March 2016

Why “A Little Life” is NOT a Gay Novel

March 30, 2016 // 15 Comments

So did anybody notice that Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, last year’s literary sensation and finalist for the Everything Prize for Best Most Notable Book, is primarily…a book about an M/M relationship, by a woman, that features a “gay for you” storyline! I know I’m late to the party here, but I didn’t pick up the book until it came out in paperback. There was a strong negative customer review on Amazon that really put me off it. But when I saw it for $10 at Costco, I bought it thanks to one of the most misleading reviews ever, quoted in the front of the book. There are a lot of spoilers in this post, so if you intend to read the book, you might want to check outta here. But I can’t really address what I loved, and ardently disliked, about this book without them. And really, my bone to pick is really more with gay novelist Garth Greenwell’s assertion in said review in The Atlantic that this is “the most ambitious chronicle of the social and emotional lives of gay [MORE]

News flash: A Plagiarist is a “Kindle All-Star”

March 29, 2016 // 7 Comments

So here’s a depressing story. “Novelist” Joanne Clancy made enough syntactical changes to several out of print novels by Ingrid Black to pass them off as her own. As always, it was only because a keen-eyed reader called out Clancy as a plagiarist that it came to light. As Eilish O’Hanlon (one half of the duo who wrote as Ingrid Black) dug around, she discovered this: There was one burning question: Who was Joanne Clancy? All we knew about her is that she claimed to be from Cork, and had published 26 works in various genres from erotica to romance to crime, many featuring a recurring character who went by the name of Detective George Ellis. Traceless . . . Killing Time . . . If You Tell Anyone . . . Open Your Eyes . . . Before I’m Gone – her production rate was almost industrial. She was also a former Kindle All-Star, an accolade given to authors whose titles are among the 100 most downloaded in any month, and a quarter-finalist in the Amazon [MORE]

“A Little Too Broken” .99 SALE! And other news!

March 27, 2016 // 0 Comments

I’ve worked the BookBub corner about as thoroughly as I can with my past releases, and they’ve had no interest in the Marc and Jesse books. So I’m trying Bookcaliber, and a .99 deal on ALTB. It’s about the same price, and of course I’ll let you know how it stacks up to BookBub! I’m so done with promotion I can’t even. I know that “yelling is selling,” and every day I’m not spamming Facebook with how I’m “SO EXCITED” about any piece of good news whatsoever is a day I’m making $0 on books. But I just can’t. I’m so sick of it! If ever there is a moment I can forget all my life lessons from tradpub, and throw myself at a publisher’s feet and shout “Calgon, Take Me Away!” it’s promo time. What I really want when I finish a novel is to step back, step away, fucking rest. But I can’t afford to! As soon as a novel is ready I have to run run go sell sell now. Some [MORE]

“Colum’s Viking Captivity V: Breaker of Icons” in production!

March 23, 2016 // 2 Comments

Yeah, I’ll have a “release” in April, albeit just a short erotica story. But this is what I need right now, a 15k project with no heavy emotional shit. Colum and Viggo end up in Byzantium circa 811, and get caught up in court intrigue, shifting alliances, and religious nutjobbery. The Emperor in power is Nicephorus, who conveniently for Our Hero refused to recognize Charlemagne as western Emperor… and since Colum, “The Pagan Redeemer,” is Charlemagne’s mortal enemy, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend, Nicephorus has uses for Colum, and for Viggo and his Vikings and their fighting skills. Fun fun fun! I’m going to price this at $2.99 because fuck it. The only people buying #5 in a series are people who truly love 1-4, right? And it’s NOT going in Kindle Unlimited. 1-4 are in bondage to KU through the end of May, so there’s nothing I can do about that. But it’s definitely time to look beyond this rotten, broken [MORE]

Vikings, Werewolves, Marc and Jesse…and yes! Audiobooks at last!

March 21, 2016 // 6 Comments

So, the last week has been about getting my head around, as they say in AA, “things I can change and things I can’t.” I’m “in recovery” now from a way of thinking about writing and publishing that wasn’t working for me. I can’t write a best selling book in this genre – fine. I have a hard core of enthusiastic fans who love what I do, and whose taste is catholic enough to follow me from Vikings to Werewolves to Cyberthrillers to Athletes to Rockstars and There and Back Again. If I make $800 in a bad month, well shit fuckity, I’m still in the top tier of writers in America who can make any $ on their books. Without at least one bestseller a year, I can’t make a living on writing alone – fine. I have my editorial business, which I really enjoy. My real goal was, and I never saw it, to be an independent creative; I just thought writing books was the only way I’d ever do that. And I finally have audiobooks in [MORE]

