Thursday, 26 January 2017

Tools to Boost Book Sales and Other Stories

Continuing my streak of no new work, I've been utilizing my time in catching up.
I've read some of those PDFs I downloaded in order to improve my writing and/or marketing and/or understand the industry a bit better.
Also catching up on walking dead - I'm sorry but Negan is super hot.
Yeah yeah, he kills people with a bat and scares small children.
It's fiction people. Make believe. The purpose of stories is to go where you can't in real life.
Some of those people having the vapors over Lucille will sit back and watch real life people being shot by police and not be the least moved.
It's whatever man. The cognitive dissonance is real.
Anyway so in addition to reading up on improving my craft, I've been reviving old projects, continuing with my own writing and working on myself. Also waiting for the anxiety over no-new-work to take over me. So far so good though.
Among the many things I've learned in the last week or so is that I've been negligent. Negligent in my writing and my marketing...I have tools at my fingertips that I don't use because hubris. My confidence in my own abilities is stopping me from improving said abilities and product because in my head, it's good enough as it is. I don't need to put in more work.
But everyone has to put in some work right?
Case in point, Between Death and Heaven.
Great book.
My editor called it a masterpiece. I wouldn't go that far but I'm proud of it.
But the market is ignoring it.
This is a question that only occurred to me recently. Like two days ago. I just figured that 'it's people' would find it when they were ready.
I am such a hippie.
Once I thought about it though, once I asked myself why well, the next step was research. I played around with a few new covers, and asked some of my family and friends what they thought. Would you like to see the covers?
Why not?

They all said without exception that the second one was the winner.
I must admit, I like it better too.
What about you?
However, the name...not so much. One person said that it sounded like an exposition. Another said that the 'n had to go, and maybe if I was choosing a new name I should steer away from religious overtones altogether.
So it's back to the drawing board on the title.
What methods do you use to choose titles? In my studies, I came across a website called pickfu where you can get instant feedback on book titles and covers. I aim to utilize it...just gotta get this work thing fixed first.
I tried a title generator, even kept some names...wanna hear them?
The Hansel and the Ninja
The Immortal Spirits
The Mortal Quest
The Day of the Hunt
What do you think of them?

After dealing with cover and title issues, you have to think about key words. Now before, when I was filled to the brim with hubris, the phrase key words just used to make me shut down and turn away. Don't even get me started on SEO. They were just a means to drive me crace.
Well, not anymore. One of my PDFs explained to me slowly and patiently how kindle uses key words to increase or decrease the visibility of your book and what you can do about it.
Ever wondered why your first three months of sales are much higher than subsequent months? years? It's because that's the only time Amazon key words are useful. In order to keep your books as highly searchable as possible, you need to pay attention to SEO key words which are harvested by Google. That means when you're giving those seven key words that Amazon asks for, don't go just for Amazon key words, but find out what people look for when they're looking for a book in your genre and tag accordingly. It'd probably be better if you just read it for yourself. I'm not the best explainer.
Let me close this post with some upbeat news. I sent Cinderella by Any Other Name to a publisher (on request) to read through and give me their opinion. They said that they very much enjoyed the book and if I ever finish it, they would be interested in publishing. Isn't that nice?
Me: Maybe my hubris isn't totally misplaced?
Also me: It is.
Seriously what do you think of the covers and the titles? Hit me up in the comments.

Sunday, 22 January 2017


Did you march?
I didn't but I did in spirit. Used up all my data following the march online and retweeting everything. There was actually a march here but I didn't know about it. If I did I would have dragged my sorry ass out the house to go join.
Why do I care about the orange Mussolini being president you ask?

He wasn't even serious about running! He has no plan, no policy, nothing! I mean doesn't that just offend you? That he won against someone who has been preparing for this since she was like, three...and he walks in and say, "Oh just a great...a great plan."
And he wins?
Doesn't it just offend your sensibilities? Your sense of right and wrong?
But that's not why I would have marched. I march because I care.

I care about the possibility of a Muslim registry.
I care about neonazis strutting about acting like they inherited the kingdom. Did you see that guy on Instagram? Some yahoo who is a TV personality apparently talking about how Washington 2.0 has the nuclear codes now and they're turning the clocks back to 1776...
I mean...
Don't get me wrong. I wasn't worried or scared.

