Tools (Mad Monday)

You know why I’m mad on this lovely Monday night?

Tools!

I’m not actually mad at tools (and I’m not talking about arse holes) — I am annoyed at myself.  

Me, the one who preaches to work smarter, not harder and to use the tools available and– guess what?

I completely forgot I had a tiny little story enrolled in KDP select at Amazon.

What’s the big deal?  Well [as writers will know] part of the allure and benefit of KDP select is the benefit of promoting —  it is a valuable tool.

 

So, Sam & Sally Scarecrow have sat on the digital shelf (for nearly a year) gathering dust because I forgot they were there and I failed to use my tools. What a waste!

The moral of this madness is, “use your tools but don’t be a tool.”

Oh, and Amazon patrons can get a free copy of Sam & Sally Scarecrow on Friday, every Friday in October.

This indie stuff is hard. 😉

Mad Monday (Buzz, Bugs & Marigolds)

A world inside a world inside a world…

Creation is mind boggling. Just when you think you have it all figured out you realize you don’t know jack-squat.

This fact just re-occurred to me.

I take pictures to clear my mind and maybe I was pouting a little because an author friend told me I missed a great opportunity to create a buzz with the books released this summer. Yeah. The 2017 Summer Release.

It was an accurate observation but as I said before, “The only buzz I am motivated to create comes in the aftermath of consuming liquor.”

I was just being silly, the truth is I don’t drink much but maybe I should – I would be much more obnoxious  outgoing.

Tick-tock, tick-tock… Tsk, tsk, tsk. 

There I was, hanging my head, dragging my camera along like a blanket as I clomped outside and boom!

“My goodness, look at the Marigolds!”

I forgot about creating anything and became enchanted by the creation around me.

Just FYI: lying on the ground with a camera can be very relaxing and entertaining and educational and thought provoking… and itchy.

These photographs are just a few of the larger insects. I tell you it is like another world inside that flowerbed! I plan to go back out there and lay down again… as soon as these ant bites clear up.

Oh yeah, and here is “the buzz”: Cloud Wrangler, The Sharecropper’s Son and Greed are available at your favorite e-book store.

Bat-Shit Crazy & Indie Update

Can you believe it has been 4 years since I posted The First Year as an Indie (Lessons Learned)?

So much has changed… yet stayed the same.

I have created new works and destroyed old ones.

I have watched literary markets as well as loved ones come and go.

I pretty much left the ‘pertinent’ social media scenes. Why? For a few reasons, just pick one or make one up – that’s always fun.

New authors have asked, “Did decreasing media presence hurt book sales?”

My answer: “Laws yes! But you know what? I still do not give a flying rat’s fanny.”

I am sorry if that’s not the ‘right’ answer but it is my answer… my truth.  That is the beauty of being an independent author.

Another truth is I was in “an unhealthy state of dealing with stress” – that is a sophisticated way of saying I was “bat-shit crazy in the midst of a nervous breakdown.”

Social media [as well as life] was becoming a struggle to keep up with; it was also getting in the way of Getting Me Back.

Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) is scheduled to release March 31st, it is available for pre-order now. Go ahead and order it so you will have it in time for NPM (National Poetry Month)

If you have never had a nervous breakdown, I would not recommend embarking on that journey.

If you want a peek at what my journey was/is like, I’d recommend reading Getting Me Back.

If you are currently bat-shit crazy in the midst of a nervous breakdown definitely get some help and read Getting Me Back. Hey, we can journey together.

 

P.S. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

saint patricks day card (1024x727)

The First Year as an Indie (Apples to Oranges)

Part II (This is Me)

In the first portion of my annual Indie report I shared a few things I have learned regarding support, reviews and social media. I like the number five so if you’re interested I’ll share a couple more. I believe I left off at #3 in Lessons Learned. Since inquiring minds really want to know “how many books are you selling and how much money are you making?” We’ll start #4 with sales.

# 4 Sales: This is like comparing apples to oranges or beets to hamburgers. To simplify it allow me to use e- books and a twelve month period because a year ago I had maybe four titles available, all e-books exclusive to Amazon. Today I have about sixteen, most available wherever books are sold.

Don’t say wow yet. That number includes several books that were combined or joined and counted as a new title.  I.e. The Rage Trilogy, The Perpetual Series and Interior Verse/ Pose Prose & Poems.  Also Disturbed Affections was created for Barnes & Noble  which combines The Perpetual Series and Dour Number Four. Price trials were done and settled between 99¢ and $2.99.

For apples to apples sake March 2012 Amazon e-book sales were roughly about $5.80 with paper books way outselling them. March 2013 sales were about 50x that with very few paper books being sold. That’s two hundred and ninety sneering tight-lipped little Washington’s! Greenbacks baby! $1 smallYou can say wow now but hold that victory dance — I need to tell you something.

Sales over those twelve months were like a bipolar Bohemian. They were all over the place, feast and famine, up and down. Whew! It made me dizzy, now I know that’s just how it goes.

Looking at statistics is supposed to help me understand Bohemians’ such patterns and utilize them for … I don’t know but the good news is I made a few dollars. Woo-hoo – go ahead, dance with me.

