Back to the Future Fiction

I just don’t know.

This retire-from-the-daily-grind-of-earning-a-living thing and spend more time writing just isn’t working out as I envisioned.

I’m busier now than when I worked for a living. Grandkids living a few minutes away and visiting at least weekly. Volunteering at the food bank. Gardening. Photography. Helping keep up the house and at the same time staying out of the way. Reading.

Where’s all the writing time?

Actually, I AM writing, but as I learned with HOTEL CONSTELLATION, my Viet-Nam era memoir, there’s writing and doing all the other things a writer does.

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My book project filing system isn’t pretty, but it works for me.

So here’s the status update:

  • HOTEL CONSTELLATION: Notes from America’s Secret War in Laos — My college alumni association commissioned an article for its magazine, and I had a lovely chat with the young writer assigned to it. Not certain when it will be out. Will be attending a reunion of NGO Viet-Nam volunteers in the fall and am scheduled to appear on the “memoirs” panel.
  • The Mark of the Spider: A Black Orchid Chronicle — Been working on this forever and a day. My writers group assessed the ending last night and found it in need of another rewrite. I still expect to finish it in time to publish in early fall, certainly in time for the holiday book buying season. Worked the last several days on the publication plan and pitch materials; I’ll finish that this week and move back to the rewrite next week. I’ll have a lot more on this in the coming weeks.
  • Flight of the Spider: A Black Orchid Chronicle — I’ve been champing at the bit for months now to get to book two in the Black Orchid series.
  • She Asked for Green Salad — I jot notes from time to time for this family memoir, and it has its own three-ring binder (see photo above) so I must be serious about it.
  • Untitled Short Stories — I’ve got a short piece about a hospital messenger with too many corpses on his hands, but I need to work on the ending. I have another storty about an alien encounter in an elevator, but this, too, deserves a better ending.

And that is the end of this update. (See. I have real trouble with endings. Separation anxiety? I don’t know.)

 

 

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Self-Pub: Still Bewildered

With the publication of my Viet Nam memoir two weeks ago, I have learned a huge amount about self-publishing.

For instance, I learned how to get it formatted properly and loaded onto more than a half-dozen book sale platforms – Amazon| AppleBarnes & Noble | Kobo | ScribdSmashwords – being the most popular.

After several tries, I managed to set up sales of paperback copies on Amazon. (Granted, I don’t understand why people who ordered it on launch day got their copies in two days, while my bulk order placed five days before launch took almost two weeks to arrive.)

Now Amazon has thrown me for a loop again. Take a look at this screen shot and see if you can identify my quandary:

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Yep, there it is. Right under the paperback box. (Absolutely not legible on your smart phone.)

Three “used” copies of Hotel Constellation are for sale already. (Thank you for buying, whoever you are. Fast readers. Or non-readers. Thank you anyway.)

But wait. The used copies cost more, in one case really a LOT more, than a new copy.

As an old newspaper business editor, I confess I don’t understand these economics.

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Really, californiabooks, you expect to sell it used (but like new) for twice the cost of a new copy? (And the new copy comes with a FREE version of the ebook.)

Anyone with insights should contact this old dog, because he still wants to learn new tricks. (And if you’ve read it, please rate it on Amazon or Goodreads. Tnx.)

 

Self-Pub Aftermath 4: Marketing Works, Sometimes

After writing the book and getting it produced, the mantra for authors probably must be, “Reach out. Reach out. Reach ommmmm.”

Because of my experience with HOTEL CONSTELLATION: Notes from America’s Secret War in Laos, I am well used to rejection, or more frequently, to being ignored.

But sometimes, apparently, reaching out works, and people reach back.

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I queried the alumni folks at my alma mater, Antioch College, figuring that a story about one of their student’s year-abroad experience might be of interest. Last night, they contacted me and asked if I would be interested in talking with one of their writers. (Would I!)

To give them a leg up, I sent them links to the short QnAs I’ve done on Goodreads and Smashwords.

Lessons learned:

  • Slip a marketing message in wherever you can. (See previous paragraph.)
  • Sometimes it works. (Join the ORRRR Club. Order it. Read it. Rate it. Review it. Recommend it.)
  • Rinse and repeat.