I was more sad for his sorry ass. You could see in his eyes what an insecure little man he was and now he thinks he has a little bit of power. He thinks he's an overseer now and all the colored folks are just going to go quietly back to the plantations and allow him to whip them.
The delusion.
He must have not heard what happened to Richard Spencer.
Did you hear what happened to Richard Spencer, poster boy of white supremacists and neo nazis everywhere?
Well he was explaining to some camera guy about how he's really not a white supremacist or neonazi when some guy just came out of nowhere and socked him.
It was kind of beautiful. (we don't condone violence kids!)

The huge thing about these marches is the refusal of people around the world to just sit back and allow the rights of others to be trampled.
There's another aspect of this that came up on my twitter timeline. Black women giving white women the EXTREME side eye because let's face it, A LOT of white women voted for the Nacho Nazi. A majority in fact. So the question arose; where are all these people coming from? Where were they on voting day? Surely if they were all there, there's no way Cheeto Satan could have won.
Now you have solidarity?
The trust is definitely broken.
But today is a day of new beginnings. Mistakes of the past shall be left there. What matters is what happens going forward.
We can't let Squirrelwig McRacistPants and his ilk win. We can't continue to be asleep. All pettiness must be stowed away until the Fanta Fascist threat to all humans has been dealt with.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Excerpt, Child of Destiny

Child of Destiny is the third book in the Child of Destiny Series.

It follows the story of Leo and Mya and their overly complicated lives. It follows the Swamp is Full of Mystery which is available #free on this site when you sign up for updates.
Here is an preview.

I also wrote an outtake of it, from a prompt. Find it below.

The Day of the Dead

The skies were appropriately filled with dark clouds threatening rain.
Appropriate for Toussaint’s that is...
Or maybe not.
On the one hand, rain was a symbol of blessing from the spirits, so that was a good thing.
On the other, this was a day of celebration; a day of remembrance. A day to sing, dance, and rejoice in the lives gone before.
It wasn’t meant to be gloomy and dark.
The Day of the Dead wasn’t about sadness and depression. The sun should be shining in the New Orleans sky. The shadows should recede and let the light be.
Man proposes god disposes they said.
That was the way of Gaia and who was Mya to say She was wrong?
Mya decided to make up for the weather by wearing the brightest colors in her closet. Her eyes scanned the meager offerings, falling at last on a slate grey dress…the color of his eyes.
She dismissed the thought as fast as it flashed across her mind, reaching for the dress and measuring it against her frame.
It was one of her late mother’s.
Left for so long packed away; and recently revealed to her by her grandmother. It suited her. She could see that.
What was with the universe and this color today though?
Being a witch, she wasn’t one to ignore the signs. So she put the dress on the bed before stripping and heading for the shower. Her grandma would be by for her soon; and then they would go and remember Grandpa George and her parents.
This was a special year; a decade since Grandpa George died; a significant anniversary. The anniversary at which the ghost of the deceased was expected to appear.
With prophecy.
Because Grandpa had been a powerful witch from a long line of witches and his wife, as well… his ceremony was highly anticipated and witches had come from far and wide to participate.
Mya was just a fledgling, nothing more than her presence was expected.
For her, this anniversary wasn’t about pomp and ceremony. It was about a man that she had loved, who had loved her. Whom she could confide in and who saw her.
If he came back as nothing but a silver wraith - a caricature of who her grandfather was - she didn’t know how she would take it.
But if he came back live and in Technicolor…she just might die.
Perhaps that was why it was such a grey day.

It reflected her mood perfectly. 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Stepping Back from the Rat Race

Good morning.
It's noon, and I just woke up.
Yeah I see you judging me; but you haven't asked what time I went to sleep.

So I finished my last contract a few days ago and I find myself in the unfamiliar position of having no work to do. Usually when my work diary is empty, I get jittery. I get anxious. I worry that I'll never get another gig; my fifteen minutes are over, me and my son'll end up on the street begging for scraps. 
I'm very dramatic.
But this time I was just calm.
For one thing I was exhausted AF. 
I had three stories running back to back the whole of Christmas season, plus my son finally deigned to stay home with was intense. 
So I did something different for the last week or so and just took the time off. 
I slept.
I ate.
I watched TV.
I didn't worry...
Good times.

