June 2015

Research! Exhausting and exhilarating…

June 26, 2015 // 2 Comments

Damn I’m doing a lot of research for a werewolf book. Civil War regiments and battles, underclass Manhattan after the war, wolves and their behavior, rent control in modern New York, landlord scams, the art of butchering meat, Abolitionist churches of Brooklyn… Well, it won’t be your usual werewolf book, that’s for sure. I love research. I love the directions it takes the story. It can be so frustrating, when you’re going for realism – you have all these ideas that dead-end into the wall of history. Then, all of a sudden, the wall opens up, and it’s like the motherfuckin’ Yellow Brick Road. This morning, I was battering myself trying to find a viable Civil War backstory for Albeus, aka Elvis Finley. This battle, or that battle, which would give him the opportunity for foolhardy bravery which would get him his brevet captaincy, in which year, under which commander, how long before he’d lose said captaincy, and why… TIL that [MORE]

At 33k and it’s BACKSTORY TIME!

June 25, 2015 // 0 Comments

Yep, just about to start on Albeus’ origin story. I’ve mined lots of detail on 1866 New York from Luc Sante’s “Low Life,” where Albeus hits bottom after the Civil War. For his pre-war life in Brooklyn, I have a book called “Brooklyn and the Civil War” coming today – Henry Ward Beecher and the Abolitionists, Walt Whitman, the Navy Yard…yikes, I could go down a black hole.  But, I’ve learned that even backstory needs a brisk pace, and I’ll use only the relevant details.  So, here’s the “prebackstory” scene, where the cover photo is justified and explained… “Wait a minute.  You fought in France?  When?” “The second world war.” “You’re…how old are you?” The King had to think.  “Now?  I’m…175 years old.” “Get out.” Finally Albeus smiled, his aura flickering as if the flame had received a whiff of oxygen.  “I know.”  He got up and picked up a framed picture from [MORE]

A-WHOO! “Werewolves of Brooklyn” at 31k words! Sorry, Jeff, I mean 124 pages!

June 24, 2015 // 7 Comments

And this is the cover.  I know, I know, should be three wolf moon blah blah. But THIS IS THE COVER for this story. It just is. So Let It Be Written, So Let It Be Done. I am loving this story. The percenters will hate it because we’re more than halfway through and the MCs aren’t sexin’ yet. Maybe I’m changing – it just made sense for Marc and Jesse, too, the delay. Maybe buildup is more exciting to me now than just mashing MCs together like a pre-adolescent boy with his sister’s Ken and Barbie, makin’ em kiss moosh moosh moosh. This story is about an awakening.  Transformation isn’t something that happens overnight.  Que sera sera, saleswise, but I know #TeamVance will love it. And yes…it starts out hard and fast, in accordance with Lord Commander Bezos’ new orders.  Gotta keep those pages turnin’…  See for yourself 🙂 CHAPTER ONE – THE LANDSCAPE OF FEAR In a strange moment between pulses of terror, [MORE]

Pushing 30k “Werewords”!

June 22, 2015 // 0 Comments

Yeah, it’s flowing. It’s probably commercial suicide as a paranormal romance cover, but…I LOVE this cover. I’m 97.984% sure this is the one. I really love this story – I hope this *stand alone novel* flies so I can write *sequels.* (I’ll never again put out a book 1 in a “series,” just to watch it die…) There are four other members of the court besides King Albeus, so each of them (and their histories) could be expanded in subsequent  *stand alone novels.*  I need to make sure I get their origin stories lined up now, though – I had one of the court members coming to the Society as a refugee from the flyover states.  No, I don’t wanna do that because that would mess up his future backstory. I want to put all their origin stories in New York so I can mine the history of the city at different times…if the first one flies, of course. I’m sitting on Marc and Jesse’s next story, just letting that [MORE]

27K words on “Werewolves of Brooklyn”! And a potential new cover…

June 21, 2015 // 7 Comments

So…what do you think?  Door #1 or Door #2?  The font on the left, Casablanca, looks more “period,” and I’m leaning towards it instead of the right, in Opera font.  I know, it’s probably suicide to deviate from the usual Werewolf Paranormal Romance Cover style.  And I may retract my decision and go back to my original cover.  But there’s something for standing out from the crowd, right?  Especially since, being a Vancedelay Industries production, it’s not the usual werefare… But I love this guy, a nameless Civil War soldier from Westfield, New York, who I found online by Googling “Handsome Civil War Soldiers.”  Google Image Search reveals that someone bought this picture off Ebay in 2012 for $120, according to antiquesnavigator.com, but I can’t track the listing from their link. I’d totally buy it off someone’s hands, if I could track the buyer. For me, this is King Albeus, 150 years ago.  This [MORE]

The Hits Keep On Comin’…Amazon makes ANOTHER change (customer reviews)

