Indie Author Problems

One of the activities during a class that I’m taking involved learning how to listen to people, such as not interrupting, not being on your phone while the person is speaking, and paraphrasing what the person said. The activity involved someone from the class sharing a problem or question they have while the others listened. Lucky me got “volunteered” to be the speaker.

The problem I mentioned was trying to get people to buy my books. 

People have no problem buying them when they are free, but they are unwilling to pay even $0.99 for one.

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Also, since everyone can publish through blogs or self-publishing there is a lot of noise for you to get through. You have to struggle your way through the thousands of search results and get to the top. There is the added problem of keywords or hashtags. If you choose something that is trending, you know people are searching for it, but you are just one of millions of search results. If you get something unique, you are at the top but no one is searching.

Covers are another issue. Anymore it seems like they all look alike or similar (probably because we use stock images), so it makes it hard to say, “Oh, that looks interesting or unique.” How can you stand out when you look exactly the same?

Most of the time it seems like the cover has little to nothing to do with the story. For instance, it shows an attractive male or female on the cover making some sexy or attention-getting pose. You then check out the book description and there is no mention of a male or female, depending on the cover (i.e. there’s a sexy woman on the cover but the main character isn’t even human).

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The other issue with covers is that there seems to be all this excitement-noise. The cover is filled with loud colors or filled with lots of action going on. You have to make your cover “loud” enough to be eye-catching, and you have to make your title large enough to be read in thumbnail form. But, sometimes, I feel like all that bam-bam,

pew, pow, look-at-me makes me tried before even picking up the book. I feel like I ran a marathon just by looking at the cover.

Trying to do writing, or any creative project, can be frustrating. You have to be like everyone else yet like no one else. You have to be the same enough to be noticed and let the audience feel like your project is safe and familiar; but also, you have to be different so people won’t say, “I’ve seen that before. It’s the same old story.”

There used to be a sense of “you scratch my back…” but many times you’ll end up helping them out through reviews or book purchases and the other person whines about helping you or simply disappears. They are more than happy to listen when it benefits them, but they vanish if they have to return the favor.

One other problem is that some people seem to think that since they are an independent creator, they can do anything they want. They can swear, have gore, or sex in a children’s book because they think they are the boss. They aren’t; the audience is.

I also find it funny when these people end up doing exactly what the big companies have always done. Why re-invent the wheel? There are some things that need or can changed but some things have been around for ages because they work. For instance, it doesn’t matter the era, customers like to be treated with respect and kindness.

Finally, thanks to technology, some know how to cheat the system by using bots or click farms to make it appear as if they’re successful. They can use bots to make their book a “bestseller” when it isn’t or make their social media post trend when no one cares. But, by making it appear like everyone cares, everyone then cares. It is kind of like The Emperor’s New Clothes; everyone said how wonderful the invisible clothes were simply because it made them look important or popular. Everyone wants to feel like they are part of the crowd, even if that crowd never existed.

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And so it is frustrating because a) something that is supposed to be artistic, entertaining, or enlightening because cutthroat and deceptive and b) here you are trying to do it the right way (being moral, using your talents, etc) you can’t compete because others can just tap a button on their phone and have machines do everything for them, which allows them to publish first or in a grander scale. Just like the shoemaker who builds each shoe can’t compete with the mass producing factory or the news media trying to compete with social media.

The most frustrating part of the activity was that I spent time coming up with my presentation and only got through a third because the people in the class kept interrupting me and not listening. Ugh!

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!

Rough Draft Typing | Behind the Scenes

Today’s post is brought to you by…you. Thanks for all the likes and follows. Thanks for all the book purchases. Thank you!

Every job, or hobby for that matter, has its ups and downs. There is always that thing that makes you groan when you think about doing it. It could be having to charge the batteries to your drone’s remote or having to put up with the demands of your clients.

For me, one of things I don’t like about writing is moving my rough draft from paper to word processor. It feels like “didn’t I just do this?” I want to go on to the next chapter; see the next adventure, but you are stuck typing up what you’ve already done. Now I know you can just type a rough draft and not do a handwritten version. I’ve tried that but the story seemed to slow down as I stopped because of noticeable red lines under misspellings; I knew I had something misspelled, and I had to go back for it. Also, there are a lot of distractions on computer screens with notifications and messages.

One way to help me with the transition from notebook to computer is listening to livestreams or music.

The trouble is it matters which livestream I listen to. If the livestream is full of action, such as a superhero video game or a shooter, I spend more time watching the video than working on the book.

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The livestream needs to be a kind of chill one that is almost like a podcast. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, the Valorant livestream by Blitzwinger. It is a shooter game, but the match format allows me to watch one or two matches; get the idea of the game; and listen from then on.

The good news is that if a livestream is too “rowdy” for the typing period, I can always save it for a break period. The longer video format allows me to have something to watch for multiple breaks; I don’t have to keep trying to figure out what I want to watch.

Ironically, if I’m listening to music while typing, it is the opposite. I need to listen to upbeat or thrilling music, much like “Hero of Our Time” by NateWantsToBattle or “Build Our Machine” by Dagames.

What are some of the downsides of your favorite hobby or job? How do you cope with them? Let me know in the comments section.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!


