Sunday, March 27, 2016

Not sure where I'm going from here.

Okay, so getting pirated during the launch did have an effect on my sales. I don't know if it is what killed the book, but about 50 people downloaded the torrent, rather than buy my book that day. From what happened to my sales at that point, I suspect some of those would have been paid sales.

The circumstances that put the torrent link right below the Amazon link on Google surely did not help matters any.

The entire matter was rather frustrating and demoralizing, to put it bluntly. I am back to looking for consulting work once again. As for the next Portals book, I don't know. The plot is done and the first several chapters are finished, I may finish it up while looking for a contract, just have to see. It won't be edited, it may not even have a cover art piece, those things cost money and those are costs I have to lay out in advance. Maybe I should do a kickstarter to cover the cost of those? I don't know.

I already have a decent idea of how much the next POI book should make, by looking at the trends on sales from each book to the next. It should be enough to make it worthwhile, but it probably won't be enough to support me. Sadly I suck at marketing and promotion. If I was better at it, or knew more about it, I'd probably be able to sell a lot more. Book one in the Portals series really did do fantastic, but each book after that sold a little bit less, which is normal for a series. That's why really long series are very rare, because no matter how many people bought the first book, eventually very few people will keep buying. It's like a half-life.

I had left it open to write a sequel to 'The King of Las Vegas' originally. That will not be happening now, (unless sales inexplicably suddenly go through the roof). While the initial sales were very good, after the unexpected sales drop, it got kicked out of the Amazon promo system and still hasn't recovered. KU sales did continue to grow for a while, and are still good, but KU pays about half of regular royalties (in some countries it pays significantly less than that), and it's regular sales that appear to drive the ranking system, not KU. So I just can not afford to write a sequel. All future Hammer Commission books are on an indefinite hold now.

I have a shrean book that is more than halfway finished, I may finish it, I may not. I don't expect it to sell at all however, so if I do finish it, it won't be edited and it'll get a cheap cover, if any.

As for Portals going forward, I may still try to do some other stories in the universe, because I suspect everyone is getting tired of reading about Will. But it all depends on how the next one sells, if I do finish it. I have to admit to wanting to pull the one shrean book ('Lost Souls') put it out under a different author name, and see if it does any better. You know, dinging a book by an author you like because it isn't part of the series he's writing that you do like, does NOT encourage him to write more of that series. Quite the opposite in fact.

Two things encourage authors to write more of something: Sales, and positive reviews. And Sales is a very large part of that. Writing takes time, it takes a lot of time. I probably have close to a thousand hours in 'The King of Las Vegas', I'd hoped to make five grand over the life of that book, and have it bring in new readers to the Portals series and bring that up more as well. Right now I've made about a hundred dollars off of it (after expenses). Quite a break from expectations isn't it?

But, writing is like that. You don't know what people will like or won't like, I have been both blessed and cursed with the Portals series, blessed in that so many people have liked it. Cursed in that some people think anything I write will be like it, and if it isn't they're upset, or worse yet, they won't even look at something else because they don't like Portals.

The thing about Portals is, it isn't just about the worlds and the mytho's that William goes through. Oh, that's a part of it, a big part of it of course. But the real story is about William himself. When suddenly you've been handed tons of fame and power, what do you do? How does it affect you? How does it change you, and how will you grow as a man? Look at Ginger Baker, and look at Paul McCartney. (If you don't know who they are, go look them up). Both were very famous, both are still some what famous. Both have made millions. Yet one is still a madman, while the other one 'grew up'.

And to be honest, I can't say which of the two has really had a better life. They both took different paths and have gone different ways, and have made their mark on the world very distinctly. There isn't a drummer alive who doesn't know who Ginger Baker is (not if he's any good) but there are a lot of bass players who probably don't know anything about Paul McCartney.

So yeah, I'm a little down, but I'm not quite out. But for the writing thing? Right now I don't know what's going to happen with that. If you want to help, tell people about whichever book of mine was your favorite, and try to get them to read me.


Friday, March 25, 2016

Please do not Pirate my Books

Please do not download the pirated copies of my books. I keep the prices as low as I can, because I want people to be able to afford my stories, but I have bills to pay and food to buy. I cannot work for free.

