Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Moving


Last month I helped my friend move house.
I went over on the last day to pack boxes, provide moral support, egg her on to keep going, and to run stuff up and down the stairs to its various destinations; pack, trash, or give away. I loaded up my car and dropped bags off at the local charity shop.
And lucky for me I was the recipient of a few things put aside for me. She paid me in sheet sets, hair clips and books.
Yes, she knows me well.
It’s pretty much on brand.
Now to catalogue and shelve all the books *rubs hands*

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Counting books


I like counting. I always have. ##
So I like keeping track of my books. But that’s kind of hard when buying ebooks is so easy and you don’t have a physical cover to remind you that the book exists, and yes, you have a copy in your ebook library reader of choice but it’s kind of not the same. I hate accidentally buying a book I already own in a different format. I had a Book database but the software went cloud based and started charging monthly fees so I started looking for some other way to record my titles.
I messed about with Calibre this year and it works well to load in titles IF you have a file copy in your computer. I hear, also that it’s good for making and editing ebooks. I haven’t got to that stage yet. But so far, it’s working.
But… a lot of my books are on Amazon. I like the one click buy thing. My bank account really doesn’t. I have avoided Kobo for a long time because I have endless issues with getting their Windows app reader to function. It just… doesn’t. And their phone app is buggy, too.** I do not yet own a Kobo reader and maybe those problems are less obvious with one? Idk.
And the app cannot synch across all platforms so my phone doesn’t know what I’m reading and I have to download and upload titles into the PC app. It’s annoying.
Compared to Amazon? Where the app and the PC ereader synch up, AND it also synchs audiobooks with ebooks via a trademarked process, whispersynch; Kobo looks pretty bad. But it does have a wishlist. Take that, Amazon.
Plus, when you buy a title on Kobo it takes six steps to buy it, not one. Amazon actually copyrighted the one button buy thingie. And in Australia, Kobo is often way more expensive. Up to double the price. Wails… why?!
Amazon works on a Mobi file format and I own a few of those, too. I’ve downloaded them as giveaways from Author websites, or purchased them in Kickstarters or Humble Bundles or things like that. Calibre can load those files as well… but.
And it’s here we come to the eternal problem of Digital Rights Management or DRM. I don’t like it. I find it truly annoying that I do not actually OWN a title I bought on Amazon. What I own is a license to read that title in, and on, their format. [That’s probably how whispersynch works, right?] So 2,656 of my purchased books are not really mine. *jaw clenches* what if it all goes wrong? ^^
I also hate the idea that I don’t know what that DRM does. I’ve given the example before but imagine you buy a chair that lets you sit on it … say 25 times and then it breaks into pieces and cannot be reassembled and used as a chair. That chair has DRM.
I am also pretty law abiding. Yes, I could load some software and strip the DRM from those files… but that would be illegal. *cue hand flapping panic*
So I am attempting to match my Kobo and Kindle libraries using a spreadsheet and then going to check if the amazon title is still available on Kobo and replicating it there. So my Kobo library is mushrooming.
This makes me happy. &&

## how did I NOT know I had ADHD?
**it keeps incorrectly saving my last read position. No, god dammit, I am NOT at ch 3. I’m up to ch18! For the third time… you get the idea. I want to read a book, not search for the last bit I read.
^^ I’m a writer; my entire existence is asking ‘what if’…
&& You didn’t really think any of solution I came up with was going to involve LESS books, did you? *grins*
Oh my god… I broke Kindle again. While I was downloading and making a list of all my Amazon titles, I noticed there were a few updates listed. Somehow when I’ve clicked that upload box, it has given me TWO copies. But which ONE do I delete? Aaagh


