Monday, October 31, 2011

National Novel Writing Month 2011

So in a moment of insanity, I decided that I am going to attempt to do the National Novel Writing Month Goal of writing 50 thousand words while doing four literature classes. What I know about my novel so far is that it is humor, and the title is Then the Cat Threw Up. That is all I know. No plot, no plan, and several large papers to write for my classes. It should be a disaster.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Epic publishing fail

Occasionally on the internet, one gets lucky and sees someone's mistake before they clean it up. Today's winner is from Smashwords. I am not sure what to point out as the biggest mistake---the cover or the price. Obviously, they uploaded the wrong cover, and I am positive that the price is also wrong.

But never fear, the person caught their mistake(s) and the ebook is no longer available to buy. I presume that they are fixing the problem as I write this.

And if the writer in question ever sees this, just remember that if you are lucky, someday you will be able to laugh at one of my mistakes.

Let's count the ways that this one is wrong.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Does peer pressure work?

Today, I was reading the blog of another writer, and I noticed that they had a little note in the sidebar about the number of words that they have written in their current project. Which brings me to the question---does peer pressure work for any writer?

One of the suggestions that the Nanowrimo people suggest is telling people that you are working on a novel. The theory is that people will hound you to keep up your stream and complete the project in a timely manner. Who are these people who can make a writer get to work?

My friends are the last people who can motivate me to work. In fact, it is almost certain that my friends will cause me to slack off. And my beloved wife is no help either. I think it is mainly because she doesn't picture me as a writer.

(Honestly, can you picture me as a college professor? That is what my wife thinks I should be.)

I have never found peer pressure to be a good motivator for me. Maybe I am weird; perhaps there are writers who find that posting their process helps motivate them.

For myself, I have found that self-motivation is more important. Then again, I have OCD tendencies. A project gets under my skin, and I can't focus completely on anything else until I work it out of my system. Not even the threats of an editor matches the head of stream I can generate when my touch of insanity rears its head.

(I call it insanity not because I think that I am insane, but rather because of how other people [non-writers] react to me when I am in its grip.)

And if you are curious about my latest project---I have written a whole three words. C'mon peer pressure! Bring it on!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Am I as kind as my spam filter?

Ok, I presume that the following method of writing is merely a way to try to fool my spam filter.

"I am prayerfully lett1ng all to you hop1ng that you w1ll respond pos1t1vely and wont betray my trust too."

I just recieved an entire email written this way. By the way, it did not fool my spam filter. Nice try, but no can do. And even if it did get past my spam filter, I would have deleted based on the writing style alone (not to mention the content).

Gee, I guess that I am meaner than my spam filter.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

How much is a twitter account worth?

Today, I stumbled across someone trying to sell their Twitter account for $300.

I was on Twitter, culling out some of the more useless people that I was following on Twitter. Mainly because I hit one of Twitter's limits on following people, so I was removing some of the people who never actually tweet.

Anyways, this person has 28,197 followers, and is following 29,768 people. They are listed on 126 lists. They have made 428 tweets, though their last tweet was on July 12th.

But is this Tweeter account worth three hundred dollars?

Beats me. I know that it is out of my price range at the moment. And it probably would be worthless to me; after all, I am dealing with a specialized market. The account was definitely not rigged for my market.

Yet, I still wonder if the account is worth three hundred dollars to someone who is less focused on a specific market than I am. Who knows. Nevertheless, I found it interesting---don't you?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pricing ebooks

I have been thinking a lot lately about how ebooks are priced. Mainly because I just started to get back into the writing game after a brief absence.

(Not that it is a serious venture back into the field, more like a sticking my toe into a pool of slime and wondering why I did so. For those who are curious about how serious I am taking it, just slip over to Smashwords and take a gander at my little test project, Pizza Boxes on the Floor.)

Honestly, looking around the internet, it looks like the Wild West when it comes to determining ebook prices.

The traditional publishers are still secretly trying to charge the same amount for an ebook as they are for a physical copy. Actually, the other day, I saw a history book that actually cost more for the ebook copy than a physical copy. I am guessing that some publishers believe that people will be willing to pay for convenience.

In my case, I am not willing to pay for convenience. Or rather I am not willing to have to pay for a ebook and then have to pay again for a hard copy with actual page numbers that I can cite in a college paper.

On the other side of the scale, there are the pirates who believe that no one should make a penny from any ebook. I am sorry, my cats would like to eat; therefore, I need to get paid something. And yes, if I am going to be pirated, than one of the pirate is going to have to pay a copy first.

