Writing Life: On Being an Indie Author During #GrabYourWallet

So this one is a bit thorny and I suspect a lot of us are dealing with it. It is no secret by now that politically, I am firmly against the Predator-Elect and all for resistance. One of the ways in which we can enact that resistance is with where we put our hard-earned and sometimes difficult to come by cash. Shannon Coulter brilliantly began something called the #GrabYourWallet campaign, a call to boycott all business carrying the Trump brand. An up-to-date list can be found here.

If you opened a link you will note that one of the first companies listed is Amazon.

Amazon is where you can find my recently released book, “Getting On With It.” It is currently the only distribution platform for that book.

The plan to publish there was made before the election, and I chose to follow through for the sake of consistency, the ease with which the Amazon as a platform makes it available to potential audience. I’m not going to pull my book, though the conflict of interest is quite painful to me. As an indie author the difficulty is obvious. Amazon is still the distribution platform with the largest reach.

I am also aware that during the #GrabYourWallet campaign, it is very likely that my numbers through that platform are likely to be lower than anticipated. Folks who might be drawn to read my work are very likely the same people engaging in #GrabYourWallet. Career-wise, I should be concerned about this, and I am, except not really. Some of this has to do with my perspective on writing and getting the work out. Slowly building an audience has been the expectation since I started self-publishing. The kind of success authors dream of is not something that happens overnight, it is even slower when you have very little budget. But there will be other projects, other work, other paths, other things to try. So I’m worried but not. Maybe it is more accurate to say that I am concerned more for this particular work than I am for my career overall.

That said, I hope that audience who were anticipating the work will not forget about it, and of course make the purchase eventually. (Link, for ease of discovery.) Digitally there will eventually be a release through Smashwords. Keep an eye on my various digital spaces for that.

I mentioned already that I can’t be the only indie-author using Amazon for distribution and struggling with this particular conundrum. But I also think that the situation we are facing offers something useful, at least for the #GrabYourWallet campaign. That useful thing is an argument. It might be a weak one, since corporations are not well-known for their conscience, and since individual indie authors have little impact on Amazon’s practices as a whole. However, as a collective our value to Amazon is more significant. The longer they carry the Trump brand, the longer our livelihoods might be impacted negatively. That is something that Amazon should consider. If we don’t make money, they don’t get their cut. I just mention this as something you can use when you speak up and tell Amazon why you aren’t shopping with them this year. Do I think it will contribute to a desirable outcome for the #GrabYourWallet campaign? I have no idea. But it is something to think about. It is something that can be leveraged.

So my question is, who has data? Because that would be useful going forward.

 

 

Hey Look!

Hey Theater and SFF peeps… December 6th, Paul Shapera has a new musical project which will be UNLEASHED UNTO THE WORLD!

Miss Helen’s Weird West Cabaret!

Go unto the interwebs and check it out!

LINK:

https://steampunkopera.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/coming-dec-6th-miss-helens-weird-west-cabaret-by-paul-shapera/

On the Election, 2016

I have been avoiding writing a blog post about the election. Maybe avoidance isn’t the right word here.

I am gutted by this.

I am in mourning.

I can’t seem to collect my thoughts into something coherent or meaningful around this outcome.

I keep wanting to appeal to people’s sense of empathy, because as a fiction writer that’s a large of part of what storytelling does. I think maybe through art that can be done, but I am not sure that currently it is a thing that can work. At least, not from the dialogue that I am seeing. And certainly not when so many choose to be blind to human suffering. I keep hearing people say, “Grow up,” to each other, and this is infuriating. I might argue that this is a case of “projectile projecting.” Using the silencing tactic of, “Grow up,” tells me that you are not adult enough to open your ears and listen, that you are not adult enough to reach for understanding. If you are someone getting told this, my advice is don’t engage with the person saying it to you. At this stage in the game, you don’t have to put yourself through it. A healthier course of action (and by this, I mean protect your emotional self. We are still so, so very raw) is to talk to someone you know can be supportive, and when you feel up to it, channel all of that energy into action.

There doesn’t seem much point in stating a case for an argument against what has already happened, even though I want to scream and yell and rail against.

I do see value in taking a stand, for yourself and for others. I see value in engaging with your personal support systems.

And I see value in making a decision about what to do going forward. It becomes increasingly clear that it is not only a good idea, but a necessity, to act.