The increase in pirating of my works is having a huge affect on my situation, it is getting so bad that I am now looking for a regular job again and will not be writing full-time anymore.

I do not work for a publisher, I work directly for you. When you pirate my work, it is not a publisher who takes the hit, it's me who loses out.

If you want me to keep writing, then please pay me for my work.

Thursday, March 24, 2016


Annnd the pirates hit this morning and my sales dropped significantly.

This may be it for me folks. If the sales don't come back, I'm quitting and going back to consulting. I have bills to pay.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why I write things other than Portals of Infinity.

Someone made a comment today that basically implied they wondered why I wrote things other than the Portals of Infinity series. Well, it's really pretty simple: Money.

You see, when you write a series, it has a 'sell-through rate', which is how many people who buy the first book, buy the next, etcetera and so on. Now the POI series has had a pretty good sell-through rate for me, but still, the number of people buying them has decreased and will eventually get to the point where it won't be worth it for me to write them anymore.

Book 6, 'Reprisal', sold one-fifth the number of copies as book 1, 'Champion for Hire'. Book 7 I know will sell even less than that. Book 8? Book 8 may very well be the last book of the series, if I can't get people to start being interested in buying the later books in the series, without them having to read the earlier books. This is why I took the numbers off the cover, Reprisal can be read without having to read the earlier books. Book 7 will be the same. I want to try to make the books such that people will be more willing to pick up the odd one, and if they like it, maybe read some of the others.

While I enjoy what I do very much, I can not continue to do it, if I don't make any money at it. So between each POI book lately, I have put out something other than a POI book. After book 7, another Shrean book (this one is not a sequel to the prior one) will come out. A sequel to The Hammer Commission, is also in the works. Because if I can't attract readers to my other stories, and get those other stories to sell, then I'll have to go back to consulting and quit being an author. Both are full-time jobs (to be honest, the consulting gig pays about 3 times what the writing gig pays - I just like this more).

Yes, it would be great if I could write only the Portals of Infinity books, and continue to make a living off of that. I enjoy the world, and the freedom I have with it. I've been trying to write a POI book that focuses on Nikki, as an attempt to let me do more writing in the POI world. I hopefully will still be able to do that, and I can keep the POI books coming out, even if I may have to cut back to only two of them a year. But only time will tell.

And as to why I tend to use cats in my books? Well as I've mentioned elsewhere, I used to raise, train, and even own, big cats. I spent a lot of years with cougars, leopards, lions, tigers, servals, caracals, etc. And by a lot, I mean over twenty. As for Rafael, Rakshasa are Indian demons that look like tigers, but really aren't. I thought it would be easier for people to make the tiger comparison stronger. They also in the myths feed off of hate, fear, anger and build those emotions in people by shape-shifting into the guise of other people in a village and sowing dissent. Eventually they eat the person they've been targeting. I thought it would be fun to have an American College student who was a womanizer (very much like someone I know in real life) become one, and being an American decide he was more into sex than violence. I threw that character into 'The Hammer Commission' for fun, and was surprised that there were people who asked me to actually expand on that character. So I did.

But yes, I like big cats. Sue me. Hopefully one of these days when I move back out into the sticks I'll get one last one, just to have that back in my life again. Of course that would mean no more vacations, but eh, life is full of trade-offs.

So anyway, hope I didn't ramble too much, but if you want more POI stories, then get more people to buy them! :-)

Thank you all,

Monday, March 21, 2016

What I accomplished this weekend

Originally this weekend I was going to work on the print copy of the new book (The King of Las Vegas - go buy one! hint hint! ;-) ) as well as the print copy of Reprise, the last Portals of Infinity book. How that last one fell through the cracks is beyond me, but it did.

Instead, I worked on the fence (because it was starting to fall apart). The fence around my house is a wooden one with those cedar slats like you see in the home depot/Lowes stores. It goes around the backyard, it's nothing fancy, and I have no idea when it was put up, all the houses in the neighborhood have the same thing. Of course setting 4x4's in concrete means rot, sooner if you don't do it right, but even if you do, eventually it has to be fixed. At this point I've fixed about half of the 4x4's, which is a pain. I can't get my neighbors to do the work, because in the past they were all way older than me, or no one was living there. Now, one is way older, the other is at work all the time. At least the new one on the one side has taken to doing work on their side, and THAT is very much appreciated.