So the question will arise about why I choose a 99 cent price for a 8860 word ebook, especially one that a reader will some time can find almost the entirety of for free on the internet already.

Well,  I had three choices.

First option, the "reader names their own price"---there are two problems with this option. One, I know that a lot of readers would download the entire book and not read any more than the free preview that I am already offering; and two, there are outlets who would not carry the ebook if this option was choosen.

Second option, the "free ebook" option---I am sorry, my favorite charity is my cats, and they would like to eat. If I wanted to give stuff away, I would have choosen the first option; it would result in the same amount of income.

Third option, "pick a price that ends in 99 cents," better known as the iBookstore price force---iBookstore, if you are charging for a book, will automatically round the price to the nearest 99 cents. It is an iCommerce thing (I am sure that Apple is going to trademark that term soon enourgh).

So in the interests of greed, because we all know that occult writers only write books for the money, I went with the third option, and decided 99 cents was a good price for 8860 words.

Is 99 cents that much? Some people are going to say it is. But I do not think so. After all, that is how much a can of cat food is being sold for at Walgreens (and they label that a "great buy"). And my cats would like to occasionally eat.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

First Smashwords test project up

Now available on Smashwords.
Well, I finally managed to drive myself to complete a test project for Smashwords. It is a collection of the dozen articles I wrote in 2010 for the Hearthstone Community Church newsletter, which I titled Pizza Boxes on the Floor (after the floor diagram I used that year during the annual ritual that I conduct for Hearthstone and Bast Temple).

I still want to complete another test project in a different field for Smashwords. After all, writing about Wicca and Golden Dawn is not something that looks like it will be a big seller on Smashwords. Honestly, the test project was more about figuring out the horrors of the formatting process than it was about making a buck. In theory, the formatting of the next project will be quicker (yeah, right).

It was more important today that I edited the few pictures that I took yesterday of my wife's jewelry than it was for me to finish this test project. I am not sure when she is going to get the three new items up on the Etsy shop, Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery, but she is liable to sell them before I sell a single copy of my little ebook.

Anyways, that was my work day today and yesterday. Fun, fun, fun.

I am proud of this bracelet photo---makes it almost look like I am a professional photographer.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Internal conflict

The cover for Pizza Boxes on the Floor.
I spent some time working on the test project that I plan on putting up on Smashwords today.

I did this instead of taking more photos of my wife's jewelry for her Etsy shop, Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery.

The result?

Yes, that is right. I feel great guilt for actually spending time working on my own business.

It is something that I have fought for years, this alarming tendency to feel guilt whenever I put my own concerns and needs before those of other people.

I used to blame it on my upbringing, but that is unfair to my family. After all, it is not like I haven't had twenty years plus to learn to become a selfish b******. The fact that I have not overcame the problem is probably a good indication that it is actually something deep inside me that is broken, something that no amount of familial programming hardly affected at all.

I sometimes wonder if other writers feel this way.

Probably not. After all, most writers are much more sane than I am.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What I have been up to lately

Halloween and kittens---what could be more fun?
My regular readers may or may not noticed that I have been ignoring this blog as well as my other blogs lately. The reason is that the semester is just kicking my a**. Remind me never to take four literature classes in the same semester ever again.

There is also the added bonus of monetary worries. Under normal conditions, I would attempt to make it up with quick and dirty writing...unfortunately, as I have already noted, this semester is a PITA.

I am no longer doing an astrology column for Campus Connection, the student newspaper of the Community College of Denver. I am not sure why I wasn't contacted for this semester; and after the difficulties of getting payment from them last semester, I am not sure that I even care. While it means that I have to make up for that bit of income loss, given the fact that this semester is a monster, it might have been a good thing in disguise.

Outside of the lack of money, time and energy, I am doing well. I may actually get a test-project up on Smashwords before the end of the year. I hope. Maybe not. Who knows? Time will tell.

Being honest, I will admit that the only thing I foresee accomplishing for sure is the 31 Days of Halloween Kitties that I am doing on my Golden Dawn blog. And that is just a bit of fun to lighten up the mood. Ironically, there may not be a single picture of any of my own cats in the set. You would think that given the number of cats I have that I would be able to get one of them to wear a hat; but no, I can't. They tell me that they are much better than the cats you see on the internet wearing silly hats. They may be right.

So anyways, if you don't see me updating this or the other blogs, presume that I am busy reading books and writing papers instead...because if I am not doing that, then I am busy trying to sell my blood for money.