Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Coming to grips with becoming a Bestselling Author

Words: 5918
Time: 1:30 - Midnight (2 hrs break)
Mood: Good
Impression: It's all blending together for me

Belated Merry Christmas everyone. I was very lucky to have a great Christmas. And the thing that started me off in a great way was that I found out on Christmas day that my book Everybody Masturbates had become a category bestseller on Amazon. In the Sexuality section, my book had made it to # 5 on the list. I can't even tell you how good that felt?

You know it's amazing. A few months ago I was in the depth of despair. My world wasn't even making sense to me. Where as I had the feeling that I was a good writer that wrote about interesting things, no one was buying my books. I had always believed that if people knew about my books they would buy them but I couldn't figure out how to tell people. Now, a few months later, my life is what I always imagined it to be.

Ya know it's funny, if you look at my list of books on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, you will see a hell of a lot of 5 star reviews. That's pretty awesome. And if you were to see my erotic books you would see a lot of bestsellers. Until Christmas day, I hadn't been able to get good reviews on a bestseller, but finally I've broken through. Yay!

It's actually kind of funny to see how many bad reviews I get on my erotic titles. In the beginning it really bothered me, and then I realized that they don't really hurt sales that much. But I'm glad to say that sometimes even when my book gets bad reviews, the reviewer gives the author praise. It's true that not everyone can like everything, but I had 2 star review on a book say that the book turned them off more than on. But within the next two sentences the reviewer said that I was a skilled author because I perfectly painted everything into the readers mind. It just so happened that they didn't like what I painted.

Well, that's not complete true. They said the book would be great if it were a tragic romance, but she just didn't care for it as erotica. But of course on the same book I've gotten two 4 star reviews calling the book excellent and a 5 star review calling it outstanding. Erotica, even more so than other books, are about personal preference in terms of... well, in every way. And I've never read another erotic book, so I'm not sure, but I get the impression that my style is kind of unique.

On another topic, approaching pretty quickly is my 3 week vacation. I just have to finish at least 30 erotica stories and I'm good to go. But I have to say that the idea that my sales will decline for 3 straight weeks is kind of hard to stomach. I know I need and deserve a break. I have been working almost non-stop for a year and will have published something like 38 titles since February. There are a lot of people that would consider that worthy of a break. I would like to be one of those people but I don't know if I can be.

There are also a lot of people that would say that performing the almost impossible feat of earning a living from writing is worthy of treating yourself to a rest that will prevent you from losing your mind and your ability to keep writing. I wish I could be one of them.

I guess what I should really remember is that guy who become the first person to make it to Arctic Circle. He rested, unlike the team that left at the same time and then died on the way back. He did his march for the day and then rested. Even when he could get more done in a day, he was disciplined enough to say "enough." And if I want to be the first person to make it to the Arctic Circle, that is what I will have to do... as well as eat my dogs to stay alive, but let's focus on one thing at a time. Maybe I should take this 2 weeks thing off seriously. Maybe I shouldn't even write my non-fiction book during that time. Hmmm... I have to seriously think about this.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dating as a international author: Step 1

Words: 5,600
Time: 1:30 pm - 1:30am (3 hrs of breaks)
Mood: Good
Impression: Ummm... does it matter? Good I guess

It's been a while since I've blogged. I'm doing it today as penance. I was supposed to finish my story today but lost steam. I probably have a 800 words left, but it's the hardest 800 words and I think I'll leave it for tomorrow.

I will resist the urge to beat myself up about it. It just means that now I have to work through Christmas. Tiny Tim will just have to do without their father for Christmas. But hey, I already wasted a bunch of time by being sick for almost a week and trying to get my books translated into German and Spanish as well as getting my books onto an Indian Amazon styled website. (It seems that my book 'Everybody Masturbates' is already on the site. So, I guess that makes me an international writer. :-) )

I have to say that either the euphoria of being a full time writer is wearing off or since the fact that I've only gone out into the sun twice in about 3 weeks, I might be running low on my stock of vitamin D. I don't think that I mentioned here that I was deficient for years without knowing it leading to what was a pretty miserable life most of the time. But once I got on it, everything became brighter.

I think I was over doing it for too long and my body was having a strange reaction that I couldn't explain. But then after I got off of it for a few weeks it went away. It could just be coincidence but probably not. But my spark is starting to dim a little so now, I'm back on the buggers. It is going to take a few weeks before I get back to my sparky normal.

I am glad to say that I have cut back on the amount of work that I've been doing since December. I no longer work 15 hours a day 6 to 7 days a week. I now work between 10 & 12 hours 7 days a week. It isn't quite as harsh but I'm still definitely wearing down. Tonight for example. I couldn't write a simple 6,500 word story in one sitting. I did it with my last story, but I just couldn't today.