I didn't know I needed time off until I took it.
I didn't know I was burning out until I had a few days to sleep, rest and suddenly I have new ideas churning in my head.
This one night I went to sleep at 6:30am and woke up at 8:30am because I couldn't get this idea for a graphic novel out of my head and I wanted to get online and find out exactly how to go about doing that.
I'm excited again.
I have new ideas.
I've actually started writing Cinderella By Any Other Name again. At this juncture, it just might be a 50k novel.
It's crazy.
It's like I was walking around without my glasses and then put them on and suddenly everything is in sharp focus.
Oh and of course I drank a lot of caffeine beverages.
Why should you even you care about my non-existential crisis you ask?
You shouldn't.
You should care about yours.
If any of this sounds familiar then maybe you also need to take a time out and remember who you are and what you're doing all this for.
Another great thing that happened this week is that I have an author page.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Reviewing the Week

So I woke up this morning to +Meryl Streep and her +Golden Globes Awards speech.
I legit cried.
I don't even know why I cried. Was it Kerry Washington's face as she listened? Was it the fact that Dev Patel was born in Kenya? Was it all the acceptance of everyone that one hears so rarely in her speech? Maybe it was the words; maybe she just said all the right words in the right order and it just reached into my heart and tore it out.
You judge for yourself.
Of course there were those who tried to bring their negativity with the classic "33k emails deleted!" and "Hollywood liberals!". Some of these people saying these things are said to be 'celebrities' but I don't know them *Mariah Carey voice*. I think the best thing to do with such negativity is to bury it in a slew of positivity so that they don't see the light of day.
Meryl's speech was such a breath of fresh air after a beginning of 2017 filled with lots of stupidity.
Let's see, first of all there was +Drake Aubrey Graham and +Jennifer Lopez with their Instagram-and-paparazzi relationship that they're flaunting...
I don't know what they're hoping to achieve with that but you know, good luck or whatever.
And then we have the epically idiotic battle between +Chris Brown and +Soulja Boy about....ummm. I don't actually know.
Soulja Boy has been a long time Chris Brown fan. Always wanted to be like him and shit...It was cute in a very creepy kind of way. So some time recently he tweeted that Chris wanted to beat him up for liking a Karate Kid pic on +Instagram. Of course, Chris, KNOWING it was stupid AF still responded with more vitriol and nonsense.
Bish Bam Boom, they're fighting each other. So Mr. Messy and Interfering +50 Cent saw an opportunity to make money and decided to host a boxing match the red corner...
Bhris Brown
And in the blue corner!
Soulja Boy
It's so asinine that I've been trying to ignore it. But then they dared to bring my queen into it. Apparently Karate Kid wasn't enough, they had to bring her name into the mix; probably so that more outlets would report it.
If you want to generate any kind of publicity for yourself what do you do. 
Say her name.
It's sooo. freaking. annoying. Bringing up something that happened in 2009 because it's the only way that people will watch you? Perpetuating lies about her which are so easily verifiable as untrue. I almost signed up for that fight to beat them both up. Even with Floyd Mayweather and Mike Tyson as trainers I feel confident I could take them.

Anyway, never mind me and my hero worship.
Have you read Erase and Rewind yet?
Here's a preview.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

He Said, She Said and Being Bound by the 'Rules' of Writing

So a friend and I started this group for local writers, trying to bring people together in order to benefit from the collective...we call it the literati group. The group is made up of writers and maybe some readers (I hope) and we try to develop each other's craft in various ways. So today, someone posted a story for critique and someone else mentioned how they weren't following the rules of 'he said' and 'she said'.
Now that brought back some deja vu because when Child of Destiny was in editing, the editor erased every other representation of 'he said' i.e.
" he replied.
" he demurred.
" he exclaimed.
Claiming that in the 'rules of writing' one is only supposed to use 'said' instead of these, adverbs (?) because it breaks the flow of the story.
Every. single. one.
So when he sent it to me for proof reading I undid every. single. one. of those edits.
I wasn't just being a stubborn asshole. I just really felt like the flavor was all gone from the story.
It had become like white people food.
No spice.
(Is that racist?)
Anyway so I wanted y'all to weigh in. How do you feel about following rules while writing? Is there a point where creativity might be stifled because of it? And furthermore, it's a story, not a white paper so why do we have to follow rules? Isn't the whole point of creativity to create? To come up with something new? Do you think God followed the rules when he made +Kanye West? Do you think he worried about coloring in the lines when he made the duck billed platypus?
Who came up with these rules anyway?

