Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Wrestling with Longshots

Writing in 2017 has been interesting, but much of it feels the same. I'm still splitting my time between edits, revisions, writing fresh drafts and working on scripts (again). But what it feels like is working, working, working with no way off of the hamster wheel. This feeling keeps gnawing at me that I need to do some big, grand gesture in order to move my career along. I get this feeling every few months, but I have yet to figure out exactly what needs to be done.

I think this feeling is what's throwing me back into script writing. I still have a desire to submit something to Amazon Studios, but silly, always prepared me starting looking at the fine print again. The deal they offer isn't quite what it seems. It's a buyout--which means if they like it and they want it, they can not only block you out of any future script revisions or rewrites (which I expected), but they can also strip your name from the project. So, aside from money, what's in it for me? It puts me in a situation of bragging about getting something made, only to see that I can't prove to anyone I did it.

It's not just script writing either. I've come to the decision that I need to move beyond self publishing. I'm not giving it up entirely (I still have the third installment for Kindle Worlds to release), but I think the next new project that goes out into the world should be presented from a more traditional source. The publishing world isn't the same as it was twenty years ago. You have to have your feet planted in both sides of publishing to maximize visibility and income. Plus, you have to come up with a scheme for a weekly check. Some do podcasts, some sell useless How to Write courses, some super bloggers earn enough from advertising--I do freelancing right now, but there are so many options I feel like I'm not exploring hard enough (except for selling courses--most of them are worthless).

What does this all mean? It means I'm still going to practice drawing, even though I'd rather be writing comics than drawing them. It means I may throw myself into some other creative form if given the chance. It means I have to do what I do best--get creative to find the space I want to occupy. It'll probably cause a few brain freezes along the way (like the one I'm having right now), but maybe I'll be led in the right direction.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Hello, 2017

I didn't mean to disappear for the last couple months. I sat myself down every week to write a blog post, but everything I wrote didn't seem right. I just didn't have much to say. A new year has started. I wanted to title this post The Year of Yes, but Shonda Rhimes apparently got to that phrase first. I have to admit, I still don't have much to say, but I'm working on that--behind the scenes, as usual.

What I have tried to do is to challenge myself. I don't do resolutions, but because I love photography so much, I've decided to do a photo a day for a year. My downfall might be that I chose to use an instant camera, so I may have to switch back to digital at some point.

Anyway, I'll figure that one out. Here's one of the first  shots I took for the year (complete with a little experimentation in color flash filters). Hopefully, I'll get much more creative as the days go by. Otherwise, I'll run out of interesting subjects quickly.

What creative projects have you kicked off in the new year? 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

You Know That Whole NaNo Thing? Yeah, About That...

Writing a 50k in 30 days. That was such a cute idea, wasn't it? Unfortunately, this has been an off year for me with less than 3000 words written and we're beyond the halfway point of the month. But it's not all bad.

One of the reasons my NaNo novel is stuck in park is because the annual freelancer's dry spell hasn't quite settled in just yet. We'll give that one a small shout of glee. The other reason? Another story idea has come up. Poof! Right out of thin air, and I can't stop thinking about it. It is another that goes into the literary fiction category, and I'm intrigued by it. I'm going to respect my current NaNo project and not start on it until December, but I really can't wait. It's going to be a lot of fun.

Anyone else inching closer to the NaNoWriMo finish line?

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Quite a Long Day...

I'm not going to lie--this is a tense day. But don't all important elections have that gross hangover feeling? It doesn't matter who you voted for. I tried to stay out of publicly expressing my political opinions and I don't plan to continue talking politics publicly after this for two reasons:

1. To get the full picture of why someone supports a candidate, a proposition or a party the way they do, you should probably be looking them in the eye to discuss it. Social media is the worst place to do this because you can start a reasonable conversation that spirals into insults you'd never say to someone's face. But what's worse is that social media allows you to block and ignore different points of view. Like money, sex and religion, politics is personal. But all sides should be heard and respected for the fact that someone feels deeply about it.