June 20, 2015 // 5 Comments

Another Bezosteroid has landed!  Well, I don’t care. I really don’t. I lost a whole week of productivity to Amazon’s bullshit. I finally got nearly 3000 werewords this morning, so I just can’t lose focus AGAIN. And TBH I don’t think this will hurt me. But, yeah, as if one massive change wasn’t enough, hey! Here’s another one a week later! Enhancement to Amazon Customer Reviews June 19, 2015 3:06 PM Starting today, Amazon is enhancing the customer reviews system, adding a few changes we hope will help make product feedback even more useful to customers. The enhanced system will use a machine-learned model to give more weight to newer, more helpful reviews from Amazon customers. [We probably licensed IBM’s Watson technology, or, more likely we’ve been toiling in secret on our own version to compete with it, which we’re now going to try out on you hapless authors.] The system will continue to learn which reviews are most [MORE]

OK I Lied, more on Select/KU…Why we DON’T want more than a penny a page…

June 19, 2015 // 4 Comments

I know, I know.  But I can’t stop thinking about it.  It is my livelihood after all.  Warning: I failed Algebra in HS and never took any more math, so this may all be BS, but I think I have a handle on the economics… If Amazon were to pay us *more* than a penny a page?  It could be the worst thing that ever happened.  Think about it.  Let’s say the rate is revealed on August 15 to be 2 cents a page for July.  You’ve got a 300 page book.  Suddenly, you’re getting $3-4 a borrow, let’s say, averaging out finishes with Did Not Finishes.  More than you’re getting for a sale at a $3.99 list price!  So what happens then? It’s a gold rush! Everyone races to get into, or back into, KU with their novels to take advantage.  Then what? Well…either the boat gets swamped because it’s overloaded with more titles splitting the pot, and the per page rate tumbles, or… Amazon keeps the rate high, adding more money into the pot [MORE]

The LAST WORD on the Selectornado Unlimitastrophe for a while…

June 18, 2015 // 0 Comments

Back to work this morning on actual writing of actual words…I lost the last three days to all this Kindlefuckery, reading about it, talking strategy, creating a plan, revising a plan when Amazon revised the plan with the opt-out…sigh.  It’s all educated or semi-educated guesswork right now.  I’m glad to be back in Brooklyn with my werewolves, and back in the basement with Sam (for audio recording, that is…). I wish I wasn’t such a concise writer.  Mr. Less is More, that’s me.  But it’s the Alexandre Dumas of the world who stand to reap the borrowhirlwind now.  Why was The Count of Monte Cristo so very long, weighing in at about 465,000 words?  Why, because Dumas was paid by the word.  What is this you say?  By the word?  Yes, by the word.  Are you sure?  I stake my life on it. What is that in Amazon pages?  Under the current system? If that’s all you can tell me then, yes, tell me.  Under the current system, [MORE]

MORE Kindle news – SELECT OPT OUT AVAILABLE FOR THE FIRST 90 DAYS!

June 17, 2015 // 6 Comments

That’s right. From Selena Kitt’s website re her convo with her Amazon rep. “For the first 90 days, everyone enrolled in KU will be able to opt out AT ANY TIME. You are NOT TIED TO THE 90 DAY PERIOD…This will apply for at least the first 90 day period of the new system…S0, authors, if you’re thinking of jumping ship, Amazon wants you to stay…Clearly, they’re trying to prevent a mass exodus here. That, of course, will depend on how much a “page” ends up being worth. And we’ll have to wait until mid-August to find that out…” Read the whole thing here, with more interesting info: http://selenakitt.com/blog/the-new-kindle-unlimited-what-it-means-for-authors-readers/ You can’t just “click out” via your Bookshelf, though, according to the Amazon help page on the New Regime. “You can enroll in KDP Select at any time by visiting your Bookshelf. If you no longer want your book(s) to be included in KDP Select you may [MORE]

Nimble! Agile! Total Quality Excellence in Challenging Challenges! Here’s the Biz Plan going forward…

June 17, 2015 // 4 Comments

OK so I’ve run the numbers on all my titles, and made the decision on which stories stay in Select and which do not.  Fortunately, I went “all in” on most stories on January 1 or so, which means my 90 day renewal on most of them is…July 2, just as Amazon’s new reimbursement program starts!  Huzzah for the shopkeeper, as he’s just in time to take some things off the shelf before they rot on it. So you’ll need to blow this up but here it is, and I’ll run through my thinking below. So these are all my titles, plus Adam Vance’s only story so far.  I start with the page count Amazon’s giving me now for each title.  I subtract 16 pages for “back matter,” the links to all other titles, to get a firm number of “readable” pages. From there, I’m using a number that My Guru gave me as a reliable bottom PPP (which I hereby copyright and TM Colbert-style), or Payment Per Page.  This x Readable Pages = [MORE]