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.

stampylonghead

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!

Recommended #46

The following are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion of any organization or person.

Who would have thought I’d be doing a second Recommended post dealing with stuff to do while under the COVID-19 lockdown? I didn’t. Well, it was more like hoped I won’t have to–I’d hoped that it would have been over by then.

MKIceAndFire
Ghost Paper
TheOdd1sOut
MKIceAndFire

Do you have any recommendations? Tell me in the comments.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.

Authors Give Back Sale

Two of my books (The Beast of Camp TimberWolf and Gift of the Minion) will be on sale for 60% off during the Smashwords Authors Give Back sale. It runs from Mar. 20 to Apr. 20. The discount is only on Smashwords.

Stay safe and healthy during this time (and other times).

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.


Who Pranked JR releases March 24!

A Reader’s Journey

A while back I worked on a list of my Top 10 favorite authors. I had a hard time picking the ten; there have been so many enjoyable reads. For the most part I chose those that had a big or lasting impact on my life.

Encyclopedia Brown and Wayside School got me interested in reading. They were the first books I did for book reports–much to the mocking of my classmates. Ironically, I would later figure out that they probably didn’t even read a book. I also got some grief from my teachers who saw pop culture literature as “low.” They also didn’t like sci-fi or fantasy, not even the classic fantasy or science fiction. That left the classics. Frankly, they were boring.

It wasn’t until the Wishbone series that I started enjoying the classics. The series made the classics more interesting, relatable, and understandable. 

Then when Wishbone and Animorphs ended, I had to look for something else to read. I did read books based on DC and Marvel characters; but since the authors for those change with each book, I couldn’t find any more. 

Eventually, I wondered the aisles looking for something (that couldn’t be found). Later, a made-for-TV movie aired called Sole Survivor. I watched and found it interesting. Soon, I learned that the movie was based on a book by Dean Koontz. As soon as possible, I headed to the bookstore. I found another book by Koontz called Odd Thomas. I tried it out; found it great; and wanted more. Too bad there weren’t any more at our local bookstore.

Seemed like my adventure was over. 

Enter the library book sale. I found some other books by Dean Koontz. But it was one book that interested me in particular: Mr. Murder. I knew of this one. As I looked at the other Koontz books, I learned that I’d read others of his and enjoyed them. I’d been a fan before I knew it.

The trouble was Koontz was still a contemporary author. According to pretty much everyone I knew, if it wasn’t a classic…it wasn’t good. Or if it wasn’t some deep-thought story or some story that could make you look good by reading it, it wasn’t “proper.” So in the beginning, I kept my interest secret; but eventually, I said, “I like what I like. Get over it.” You can like the classics or the philosophy stories if you want, but I liked these.

I find it funny to this day that while growing up when I told people I liked stories with werewolves, vampires, wizards, and zombies, they would laugh at me or call me a loser. They would again say that I wasn’t spectacular like them because I read the “low forms of writing.” Then, one day…Harry Potter. Everyone loved wizards and then vampires and zombies. Science fiction and fantasy became popular.

So, I had to give Dean Koontz the top spot on my list because if I hadn’t found any of his books, I probably would have given up on reading. It is really difficult to find a new book to read when you don’t know any author names or don’t know what kind of genre you like. Or in my case, everyone telling you that the genres you like are “not good enough” or “lowbrow.” It really doesn’t encourages people to read when you tell them the stuff they like is uncouth and silly.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading!


Today’s Amazon Affiliate links: 

I get a percentage from any qualifying purchase; doesn’t have to be the ones listed below. Thank you for helping to support my blog so I can continue to tell stories, write reviews, and more.

From Dean Koontz…comes an epic thriller about a terrifying threat to humanity and the singular compassion it will take to defeat it.

Buy now

For the first time in twenty-five years, Wayside School is back in session in this brand-new, fourth installment in the perennially beloved and bestselling series by Newbery Medal-winning author Louis Sachar.

Buy now

Recommended #39

The following are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion of any organization or person.

Care giving for Alzheimer Patients. by E-Book Vault

Your Dreams Can Improve Your Writing by The Write Nook

Keeper Of The Gardens by Out of My Write Mind

Do you have any recommendations? Tell me in the comments.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.

100 Blog Followers Special!

I noticed a few days ago that I reached 100 followers for my blog. To celebrate, I made an illustration of Joe/Dogboy’s online avatar, Warrior Fang, and his dog’s online avatar (it’s the future; intelligent animals can get online too), Silent Paw, battling a swarm of coding bugs.

Enjoy, and as always…thanks for reading.

Recommended #38

The following are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion of any organization or person.

Coffee Break Ideas
— Read on ebookvault.biz/coffee-break-ideas/

MY GHOSTWRITER
— Read on debatablydateable.com/2020/01/23/my-ghostwriter/

Book Festival Book Tag
— Read on kristinkravesbooks.com/2020/01/23/book-festival-book-tag/

Conquering Anger.
— Read on ebookvault.biz/conquering-anger/

Do you have any recommendations? Tell me in the comments.

Until the next wormhole…thanks for reading.

Insert Interesting Title Here

Pbbbt, I was going to talk about ItsAlexClark’s latest video about COPPA. He talks about how all he wants to do is entertain people but keeps getting roadblocks thanks to YouTube changing gears all the time.

I wanted to share it because I can relate. I just want to entertain too. I work for hours preparing and editing a video only to have zero views because of the algorithm, and now because of COPPA, I get no comments, no ads, and no listing in searches. Sure, I can take a chance and have the videos listed as “not for kids;” my target audience is teens and older because the stories deal with things like bullying, prejudice, and more. But, I said they were PG, not PG-13.