However, if you decide to put your opinion into terms that only work to demean the other side just because you think you can, I do have the right to not acknowledge it. Put it in a respectful manner, and you're opinion will be respected. 

2. I am writer, so I may be able to state my opinions a bit more eloquently at times, but that doesn't mean I should take every opportunity to do so. Writing is a hard enough road to take without dismissing a large group of people just because we disagree on, well, pretty much everything when in comes to government players.

It's not about just being kind to people (though that's important). I have no issue admitting that not talking about politics is directly related to the idea that I don't want to offend a potential reader because that impacts my dismally small bottom line. So far what I write is for entertainment only and will be for the foreseeable future. I may someday release work that challenges these ideas, but if I do I'll understand the consequences.

Have I ever given readers an idea of how I think on political terms? Probably. I do occasionally like creative or entertaining posts with a political spin. I am a mass of statistics that pollsters will tell you comes to an obvious conclusion of how I think and how I feel about politics. And maybe they are correct. I think fairness is something to strive for on all levels. I believe everyone has the right to do what makes them happy, as long as it's not directly hurting anyone else. I believe we had a good thing going and now there's a sense of dread and chaos. But we all did what we thought was best for each of us. That's what we're supposed to do, even if we aren't happy with the outcome.

The only thing that's making this day redeemable for all of us are people that have made the point to tell us to continue loving and respecting each other no matter what. Because seriously, if I loved and respected you yesterday, it's going to be the same today.

And if that doesn't do it for you, go hug a puppy or something. That makes everyone feel better.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Amazon's Powered by Indie: The Power to Pretend You Care

Anyone who had a book published through Amazon through CreateSpace or KDP probably received an email or two last month about Amazon's Powered by Indie campaign. I was one of the authors that received the first email in which Amazon was congratulating me for having one or more of my books included in the promotion. Can you understand how exciting this was?

Well, at least for a few minutes.

I immediately headed over to the special page featuring all these great independent authors. And what I saw was not surprising--a small range of top-selling indie authors. I went directly to the author filter list because I wanted to see which of my books had been chosen to be featured. The email hadn't been specific. I searched for my name, my titles and everything I could think of. I wasn't listed anywhere.

This should have discouraged me, but it didn't. I reread the email, thinking I was stupid or something. It made a plea to promote this great thing Amazon is doing by talking about your own indie publishing experience on blogs and social media, because your story may be featured.

Huh. So that's what's up. I get it. I immediately wrote a blog post (which was genuine in sentiment) and posted it all over social media. I thought I was catching on. Maybe my book wouldn't show up on the featured page unless I promoted the Powered by Indie page.

Wrong again. I also had the idea in my head that this would be a rotating feature, changing the books daily or weekly throughout October. There were only a couple of thousand books (if that) promoted by an even smaller number of authors, because most had multiple books featured. I will admit that I checked every day all month long for my book to show up, but not because I actually thought it would. I just wanted to make sure that I was in fact being duped into giving the online sales giant free advertising. Which, if you think about it, was useless because most authors end up only promoting their work to other authors, who probably don't buy as much of it as you think (though we do support each other in different ways).

I checked the wide expanse of the web for author chatter about this since I didn't know if the original email was a mistake or a ploy. Some authors admitted to not getting the email at all, while others were in my position, searching for their own featured book that wasn't really featured. About ten days after the initial email, everyone on KDP received an email about doing your part to promote it, but it didn't contain the promise that your book had been featured.

To be honest, I have enough problems getting my books in front of the right people. I don't need Amazon distracting me from that. And keeping me from improving my book sales does the company no favors (though a boost in books sales from me probably wouldn't be noticed at all). 

And just to add to your knowledge about indie sales in general and the all-time sales slump that's happening right now, I ran across this post that provided all I needed to know about why Amazon is nothing more than a necessary evil, not in any way a helpful entity for those selling less than a few thousand copies per month.

So much for Amazon creating an indie renaissance. They have the power to do it, but it's not as quick and easy as working with the publishing powerhouses. That leaves the indie author to keep doing it on their own. The renaissance will come. Just maybe not tomorrow.