So on Saturday, I had to fix a spot where three fence lines meet, and they meet at weird angles because of property line changes, my house was the last in the line of the type one developer built, so the next one, and the one behind me are different, and have different property setups. I had to remove ten to fifteen feet of each fence section, only two of which border my property (the other one borders the other two neighbors) dig up an old concrete footing, set in a new 4x4, replace all of the stuff I took down, and then I also set in too steel fence posts, in concrete, to give that corner additional bracing. Because I have a 120 lb GSD that likes to jump on the fence, and the neighbor behind me has an 80 lb mix that does a bit of that as well when they're running back and forth.

So I spent all day Saturday, getting materials, tearing down, cutting new materials to size, digging holes, building back up (with the post set in the proper place this time), mixing/pouring/setting concrete, then cleaning up all of the junk I had torn down.

I spent Sunday mostly goofing off, because I'm not as young as I used to be, and surprisingly quite a few joints are complaining about all of the work I did. You know, I don't mind getting old, I just hate feeling it :-P !

So tonight, after I get back from my bass lesson, I'll start on the paperback versions of the last two novels. Which leads to a question for any of you reading this. What size do you prefer paperbacks to be? I go with 6 x 9, because it keeps the costs down (you pay by the page on printing costs and I want to keep my prices low for you) and I've seen it used a lot. I've see some people doing 5.5 x 8.25 which ends up increasing page count by about 25 percent. If I did the paperback size you see in bookstores, then the price would be a lot higher. But just curious as to what preferences people have.

So, back to work!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Where do you buy your reviews?

This is a question I'd really like to ask some of the other authors out there, where do you buy your reviews? Because I know what a professional review looks like, and I know when I see one written, but that reviewer has never reviewed anyone else, that it's a bought and paid for review.

Now that doesn't mean the book is bad, I've seen some with a lot of other reviews, and decent sales, so obviously the story is good, but the first batch of reviews, the ones that got people to actually give the story a chance, were obviously bought and paid for.

I'd love to know where they went and got their reviews, because to be honest, as everyone is doing it, and Amazon really doesn't do anything about it (except for the occasional thing every few years) I'm very tempted to do it myself. To date, I've never paid for a review, and for the few people I've given review copies to, I've always told them to note that the got the copy for free, for review purposes. I've always worked hard to be as upfront and ethical (and honest) as possible.

But ethics and honest doesn't sell books. And while I'm going okay, I sometimes wonder if I could be doing better. If I should cheat like the others are.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The King of Las Vegas is available for Pre-order on Amazon

I actually got a link to amazon to work with blogger!

anyway, It's on Amazon and ready for pre-order, and goes live on the 18th, this Friday. Buy early and buy often! :-)

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Pre-Order page is now up for The King of Las Vegas!

Got the new book submitted to Amazon today, it's in Pre-Order mode right now, and will become available on the 18th of this month (3/18).

Go check it out!

Now I can get back to work on the POI book! :-)

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Coming Soon...

Now I just need to write the blurb and get the manuscript back from my editor.
Aiming for a 3/18 release date right now.

This is the story of Rafael, an American College student, who during a vacation in India fell afoul of a Rakshasa. Many years later when he finally wins his freedom (and gets deported back to America), the question becomes: Where can a shape-shifting tiger-demon find acceptance in America?

Friday, March 04, 2016

Portals of Infinity, Book Seven

Well, I officially started writing book seven today. Now lets see how long it takes me to finish it! One chapter down.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

The King of Las Vegas should be up for sale soon!

So, the cover is currently being made for my next book: The King of Las Vegas.
This story is one from the 'Hammer Commission' universe, and it tells the story of how Rafael, the American College student turned Rakshasa during holiday in India came to be where he is today.

Once the cover is done I'll set it up on Amazon with a release date and everything. Just can't do that without a cover.

In other news Book 7 in the Portals of Infinity series is now underway, still cleaning up a few plot issues and I hope to start the first draft today or tomorrow.