking up that e-mail every so often to make sure I didn't imagine it.

  • My friends.
  • In person, online—I'm not distinguishing, here. We're all comfortable enough with each other and ourselves that we're even honest when asked, "What do you think of this?" We'll kindly point out when we're getting stuck in negative funks, or when we're being irrational, or when… You know, all those nice things that need pointing out for someone to improve as a person, rather than feeding each other what we want to hear. (Okay, there's a bit of that what-you-wanna-hear thing, too, but we're honest about it. I admittedly will sometimes use it as a lead-in for some satire, but my friends don't seem to mind—particularly because I stop when asked.)

  • God.
  • I'm Christian, as you likely know, and I do believe God speaks. Over the past few months, I've asked for some specific signs to reassure me, and every single one has happened. I have to do the math to know the statistic probability of 5 specific things happening spontaneously as prayed for, on the very day requested, is extremely small.

  • Life.
  • I've had several would-be-dead-but-for-the-grace-of-God events in my life. I'm actually glad for them, because they're reminders that 1. I have no idea when I'm going to die, 2. God wants me to be alive for now, and 3. Life's to be utilized*, not squandered. (*I'm using utilized in the formal sense, not the colloquial abuse that makes it synonymous with use.)

I could keep going, which is good. It's good to remind yourself of the good things in life, especially when bad things are happening—because you can't control what happens. You can only control your response and what you stew on.

It's healthier to focus on good things than bad—and you can choose to focus on those things.

If you do that, some people will think you (and possibly call you) naïve, due for a rude awakening. But those people aren't going to be happy no matter what you do. That's on them, not you.

What are you thankful for? Have any plans for Thanksgiving?


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kickstarter Almost Over—and some stuff going on

The Kickstarter for A Fistful of Water ends tomorrow! Last chance to get the series at a discount before the holidays—if the project funds.

(Well, except for the e-books of the first two books, which are irregularly priced at various vendors, thanks to some quirks in self-publishing that aren't my fault. It's really weird at Kobo, where my side of everything says they cost $6.99, but when I look them up in the Kobo store, the book pages say $4.99—which is probably why Amazon has A Fistful of Earth at that price, right now. *shrug*)

And I'll probably start posting the first draft of Chronicles of Marsdenfel #4 over on Wattpad. I'm not sure about the opening bit, but that only means I can't be sure if it works or not. So those of you interested in reading a first draft can tell me. ^_^

I still haven't entirely decided what to call that. I was going to call it the name Pneumarian suggested, then recently realized I might actually need a book #5 in the series (*gulp*), which might do better with that title.

So to make things less confusing in case I do juggle titles, I'll probably start it off as A Fistful of ???—AFo4, for short—and see where we go from there.

I also haven't forgotten my plan (mentioned in my newsletter) to report on Holly Lisle's How to Revise Your Novel course, as applied to AFoW. I've just been…busy, then sick, then… Well, still sick. I feel as if I'm getting better, but it's slow. I have so many food sensitivities at the moment that I can't even drink chicken broth. (No garlic, onion, or carrot for me.) I can't put olive oil in my ears, either. :-(

(Oil in the ears is soothing when they hurt, and when there's neem in that olive oil, it's a nice antibiotic. Unfortunately, I'm also sensitive to trees at the moment, and guess where neem comes from… *facepalm*)

But that "sick" thing is why I'm so far behind on NaNoWriMo. I may catch up. I want to catch up. Not sure if I'll be able to, but I plan to try.

I think I'll take another nap first, though.

How are y'all?


Thursday, November 7, 2013

On Changed Plans and Things That Trigger Them

I meant to apply my marketing class to the Kickstarter, but when I thought more about it, I realized I've already messed it up. Oh, well. There's always the next one.

I intentionally attempted to help fans by making my Kickstarter a way to get the Aleyi series for less with the pre-sale…and nibbles have been…pretty much non-existent. (Note to self: Holiday season crowdfund projects need a longer deadline, not a shorter one—and they probably aren't going to work until I have a larger fanbase.)

That's okay. I don't mind failing like that (and frankly, it might still succeed). If it doesn't, that's fine. It's not as if I'll be having to buy a cover for A Fistful of Water—although I'll probably revisit the filtering I do to the photo. I can't quite figure out how to get the effect I'm wanting.

And CreateSpace just made their "Expanded Distribution" free.

What does that mean?

"Expanded Distribution" (ED) refers to additional sales venues to which CreateSpace can make a self-publishing author's book available—including the CreateSpace Direct program, which lets bookstores and such buy your book at a wholesale price. ED used to cost $25…and any books sold through those vendors pays the author a lot less than the other sales venues.

Some self-publishing authors have avoided it due to the cost, and they're jumping on it now. Some have put their books in it as they could afford it and are snatching up the new free ED for new releases and for any old ones that didn't have it yet.

But some authors don't see ED as worth their while, either because of the pay cut or because of where they have to price their books to be able to put it in ED. These folks are generally fretting over keeping print prices "competitive"…compared to mass market paperbacks. (Note that CreateSpace produces trade paperback size books, not mass market paperback size. The mass market paperback size doesn't work with print on demand publishing; that size requires offset printing runs to be economical.)

Personally, I'm putting every book I can in ED. That's me. I don't know how many CreateSpace users are going to do that.

In other news, you might have noticed the widget on the right, where I'm doing NaNoWriMo. I've updated my "FIRST DRAFT PROGRESS" section in the sidebar there to show the things I hope to finish this month. So far, I've finally finished drafting the sequel to "Thrice Uncharmed", and I've discovered that the sequel to "The Nymph and the Goblin" is going to be longer than I originally thought it would be.

After I finish that, plan is to jump into my "How to Focus" guide and my book on writing essays efficiently. I suspect the sequels to the above sequels might weasel their way into that list, though.

In any event, December and probably January will be major revision months for me, so I can get those things to you. Maybe I can finish some of those short stories on the back burner as a break. Hmm. I'll still have First Draft Fridays to do, so… we'll see what happens. Especially since I'm moving in a few weeks.

But Lord willing, the next few months will be nice for fans who want more reading material by me. ^_^

Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo? What are y'all up to, this month?


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