More Book Cover Fun

I didn’t think I would find more twin books–especially so quickly. It would be interesting to see how often this happens between traditional and indie presses vs self-published authors.

Saying Goodbye to the Sun   vs   Loved

       

Creepy. One picture? No, I doubt that drop of blood matched so perfectly on the original shot. 🙂

Forged in Fire   vs   Deadly Fall

    

Grey Eyes     vs     Haunting Grace

  

And, if the picture works, use it for the rest of your trilogy…

Changing Grace and Saving Grace

  

(As before, book titles link to respective Amazon pages and image owners retain all rights)

Dentists are our friends

I had oral surgery yesterday–pretty major, actually–but I’m not on codeine or any of those types of medication, just 800mg Ibuprofen. This means I’m not making ground-breaking statements like “purple tastes like crowbar”. 😉

Years ago a dentist put me on Vicoprofen after a relatively “minor” procedure (apicoectomy). It just made me light-headed without touching the pain. Fortunately, I worked for a doctor at the time. When he got tired of me wincing/moaning in between dealing with patients and racing around the office looking for charts, he wrote me a prescription for Vicodin and sent me off to the pharmacy. He denounced the dentist saying it was like having my appendix removed and only being given Tylenol.

So, what’s the difference? Why, after what I went through today (I will spare you the details), would I not demand the “good” drugs?

This surgeon understands what causes dental pain: Inflammation. When we’re injured, fluids rush to the site to aid healing, but this also causes pain and throbbing. Ibuprofen reduces inflammation, and so does cold. This is why you ice a sports injury.

Rather than using drugs to cover the pain of the inflammation, my surgeon hits it with a 1-2 punch. For the first 24 hours, I basically use an ice pack and guzzle ice-cold drinks one mouthful at a time–holding it for a bit before swallowing so it keeps my mouth freezing. Since I already drink a lot of water anyway, this is not a problem for me. Yes, I am wearing sweats while it’s 80 outside, but one day of this beats the out-of-it-ness of the alternative. 🙂

Then after 24 hours, I start the warm rinses and change to a heat pack. This opens the blood vessels, allowing any accumulated fluids to drain away.

Try it if you ever have a tooth pulled.

Is Free A Price We Can Pay?

This is something I’ve wondered ever since I began downloading Kindle books in early 2010.

As a reader, I think, “Yes!” In 2 years, I’ve downloaded close to 3,000 books and paid for less than 50. Some of these I’d seen in B&N and thought about reading, but not enough to buy. Then publishers started dropping the prices on Amazon to $0.00 for a few days for promotions. I snapped up many this way.

In May of 2011, they allowed short stories into the free book listing and I discovered KND. My downloaded number skyrocketed. Then, in December 2011, Amazon allowed self-pubbed books into their KDP Select program and the numbers went to the moon. I don’t download every book (I try to maintain some standards) and I’m sure a few of the self-pubbed works will not be worth finishing. That’s not to say all self-pubbed books are likely to be terrible, but tons of editing errors do get in the way of my enjoyment of a book. (Emphasis on the word “tons”.)

It should be noted that I am cheap frugal. I do own quite a few paper books, but I would not own nearly this many ebooks if I’d had to pay for them all. And it’s doubtful that I would have actually read through them from the library (even the ones that are available there).

As an author, I cringe.

Chuck Wendig over at Terribleminds.com did an experiment with one of his ebooks on the Amazon KDP Select program. 5200 of his books went out the door for free during that promotion. I don’t know how that relates to his actual sales numbers, but that’s huge. And I do agree with his assessment that not everyone of those 5200 will actually read his book. Much less leave a review.

Whether or not this is a good idea will also depend on your definition of success as an author.

Progress or Regress?

It’s been 10 days since I finished chapter 26. Except for changing character names and having to adjust some lines around these changes, I haven’t touched the story. I certainly haven’t started on chapter 27.

Granted, we have been a bit busy. We had doc and vet appointments and a make-up-for-Valentine’s-Day this week and I’m working my tail off to get the house semi-presentable for my mother-in-law. She’ll be here to help as I recover from dental surgery. Oh, and I have to get the taxes ready (which means updating the finances from the end of the year).