And because I haven't only published 3 stories so far this month, my sales haven't risen as they could have. They're up, but only by $10 a day instead of the $20 that I had hoped. Also, I was hoping to have 30 books done by the end of this month but I will be lucky if I have 27. Remember 30 is the magic number. After that everything turns into candy canes and rainbows. It's magical! But I guess I will have to complete it some time in January. My plan was to take 3 weeks off starting on Dec 20th. But if I can't get my work done, I can't play outside with the other kids.

I have instead decided that I will take my break after I've completed my 30th book. After that I will take 3 weeks off. During that time I think I'll write another book called: '10 things that every kid should know before 18... and how to teach them.'

It will be a book about what I truly believe every kid should know before they turn 18. And not cutsie things. Real things that help to make an adult's life better and easier. These are things that schools don't think to teach and most parents don't know so that can't teach it. It is sort of my penance for wasting my skills earning a living writing erotica. I have a lot of penances to pay off. Wow, I must really be a horrible person.

I think after that book, I'm back to work on my erotic short stories. After I write another 30 I will allow myself another break. During that break, I will start making serious plans for writing my YA books. It is starting to come together in my head. These are my legacy books. I'm never sure how much time I have left in my life. But these are the books that I will leave behind and say, look, this is what I did with my life. Judge me on it.

I have noticed a sad thing though. With my current stories, every time I wrote a story that I was sure was going to do well, it did really poorly. So I have to write something that might do well, but that I am not sure will do well. It's too bad that what I consider my best stuff, everyone else feels blah about. But hey, all of the stuff I thought was OK at best is earning me a living. Since I rarely love anything I write, it bodes well for me to continue making a living.

I guess I should probably also mention something that's happening in my personal life. Well, I made a promise to a friend of mine that now that my financial woes are lifting I will start dating. What I promised her was that the next time I went out to a group thing with strangers, I was going to ask someone out for coffee. I was actually at something a few weeks ago that had a ton of beautiful women at it, but it wasn't the right place for scoping.

But soon everything will be right and I will again have a dating life. Do you like the way I said that as if I ever had a dating life? I dated more as a 22 year old than I ever did in my 30's. I'm not sure why that is. I guess beautiful women stopped expressing an interest in me. Oh course, I meet less black women now. That might have had something to do with my ease of dating back then. Hmmm... something to think about.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How I sold 1,000 books this month; and Fixing Cupid giveaway numbers

Words: 4,224
Time: 3pm - Midnight
Mood: Good
Impression: It pretty good

So it seems that I was pretty much a slacker this month. I spent the first 10 days of this month focused on Run From the Reaper, Fixing Cupid and Samurai Zombie Hunter, and I only wrote 6 shorts this month. But the last 4 days I have been working on one story. I remember writing 2 stories in one day. This month 4 days for one story. Slacker!

On a positive note, since the last time I blogged Fixing Cupid became the most downloaded humor book on Amazon on Black Friday. That was nice. After that I contacted a couple of agents and today the first got back to me. It is actually one who has requested material from me before. He specializes in turning books into movies. We'll see how it goes.

On another positive note I sold over 1000 erotic books this month. Yep, over one thousand. I did give away 16,000 copies of Fixing Cupid in less than a week but we won't focus on that. 1,000 is a lot, right? Sure it is.

My goal for next month is to sell 1,400 books. They could be erotic or not. I don't care. To that end I am going to try and write 7 books in December. Theoretically I can do it. I wrote 10 in October. But I have to say that the ideas aren't coming quite as quickly anymore. Certainly my last few books have been slow going because each have been in new franchises.

What I do is I come up with subject matter that sells. Let's say for example that there's a big market for stories about guys that dress up in plush anime costumes designed to look like sticks of dynamite. I would call the franchise something like Anime's Big Bang. I would then write 4 stories around the same subject and then package them as a bundle making them 5 separate salable titles.

That has been working very well for me because once someone buys and likes one, they will more than likely buy the other 3. But the trick is creating that first title. A lot of thought has to go into that first book to make sure that the most important aspect of it can be mirrored into 3 other books. And coming up with that can wear a guy out mentally. My last 3 books were the first books in three different franchises. Tiring.

One of those 3 has been a great success. The other 2 are slow. I'm going to write at least one more book in each of the 3 franchises. One I will definitely write the 4 books to complete the bundle. For the other bundle I will have to wait and see which one sells best between the two. One has been selling slowly but has been doing OK. The other one might just need some time to grow. We will have to see.

My goal for December is also to get all of my writing done by the 20th and then take the next 3 weeks off. I will have 31 titles if I stay on course and 30 is always thought of as being the magic number for sales. If I sell 1,400 copies that will be magic enough for me. But we will see. 31 copies would also mean that I have 5 bundles. And personally think that just seems very cool. So that will be the goal.

Oh, also I got another good review for Fixing Cupid today on Amazon. It's title was 'Hilarious, Dry Wit.' It was pretty complimentary.