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Q&A: What’s with the Costumes

Time to answer some questions that you probably didn’t even ask!

What’s with the costumes? Why do superheroes wear those skintight, often colorful, costumes?

Some might say that they are similar to costumes worn by circus performers. Hmm, maybe. But, the reason is because they are a physical representation of a person’s chi/aura (aka psychic fingerprint). Much like some tribes would paint/tattoo people with symbols that represented their ancestors or spirit guide. The costume is like a second skin allowing the hero closer access to the phantasmic energy that powers their talents. Much like removing your shoes on holy ground–it removes barriers between you and the divine. I’d rather wear a colorful uniform than have to run around naked.

Also, it allows for things like going invisible without having to de-robe. Or growing in size without ripping your clothes.

Psychic fingerprint?

Our bodies produce electrical currents through chemical reactions and molecule vibration; these currents are determined by genetic makeup, blood flow, personality, and more, so each person’s is different–like a fingerprint. The colors are dependent on characteristics and speed of energy flow. For instance, a cheerful person and a melancholy person could have the same base color, like red, but the cheerful person will have a brighter shade of red while the melancholy person’s will be a darker red. 

Everything (not just transbeings or living beings) has a psychic fingerprint/chi because everything is made of vibrating molecules. The symbol/emblem on a hero’s chest is a representation of their “true name.” Everyone and everything has a similar symbol, you just can’t see it because they don’t go around wearing it. Now don’t go thinking that because you know their true name you can control them–like in some fantasy stories. It just allows you to communicate with the person/thing. Much like in physical life. It’s part of why using a hero’s name while crying for help…uh, helps them hear you; just as saying someone’s name in normal life gets the attention of the person you are speaking too. But it is a deeper connection, kind of like telepathy.

That is how things like telekinesis works. You aren’t commanding the mountain to move; you are asking the mountain to move and it responds because it trusts you. People with plant manipulation talents aren’t forcing the flower to bloom but rather encouraging it to bloom. Just as you can ask someone to help you with the dishes, but you can’t force them to do the dishes. They chose to help you because they care about you or scared of the consequences. Here is the difference between light and dark talents/”magic.” Are you asking the water to hold you up so you can walk on it or are you forcing it into compliance?

Why do some heroes wear capes, some don’t, and some wear jackets/longer garments?

Some transbeings (villains wear capes too) are so strong that their phantasmic energy…”leaks.” Their power is so great that it comes out their backs or stretches along their sides like a jacket or robe. This is why angels are usually depicted with wings. They don’t actually have wings but their phantasmic power is so great that the energy leaks out their backs and looks like wings. So, when it comes time for the costume (which is a representation of a person’s chi) to be made…we get capes, jackets, or fancy robes. 

Why do transbeings sometimes call out their attacks?

Part of it goes back to the “asking the mountain to move” that I mentioned earlier. You are asking the air to heat up or the lightning to strike. The other part is focus and strength. When you need to lift something heavy, you use more muscles, but how to you use more muscles when something is metaphysical? Answer: emotions. Emotions are mental/spiritual muscles. So, you can add more omph to your talent by calling it out. It is the same reason why martial artists will grunt when they strike or block; they are adding more power behind their act. *Most of the time transbeings can just think their attack or wave a hand because what they are doing is within their limits.*

What’s with wearing your underwear on the outside?

First, it’s not underwear; it’s armor. It used to be just part of the tights in order to show appearance/color variation, but now it’s armor. Second, um, I’ll just leave it at “sports cup” and you can figure it out. I mean, we are in battle with villains.

Any other questions? Ask them in the comments below.

Until next wormhole…thanks for reading!

Description and Next Book | Behind the Scenes

I’ve edited three chapters of my latest work in progress. Now…I’ve just got about 15 more chapters to go. *groan*

In the meantime, I did come up with a working description for the book. Enjoy.

By the time Brian finished his war on grime, Danny returned from the rugby match. He stomped around the lab, shaking off his…Brain’s muddy shoes, and left muddy handprints along the walls and counters. He even went as far as to activate the anti-grav feature in Brain’s shoes and walk along the walls and ceiling leaving muddy footprints in his wake. Once satisfied with his mess, Danny tossed the muddy clothes and shoes in a pile. Before he put on the new set of clothes, he switched Monday’s outfit with Wednesday’s.—Excerpt from “Freaky Friday the 13th”

Ages ago the dragons hid themselves from the humans who hunted them for their power. Now, the monster hunters have again found them; but this time, the dragons aren’t giving up without a fight. It’s up to Dogboy and his allies to prevent a war that’ll leave the Earth scorched.

Buy “Dragon Reign,” the latest Dogboy Chronicles story, for sci-fi adventure, fantasy action, and a little bit of silliness.

In between editing breaks, I’ve been working on the book after Dragon Reign. In one of the chapters, the main characters, Joe and Sally, are on a date at the movies. One of the moviegoers overhears what movie they are seeing and begins to tell them all about it. Thanks to a new feature in their Omni-Cuffs, a holographic gag with the word “spoilers” is slapped across his mouth and he is muted (only to them). Once the moviegoer is finished spoiling the movie, the gag is removed.

I tell you some days it’d be nice to have that technology in real life.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!