Sunday, 8 July 2018

It’s all in the algorithms


Last month I was listening to a Sterling & Stone audio sales pitch for their most recent author training. It was a pretty generous offer and they said they were being so generous because it was the last time they would do such a thing. Now, I know people always say that in sales stuff, but the guys gave their reasons why.
They love what they do. They love the independence it gives them and the quality of life they get from being a full time writer. They won’t do anything to jeopardise that because that would affect their income and thus their families. And in current America with no guarantee of Health care and education, money matters and none of them (even Dave) want to go back to working full time for somebody else.
They do the sums. They rely mostly on Amazon for income and over the years they have learnt how Amazon works and how to use it to sell more of their books. That’s what the course was about. The tag was ‘make $3k a month’ or they’d give you your money back. **
But… and here’s the big but… Amazon is run on algorithms. When you buy something it tries to work out what else you might be interested in. The key to success is for your works to appear as recommendations to people when they are already buying stuff. These suggestions are referred to as ‘also-boughts’ because that’s literally what the screen says: people who bought this title also bought... Amazon also uses your ranking to pick recommendations to email out to readers. This is why some people cheat and put their book in the wrong genre, one with less titles usually, to get a higher ranking.*!
Sterling & Stone have worked out that teaching other people how to write messes up their sales.
Let’s say I buy one of their books on writing. My ‘also-boughts’ will be an erratic mix of romance, historical romance, erotica and non-fiction writing. Another person’s ‘also-boughts’ might be hard core sci-fi, military fiction, non-fiction war history and non-fiction writing.
With those kinds of stats Amazon does not offer Sterling & Stone’s works to other people browsing the site because it can’t guess what people would like it. Everyone’s mixed up buying history confuses it.
Sterling & Stone know this because they have literally written a book and marketed it to a select email list of people who like that exact genre. It did better than their other works because it had clean ‘also-boughts’.
So, as a result, they will no longer write books on how to help other authors.
And that is obviously something that other people are going to realise as well. Not many of them will invest this much time and money into a solution.
Although I did hear Rachael Herron say her ‘also-boughts’ were pretty clean, so maybe Amazon is neatening the process up? %%
I hope so because a lot of peoples’ livelihoods depend on it. $$

Links:
**the proviso was that you had a series in mind. That you completed the first book in six months and they would give you a $500 cover. Also no erotica. Amazon sends all erotica writers to an algorithm ‘dungeon’. Sighs…
*! Please report people who do this or who stuff multiple works in until the actual book is a tiny percentage of the whole. Samples are fine, I love samples.


%% she was talking to J Thorn on the Petal to the Metalpodcast

$$ not mine obvs… dammit AM, finish your shit.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Journals


Today I bought yet another book to write in. it might be for journaling or writing or I might use it as a bullet journal or a diary. The possibilities are endless.
I have a ‘type’: hardcover, lined and able to fit in a handbag.

And look at it… it’s so cute. It’s pink and it glitters. And they were reduced to one dollar. Even when I’m extravagant I’m still thrifty. *laughs at self* as IF I’d buy a crazy expensive one?
How many did I get?
*looks at the ground*… I might have bought… four.


originally posted on June 25th on my wordpress account

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

It took me 18 months to read a 35 page 10k word story

No, it didn’t truthfully.
But I had a theory: if I mark something as ‘currently reading’ on Goodreads then I will be reminded it’s there and eventually read it… yeah… nah.
It didn’t work.

Stupid ADHD brain. You really think I’d know how to live with it by now.
Here’s another example: I made a jar to put a stone in for each 500 words I wrote that day. It’s cute and arty. I made labels with hand-drawn fonts and tied it all up in shiny bronze ribbon. The idea was that each day I’d add pebbles and that they’d make a satisfying sound and be a physical reminder (as the jar filled) of the words and the work I had already done.