#5 Stats and Ranks: OMG poke me in the eye! My website stats? I sort of saw a pattern of increased visitors equaled increased sales but it could’ve been my mind playing tricks on me. Example October hits were good and November sales increased. Why, how, what or who made it happen? Was it a tweet, a post or a random recommendation? I suspect it was a combination of factors or a cousin. I have lots of cousins.

Visitors: My door is always open and people apparently come and go while I’m in the shower or taking a nap. I am supposed to focus on unique visits, unique sites and unique referrers. [sigh] Okay. Most visits occur around 3:00 PM CST. Top referrers are direct requests followed by Google, Bing, A porn site I know nothing about (I swear!) and some from WordPress — that is probably fellow bloggers. Thank you all very much. See how boring data is?

I prefer to look at search string results. Search strings are interesting because you can see what query people use to arrive at your site. My favorites are “who is Janna Hill, “who the hell is Janna Hill”, “is Janna Hill really Janna Hill”, “Janna Hill + Symphony Angel, “is Janna Hill married to Joe Hill?” and “big ugly feet”. Really?! Someone searched “big ugly feet” and arrived here. [scratches head] Okay. Moving on…

Ranking: I use Amazon’s author tools. Just login and click rank. I occasionally break above the 12,000 overall in e-books. I know that sounds pitiful but when you came from ranking 500,000 to 12,000 I call that progress. C’mon, let’s dance again.

I may never be in the top ten or even the top 100 but I’m singing the Jefferson theme song and movin’ on up. I don’t want a deluxe apartment in the sky but I will take a small piece of some humble pie with a cup of coffee please.

The data above was gathered from March 2012- March 2013 reports. Yes I know we just entered July — I would make a great government employee, huh?! It has been (and is) one hell of a ride and I am truly grateful.

This is me. Not me writing on behalf of someone else. Not me pretending to be someone else. Not me wishing I was someone else. This is just me in all my rags of glory.

Addendum: Though it’s too early for me to offer a report or an opinion I can tell you I am seeing sales now at Apple. Maybe someday I’ll do an update and compare them to oranges. Ahh, I crack me up.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Resolved

My New Year’s resolution for the last 40 years has been NOT to make resolutions. What I was doing ten years prior to that I have no idea; I had to be in bed by 9 PM. I do however seem to recall a span of about three decades where my resolve was to be drunk at midnight and to kiss every good-looking male within lips reach. Now THAT was a  resolution I could keep! It’s also probably the reason for my chronic mononucleosis.

I was looking back through some old photographs and you know what? Not all of the men were that good-looking. Those were probably the safe ones. It is a scientifically proven fact that handsome men carry diseases and ugly men make good husbands. Okay maybe it’s not scientifically proven but don’t burst my bubble. To have caught mono from an ugly dude might be more than my fragile psyche can stand.

On a more serious note I suppose I did make a resolution in 2012 when I decided to become an independent author. I just didn’t think of it in terms as a ‘resolution’ at the time. I opened an official website, started blogging, face booking and tweeting. Not really into the tweeting but by golly I have a twitter account.

I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to make a 2013 resolution in regards to photography. I would like to become more adept at taking decent great pictures but I’m not sure how it is going to work out. Would you believe this morning I caught my Nikon snapping at the keyboard and strangling the mouse? Yeah, that that sounds crazy but it really happened! I think my resolution will be to make them best friends.

Things fight when you're not looking.

Things fight when you’re not looking. I resolve to make them allies.

Pursuing Characters – Self Analysis 101

Pursuing characters under the guise of vacation? Maybe yes.

In case I haven’t already said it 1001 times I recently returned from a coastal vacation traversing the southern end of the Gulf of Mexico USA. I say it’s the western end and Honey my husband usually corrects me. It was our Spring break – just me and the husband because the children are all [WAY] grown.      It was a celebration for me after finishing the latest book Unjustified Favor and definitely a needed break for him. He still has a real job where he has to punch a time clock and deal with irrational people expecting miracles. I’m constantly amazed at how freaking genius he is  and no that is not sarcasm. Sometimes he’s an asshole – that isn’t sarcasm either. He’s a tool and die maker. Well I think his title is something like plant engineer/CNC programmer now because the hands on making of tools and dies is a dead dying art. Anywho I didn’t know the trade required such intelligence until our youngest daughter was taking physics in college and he loaned her one of his antique text books.

Okay, I just digressed so far I forgot the reason for this post…

Oh! Self analysis and we were traversing the Gulf of Mexico. For those who haven’t read Between the Rage and Grace or Behind the Rage the setting is southern with the characters hailing from Mississippi to Texas. The third book in this series (due to release this month) has them settled into the south/southwest Texas regions. So we were soaking up the sunshine, enjoying our drinks and marveling at the sky when it occurred to me… I was constantly looking for Linda, wanting to check in on poor Clara, worried someone might find Maggie and thought I saw Levi and Mary in a heated discussion on the beach. Upon closer examination I realized it wasn’t them. I’m gonna post a picture of that delusion. And once I thought I saw the nasty ghost of XXXX but it was just an old drunk passed out beneath a palm tree, whew!

So, I know the characters were born of experience but Freud might go so far as to say I am delusional or that I have such a deep attachment  that I went in search of these fictional characters. Is that true? Maybe yes, but Freud was a coke-head.

Strangers on the Beach by Janna Hill