Anyway, I was also going to share how in the ItsAlexClark video, he talks about how Audible is doing a challenge. If you are a Amazon Audible member and you listen to three audiobooks before Mar. 3, you get a $20 Amazon gift card. I was then going to say something about using Clark’s sponsor/affiliate link in the description so that he can further receive support. If Amazon sees that (for the sake of argument) 300 used the link, they are more inclined to continue sponsoring him, which means more money so he can entertain the masses.

But…what’s the point. I get like zero views on YouTube videos. I’m lucky if I get a like on my blog posts. What’s the point of taking the time to research, craft, and edit these posts if no one sees them?

Recently, I’ve announced on social media about my next book coming out Mar. 24 and how if people are interested in doing a review, they can get the book early for free. It’s been about a week and…nothing. I didn’t expect a massive flood, but I thought there’d at least be one person interested in reading my book before everyone else.

I also considered sharing a GoFundMe link for a family member of mine because 2019 was rough (so was 2018). It really didn’t help any that I needed to have a root canal at the beginning of the year. Of course, it was the one tooth my insurance didn’t cover. I went to my church for help–one that my family has been playing into for generations upon generations (most of the time like hundreds of dollars a month per individual). After some feet dragging, complaining, and a message from my doctor threatening to send the bill to a collection agency, I got the help. This, of course, made me want to share SystemZee’s latest livestream because he talked about needing a root canal; he mentions how people can help support his channel so he can afford the procedure. It isn’t the root canal that’s painful; it’s the bill.

*I was going to link the actual video, but he doesn’t always archive his livestreams for some reason. Instead try his fiancée’s livestream on Mixer if you want (choose the Fighting the Dragon w/Patreons video)*

The feet dragging during the root canal was no big surprise. When I was a Boy Scout, we had camping trips. During the planning stage, the scouts would argue over which car I went in, not because they wanted me in the car, but because the thought of me being in the same building as them seemed to turn their stomachs. When it came time to talk about tent assignments, they had the person who didn’t show up for the meeting bunk with me. “That’ll teach him to miss a meeting,” the scouts would say.

If there was no one who missed the meeting, I got to sleep by myself. I usually got the area 20 yards away. One trip, even though my area was off from the others, somehow my sleeping bag got burn marks–the kind you see from purposeful burning.

School wasn’t much better. I got tripped, bottles thrown at me, hit with blocks of wood or thick cable wire or books. They would fart in my face. If I sat down on a bench, everyone would jump up with a scream and “fall down” as if my weight caused them to be catapulted into the air. And, of course, dodgeball was a joy. It wasn’t because everyone targeted me; no, it was because no one would target me. I could stand perfectly still and no one would came after me. Even if I was the last person standing, they would refuse to target me. Eventually, I would just say, “Oh, darn, I’m on,” and walk away.

You’re probably thinking, “Why not tell a teacher or leader?” I did. They told me to stop lying. Or they told me “no one likes a tattletale.” One time they said I needed professional help to cure my “imagination.” The adults would say, “They would never do that. They’re good people.” Even if it was done right in front of them, they would still side with the bullies over me.

Recently, Jazza did a video showcasing another YouTuber called Haddy the Creator. In it, Haddy drew Pokèmon as monsters. Thanks to Jazza’s video, Haddy’s channel went from about 500 subscribers to 7,000 like overnight. The problem is how many will actually stay? I have 1.3k followers on Twitter, but I rarely get anything over a like. Sometimes I get some retweets. It doesn’t feel good when you have a large number of subs or followers and yet no one answers your polls or comments or watches your videos.

A few years ago, at church, people started being nice to me out of nowhere. They started inviting me to sit with them or join their group. I thought, “Finally! I must have broken through the imaginary wall!” It felt good to be appreciated and welcomed. But, then I found out that there was some kind of project going around. People were assigned to focus those the council decided weren’t active enough. At first, I thought this might be coincidence. That changed when the month ended and new assignments were giving. Immediately, they all went back to ignoring me and treating me like I had a disease.

So, I hope the people who followed Haddy actually like his stuff and did not subscribe just because some “famous” person suggested it. I have to agree with NoahElowyn’s post about telling someone their cover (writing, drawing, song, etc) is good when it really isn’t. You can be supportive and say it has potential, but also let them know what isn’t good about it so that they can improve. You shouldn’t say like my art teacher back in third grade that it sucks and I can do anything right. You give the person constructive criticism. “I liked X, but Y could be better, but I also liked Z.” For every negative thing, you need to tell two positives. Not telling someone the bad stuff hurts them more than helps. The person thinks they’re doing great when they really aren’t and then they get upset because they have 1.3k followers but no one looks at their stuff!!

I was planning on doing a drawing of the video game character Kirby becoming a monster and then showing it off while saying I got the inspiration for it from Haddy the Creator. I wanted to share his video. His monster Pokèmon was well detailed and ugly but his normal Pokèmon were a little rushed. But, that doesn’t mean I don’t think his art is bad. If he continues and gets support, it’ll just get better.

So, I wanted to share what I thought was a good drawing, but I feel like what is the point. No one seems to look at my Instagram account. Now and then I get some likes but it just feels like they’re doing it just to be like “oh, it’s good” but it really isn’t. No one comments. I take the time to comment when I can on their stuff. What’s the problem?

And that brings up another issue. Everyone sure loved having me around when it benefited them, but I ask for help and they take off. I got a phone call one day from a church leader. They said they missed me at church. I was like, “Wow, really? Thanks.” Maybe they do care. He then said, “Yeah, we need you for our statistics.” Needless to say, I didn’t feel like going to church the next few weeks. They freak out when one of the “chosen ones” miss an hour but I miss six months and they can’t even say, “hi.”

It’s been stressful lately.