And then I broke Scrivener word count. I reset my daily word count on my Scrivener doc and it helpfully said my word count was NEGATIVE 3,825. No, I hadn’t deleted anything and I can’t work out why it’s done this.
Kid Extra is my tech kid. He shakes his head at me probably once a week because I have managed to kill or break something techy in an unexpected way. It’s my gift.
But this threw me out of my writing habit. Why? I don’t know.
Logically I just need to write 3,825 words and it’ll go to zero.
So I do that. I paste in some parts more than once until I get it into positive and then reset the daily count.
Nope.
Still NEGATIVE 3,825
Bugger.
Annoyed, I delete the words and NOW it resets to negative 7,650. What? No!
*headdesk*
Why me?
I know! I’ll turn it off and turn it on again… ha! It worked. Why didn’t you think of that earlier? Dammit brain.

posted on April 24th on my wordpress account

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Inner critic

I follow story coach and writer Jennifer Louden. She’s one of those people who always comes across as enthusiastic and energetic. She’s so positive, you know?
One of her emails this month said she had decided after four years of effort, to scrap her current memoir.
Four years.
One hundred and twenty thousand words.
She confessed that it was not salvageable.
And I hurt for her. I know how that feels.
Today she had a soundcloud link to her talking about hiding. If I was her, after making that announcement, I’d be hiding. I probably would not have got out of bed, but here she is still working, still talking, still being positive and still trying to help others.
She asked listeners to write down their responses to their inner tribunal. She calls it the itty bitty shitty committee. The voice in your head that tells you you’re going to fail. You know the one.
Write down what you should say about yourself in response. So I write: I’m smart, I have three degrees, I’ve done amazing things, I’ve turned unplanned jobs into successes, I made more money for ANZA charity in Jakarta than anyone ever had before, I made speeches, I met ambassadors and world leaders. I’m the #8 reviewer on Goodreads. I have written and posted 78 stories on fanfiction. I have published seven short works that have been downloaded a few times. *runs off to look up stats on Smashwords - 9,130 times. [cool!]*
I write stories that people tell me they like. I have… *runs off to look up ffn stats*
Wait…
WHAT?
I have a total of 12,001,668 hits on ffn.
*jaw drops*
Twelve million?
I should be proud of myself. I AM proud of myself. So why does my inner voice tell me I can’t do this? I already am.
Dammit brain.

Links:
Jennifer Louden scraps her memoir  soundcloud
Jennifer Louden
mrstrentreznor fanfic

this post was posted April 24th on my wordpress account... I'm going to keep both. Why not?

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Boxed sets

Hi, my name is AMG and I’m addicted to boxed sets.
Hi, AMG. *bored AA response voice*
I adore a bargain.
My brain sees a box of books as a better deal than a single title. I think… maybe they could be good? Honestly, I don’t get how my own brain works some days.
I’ve bought box sets for one title. Or one author. Or just because they seem like a good deal.
So my kindle is full of them. I’ll admit there are some dodgy ones. Bad writing, bad formatting, bad covers… no hot linked table of contents. Believe me that is a sin of the first order.
They aren’t easy things to organise as an author in the Amazon world. The reader might pay 99cents for their six, eight, ten books but Amazon cannot credit multiple authors separately for their share of that 99cents.
So one author has to take responsibility for the payment and the distribution of that royalty earning and that has historically not gone well.
It can get ugly fast. There have been disastrous boxed sets that kept breaking the Amazon 5,000 page limit. There have been attempts to milk the Kindle Unlimited page read count with overlarge titles. And there have been copyright issues once a box is published with another author’s name on it.
But for me, the ugliest thing has been my inability to know what I own. I kept buying books I already owned. This is the opposite of a bargain.
So, I ‘tidied’ up my Scrivener Goodreads file. I made a folder for boxed sets and I added in every single boxed set I owned; with a separate scrivener link to the actual review when I read each title. I review each title separately. [Why should a good book get sucked down for being in a bad boxed set?]
They are metadata marked as amazon, kobo, audible, library and so on… it’s super easy to search scrivener; easier than the kindle app. And I counted how many in each set I had read, and marked the completed sets as ‘read’.
Bless me, I got ORGANISED.
It took me days.
You want to know how many… right?
238 boxed sets.
*face plants into keyboard*
It’ll take me years to read ‘em.
YEARS.
*stares straight into the camera*
Bring it.