Amazon’s Ministry of Truth, or, Why I’m writing “for pleasure” now…

March 15, 2016 // 6 Comments

JA Huss commented on Selena Kitt’s blog post about “Scamazongate,” and quoted her Amazon rep’s reply: “Much of this article is pure speculation, rumor, and fear triggered by a misinterpretation of a recent forum update.” Only problem? Selena’s post was up *long before* Amazon’s KDP Help page post. And guess what? Books like this one, a screen shot of which I posted yesterday, are still up and running. Yeah, they dumped the screaming links to the TOC at the end, but…that “Win a Kindle Fire” link is still operational. Just click on it in the Look Inside preview and sure enough, it takes you to the end of the available content. This “Alien Romance” can be read in its entirety in the preview – after which, “It’s of our great pleasure [sic] to present to you the following 20 self help bonus content [sic].” So it’s a fair guess that English is not the author’s first [MORE]

With “Digital Doping,” Amazon’s the FIFA of selfpub, and what only YOU can do!

March 14, 2016 // 5 Comments

Update: Amazon replies here: https://kdp.amazon.com/community/ann.jspa?annID=991 Allegedly these books won’t have their pages counted towards the pot… Selena Kitt said it best on this blog post. If you’re just coming in to this conversation, it turns out that upwards of 10% of Kindle Unlimited $ have gone to scammers who’ve gamed the “pages read” system with links to end matter like “Win A Kindle!” which has automatically counted ALL pages in their title as “read.” And the worst of it is, her Amazon rep reassured her at the advent of 2.0 that only actual pages read would be counted. Never mind the $25,000 “All Star” bonuses that have gone to these same scammers… Since at least December, the lion’s share of pages read are going to these “digital dopers,” their titles swollen on Performance Enhancing Deviousness, keeping them one step ahead of the system and pushing the per page payment [MORE]

Not making $ in KU 2.0? Pub a 3000 page book with a “Prize” at the end!

March 12, 2016 // 5 Comments

Seriously. The reason the rest of us are making $.0041 a page is because scammers have figured out how to get 3000 pages read with one click. Someone’s even posted instructions on how to do it, which I won’t link to because fuck them. Take a look at this title (may be unpubbed soon, as this author appears to be under suspicion at the ‘zon already): http://www.amazon.com/WESTERN-ROMANCE-Untamed-Western-Romance-ebook/dp/B01CT21FQE/ I no longer sub to KU, but…this is in the Look Inside for this book, and I’m told the “win a Kindle Fire” link pushes KU readers to the end of the book, and (though an Amazon rep assured a writer I know that only pages actually read would count) guess what? $12.30 per borrow. Amazon recently took action to reject books with a TOC at the end, but this “Click Here to Win a Kindle Fire” thing is still working for the scammers. The “new improved” maximum page count of 3000 pages? Didn’t do [MORE]

Golden Cities, Golden Towns: A San Francisco Memoir

March 9, 2016 // 6 Comments

Solvency is a magic potion. I’m already feeling more relaxed and creative, ready to do things that (gasp!) may not make money – like write this post. This article in the New York Times got me thinking about my own time in San Francisco, from 1987-99. It’s funny. Back then, I would read a book about artists in New York in the Fifties, and pine for a bygone time of creative energy, cheap rents, easy living on small incomes, never realizing I was in exactly such a time and place myself…a place that’s been swept away as completely as it was in New York. The greatest tragedy of the new San Francisco, where a one bedroom apartment is now $3,500 a month, is that it has shut the door on “internal exiles” like me. Once upon a time, there was a magic kingdom, to which we could escape from our dreary, oppressive lives in Redneckistan. Not just “the gays” but the Freaks and Geeks of the world, who were just as doomed to lives of condemnation, ridicule…or worse, where they came [MORE]

The Tipping Point! Brad Vance Editorial Services is SOLVENT!

March 8, 2016 // 2 Comments

Yeah, I’m making enough money in March between Brad Vance Editorial Services and my book sales to cover my bills! For the first month in a long time, I’m no longer in negative cash flow territory – well, sort of. I still need to buy food and gas and $20-a-bag Blue cat food on credit, but rent, power, phone etc. are covered. And that’s despite the small $ I’ll get at the end of the month from Amazon, for my really terrible sales in January. So, if I can bring in as much work in April (hell, even half as much, since I actually sold some books in February), I’ll be turning the tide into positive territory. I know that editing income is almost as unpredictable as writing income…but the key word there is almost. At the beginning of the month, I can look at X number of editing projects I have lined up, and know I’m going to get Y $. Whereas I have no clue how many books I’ll sell this month or, even worse, how much Amazon [MORE]