Some acts will be quiet, or feel small. Ex: donating to Planned Parenthood, LGBTQ organization, the ACLU, Etc… (anyone with ideas PLEASE feel free to put them in the comments.) You can donate time to organizations that support causes that are bound to come under attack in the next four years. You can volunteer at soup kitchens.

And right now, you can write to your electors.

 

From Pete: The only thing necessary for the triumph of climate denial is for good men & women to do nothing. — Peter is in the Forest

On Tuesday the electoral college vote vaulted Donald Trump into the American presidency. If you understand the ramifications of that for the global climate, we are facing a terrifying prospect. He’s called climate change a hoax invented by the Chinese, that it’s bullshit and asked “Where the hell is global warming?” at a rally on a cold day. The string of […]

via The only thing necessary for the triumph of climate denial is for good men & women to do nothing. — Peter is in the Forest

Halloween Horror Treats ! Why You Want These in Your Treat Bag — Hopes and Dreams: My Writing and My Sons

by Lillian Csernica on October 28, 2016 Just 99 cents from now until Halloween! Horror can be anything from the most elegant ghost story to the total freak-out of a bloodthirsty serial killer. The Fright Factory can show you how to make the most of your story ideas. Choose the best setting. Build a better […]

via Why You Want These in Your Treat Bag — Hopes and Dreams: My Writing and My Sons

From Pete’s blog, for Pennsylvanians impacted by climate change problems: Help central PA’s flood victims today & plan for climate-related impacts tomorrow. — Peter is in the Forest

The torrential rains last week in central PA have caused a number of problems. Monday night, the representatives to the Centre Region Council of Governments voted unanimously to declare a local disaster because of the flooding in parts of Halfmoon, Patton, and Ferguson Townships. But the damage up and down the Bald Eagle Valley and into […]

via Help central PA’s flood victims today & plan for climate-related impacts tomorrow. — Peter is in the Forest

It is almost here… NANOWRIMO

November is almost here. You know what that means. NANOWRIMO DESCENDS UPON US WITH THE FURY OF WORDS THAT MUST. LAND. ON. THE. PAGE.

National Novel Writing Month.

Most folks who have been considering participating in NanoWrimo have already decided, yay or nay? I can’t do it this year with six projects in various stages of draft. I’ve got things started that I am determined to finish and Nano requires a new first draft of a thing.

I have, however, participated in NanoWrimo in the past. For me, it was a lot of fun, but I also learned a few things about my own writing process. For a person who has ambition around writing fiction this is incredibly valuable. If you, nascent novelist, also have ambitions around writing fiction, I would like to provide a gentle nudge in the direction of participation.

One of the most important things around fiction writing is learning how to finish work that you start. This is a road toward a complete first draft. While the word count requirement to win NanoWrimo is not, strictly speaking, book length, it is enough word count to determine, at the end of it all, whether your story idea will work once you’ve polished it.

Whether or not you have something workable at the end of it, you will have learned whether the kamikaze approach to writing 1,700 words a day works for you. That’s not nothing. if you are a person who has already started and finished long work then maybe the challenge for you is producing content at a relatively blistering pace. Doing this can teach you how to work with deadlines and how you, as an individual writer, work under pressure.

Then there is the lesson that you learn when the race is over. At the end of the month, when you have your pile of words, will you remain motivated enough to complete the work and then edit? Because editing is where things become publishable. Editing is crazy important.

That said, for a lot of us who have been writing for a while NanoWrimo can be a way to force us to shut down the inner editor for a month and simply produce work. We can play on the page unfettered by an impulse toward perfectionism (or even legibility). We need, sometimes, to throw away the million and one restrictive lessons around grammar, narrative structure, expectations of genre, etc… in order to produce work. This is harder to do than it sounds. Nano can provide the jolt and support community it requires.

As true as it is that editing is crazy important, it is also true that we get nowhere if we have produced no work to edit. Nano shows us one road toward producing that work. If you are not sure about your process, this is a good way to learn something about what works for you, and what doesn’t.

That’s my two cents.

 

 

 

The OMG HALLOWEEN IS COMING!!! Book Freebies

Hey everyone. This is just a heads up that because my favorite holiday is coming and I am prepping a book to release some time in the next few months, I have decided to offer a few freebies over on Smashwords. The book that is forthcoming is a sequel to the novel on offer. (The freebie is titled Haunted… the title of the next novel will be announced soon.)

When I have news-type news I promise to share, but for now, have some free digital books!

Go here for Haunted with coupon code CK74M

Go here for Aliens in the Soda Machine and Other Strange Tales with coupon code YN69Q