Sunday, 1 January 2017

#Positivity 2017

So Happy New Year!
I bet you think I'm gonna let you know my new year's resolutions now?
I don't do New Year's Resolutions because really...
My son and I did resolve to leave some things in 2016; Angst, Fear, Failure...And he made a special request that I consider getting a man. Apparently he worries for me here all on my lonesome while he goes out into the world and everyone loves him and shit. It's cute.
And I did promise to consider it.
But y'all know how tiresome you are right?
I won't tell you my resolutions but I will tell you some of my goals for 2017 so that you can keep me accountable...and help me achieve them.

  1. Finally sell 1000 copies of my books.
  2. Get 100 reviews for my books.
  3. Finally finish writing Marcus Devereux and Cinderella by Any Other Name. They're both epic stories but I can't seem to find time to write. I will find time in 2017. I will. Ask me about them.
  4. I'm going to socialise more this year. Stop being such a hermit who does nothing but write 24/7. I'm going to have a healthy schedule where there's time to work out, time to visit with people, time to entertain more, time to cook, time to tidy my room...
  5. Oh and I might take my son's advice and try not to have impossible standards for men. I might. I don't know how to do that and I don't like to read self-help books. But I will try.
  6. Write more stories. And on that note...
You remember that I was fleshing out minor characters from my books? Today we're gonna do Roy! Remember Roy? He's in The Swamp is Full of Mystery which is available here for free, when you sign up.
Please note that the Child of Destiny series is set in the very early nineties and late eighties so...

Roy was high.
He was sitting under the bleachers, missing AP Calculus so he could smoke weed with Alison Carrigan. She was hotter n' Pam Anderson except with bigger boobs. 
He was lying on the ground as she sat next to him so he had a good excuse to look up at her. And who could tell if he was looking at her face or her bosom? Nobody that was who.
It was the perfect position.
"Hey. You wanna lick me?" she asked, eyes on the rafters beneath the bleachers.
"" Roy asked lifting his head like a dog scenting a bone.
"Yeah, you know, between my legs."
"Er.." Roy's mind was exploding, "Now?"
"Yeah now. You want to or not?"
"Yeah I want to." he said sitting up.
Roy was a virgin. 
He lived with his overprotective mother on the outskirts of town and his people skills were less than perfect. Talking to girls was something he was still working up to. His neighbor, Jack Morales had given him some weed in exchange for a hock of pork. He hadn't known what to do with it so he stashed it in his school locker away from his mother's keenly prying eyes; smoking a bit at a time on his solitary walk home. 
Sometimes he passed the little black girl walking home from elementary school as well. He didn't speak to her and she ignored him. Just two loners passing in the night - or rather in the late afternoon.
He'd overheard Alison and her friends talking about wanting to try some weed. It was like a sign from God; he had something the hot girls wanted!
He waited for Alison to come out of the toilets at the end of the last period and extended his offering like an acolyte to his god. 
Her asking him to smoke it with her under the bleachers had been unexpected. 
But not unwelcome.
And now she wanted him to lick her pussy?!? Was he ready for this? What if he failed miserably? Was this really happening?!?

Alison hiked her skirt up and spread her legs, lying back to give him ample room to work.
It was the first real life vagina he'd ever seen.
"Well come on then!" she said wiggling her legs to get him moving.
He leaned in slowly, tongue stuck out of his mouth as he moved closer and closer.
"Don't tease", she moaned, wiggling her ass on the ground. Roy felt like he might come at any second just from the sight.
"Please" he murmured for no reason before his tongue made contract with the soft pliant flesh of her...Roy felt like his mind had completely blanked. His was assailed by sight and scent, taste and sound. He licked a stripe from bottom to top, taking his time; noting the ridges and valleys, tasting her juices, noting the sounds of pleasure she made as he licked and sucked.

She began to moan really loudly, murmuring nonsense words. He didn't know if it was the weed or the cunnilingus making her incoherent but either way, he would take it.
"Fuck me please. Fuck me", she groaned.
'Just. like. that.' Roy thought with a sense of triumph.
"Okay Alison. Okay", he said fumbling with his belt.