I scored a bazillion more free ebooks last night (Thanks for the new promotional thing, Amazon. Now I’ll never pay for another ebook again). More on that to come.

So, where does this leave me? How can I prioritize my life so that LIFE doesn’t keep throwing me off track. I have got to finish this book.

The Reality of Amazon and the Digital Publishing World

As a potentially published author, I’ve been watching the ebook revolution with interest. Just before I attended my first writers’ conference last year, Joe Konrath and Amanda Hocking came on my radar. Suddenly, self-pubbing was no longer the dregs of the book world. When we talked about all this with people at the conference, they mostly just shrugged. Not all of them, of course, some felt the same excitement and frustrations we did. Why are we fighting to make it onto a traditional publishers list for miniscule profits and diminishing sales? It may still take another 5 years (10 at the outside), but books are going almost exclusively digital. The music industry didn’t believe it, yet this is the last year they will make cds.

The first self-pubbed ebook I bought (and loved) was Elisa Lorello’s Faking It. Before it got picked up by Amazon Encore. It gave me hope. They all proved it could be done without the Big 6, that books formerly rejected as “not marketable” could appeal directly to customers for sales with much higher royalty rates. Who wouldn’t want that?

The Gatekeepers.

A lot of people in the industry hate Amazon. They’ve become the Wal-Mart of their world. But I (and a few others) are on their side cheering them on. Before Amazon, I rarely bought books. I never developed a loyalty to an author or genre enough to part with my hard earned money on a regular basis. The library was my friend.

Then I got a Kindle.

I agree with Bob Mayer, co-creator of Who Dares Wins Publishing.

Amazon is a business…[and] active rather than reactive.  Amazon was founded in 1994.  Went on-line in 1995.  Only 17 years on-line.  I had to ask myself, how much had I changed my business model in 17 years?

Like it or not, Amazon changed the business of buying and selling books.

—————————

After I’d written this, but prior to its being published, Kristen Lamb posted this about Amazon.

Amazon right now is in the courting phase with writers, and it is using us (writers) as a weapon to kill our former masters. Ah, but if Amazon really gets its way…what then?

Unlike NY, Amazon isn’t searching through all the millions of wanna-bes for a handful of investments. Anyone can publish quickly and cheaply. Writers are running to them! The problem with this is they get all the benefits of being a publisher without any real sacrifice.

A lawyer friend of mine noted that when writers publish on Amazon, we all agree to the same blanket contract. This gives Amazon all the perks of being a publisher without concerning itself with any of the traditional protections for the writer.

And, I understand that writers haven’t been treated all that great in the past, but we need to ask the tough question. Is this future better? Is trading one dictator for another a good plan?

Amazon having total control is a particularly frightening scenario for indie and self-published authors, because many aren’t repped by agents with the legal know-how to fight any injustice. Oh, I suppose we could sue, but Amazon has armies of high-powered attorneys to make a lesson out of any of us who tried.

Pessimistic and Orwellian to be sure (as she concedes), but plausible. I, personally, don’t think Amazon will be the only one left standing after the dust settles with this publishing revolution. But it is one more reminder that this whole thing is a business. The only real person who can truly look out for your interests as a writer, is you.

What’s in a Name?

Amanda over at Meanderings of a Restless Mind posits that names have connotations and connections. I can’t imagine a young child named Martha or Bertha, but a grown woman, sure.

This is my point exactly as far as changing my characters’ names, too. Sheila became Gloria and Carla became Miranda. Since neither appear beyond the first chapter, those changes were minor.

Then there’s Carmina. She was a bit trickier since she plays a larger role.

This is how I picture her:

owner retains all rights

Now think of her name as Julia. Still fit? I think so.

Either way, all of this is just my own meanderings. Once the book comes out, readers will always think of her as Julia.

Book Cover Dilemma

In this digital age, we’re probably going to see a lot more of this phenomenon: Books with the same stock cover photo.

In the first set, the books were published a mere 2 months apart.
Heroes Live Forever    vs    Rowena Through the Wall

       

These were published almost a year apart.
Taking Love in Stride    vs    Revenge for Hire

   

(*image owners retain all rights)

Have you spotted any “twin” books lately? Here’s hoping mine is an original. 🙂