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Monday, August 29, 2016

A BIOPSY TOMORROW





 Just when I thought it was safe to go to the oncologist after so many clear check-up's, 

she found something.

Biopsy time yet again.  

My company has switched to Catastrophic Insurance where I pay the first $2600! 

 Ouch!  But the company puts $25 per paycheck into an individual fund for each of us.  Nice of them.

If the dentist hadn't sucked every cent out of it, I might even have something in it! 

So I will just ask you to pray and cross those fingers for me.  :-)


Sunday, August 28, 2016

THREE-QUARTERS OF A MILLION!


OVER 750.000 VISITORS!


Wow!  It's nice to be liked.  But it is just a number I know.

But 750,000 page views is nothing compared to what the Weather Channel (2 Billion a day!) 

or Google (3.5 Billion a day!) 

or Alex Cavanaugh gets. 

I mean Alex gets a Zillion Page Views per day.  I am just a cyber minnow.  :-)

I see some of you scratching your heads, asking, "What is a Page View as compared to Unique Visitors?"


PAGE VIEWS

A page view is triggered when any page is loaded by any visitor to your site.

 For example, if you click this link and the page loads, you have triggered a page view.

If you click the link 20 more times today, it will count as 20 page views. 

But why anyone would want to do that is beyond me!


UNIQUE VISITORS

A unique visitor is an individual user who has accessed your site.

It is determined by the IP address of the computer or device that the user is browsing from, 

combined with a cookie on the browser they are using.

No matter of how many visits a visitor makes, if he is on the same device and same browser, only one unique visitor is counted.

 For example, if you visit this link once today, you will be counted as a unique visitor.

 If you come back to this site 20 more times today, you are still counted as one unique visitor.


WATCH THE BOUNCING BALL 

At the end of the day, the most important factor for growing your page views and unique visitors is content.

 If your content is not engaging and relevant to your users, they are going to "bounce" and never come back.

 The "bounce rate" is the percentage of visitors who come to your site and leave within a few seconds.

A high bounce rate indicates that visitors didn't like what they saw or didn't find what they were looking for.  

OUCH!


HAVE YOU GOT THE TIME?

The amount of time spent on the page indicates whether users are actually reading or watching what you're serving up.

The higher the average time on a page, the more engaged your audience is in that particular page.


THE LEGEND LIVES

Oh!  I just received the shirt I ordered for my Author's Table for next April.  How do you like it?


Saturday, August 27, 2016

HOW DO YOU WRITE A SERIES WELL?

Have you noticed how some books in a series stutter?

They keep stumbling over the need to bring the new reader up to speed 

at the expense of boring returning readers in a stuttering of origins.


{Coming In October}

Yet, creating a novel series is one of the best ways to build continuous momentum with your book marketing efforts.


BUT HOW DO YOU DO A SERIES WELL?

1.) THE ALPHA AND THE OMEGA

A good series will take years.  But you have to start with a strong foundation and a clear vision of where you want to go.

Like any trip, the success of your series depends upon the depth of your planning.

Sketch in the rough framework of your characters' journey ... 

BUT LEAVE IN SOME MYSTERY so that when a great idea occurs to you, you can work it into your narrative.

Make your CANVAS BROAD enough to have room for your tales to evolve along surprising paths.

Long-lived heroes make your task both easier AND harder.

I started the Epic of Samuel McCord with RITES OF PASSAGE set in 1853.  


My very next book was FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE set in 2005.


In essence, I bracketed McCord's life with a lot of room in the middle to tell the many adventures of his life.  

His life doesn't end in 2005 by the way.

Want to know how it will end?  

Read TALES TO BE TOLD AT MIDNIGHT soon to be an audiobook.

Want to see a good spread of his life? 

 Read HUNTER'S MOON that takes him from 1931 to 1943 to 2005.  (Also soon to be an audiobook).



2.) BREATHE LIFE INTO YOUR CHARACTERS


There are NO heroes or villains in real life ...

 just flawed individuals trying to make sense of their lives and pursue dreams that forever seem out of reach.

Know what makes your characters hurt, dream, sigh, or hate.  

Each person you meet on the street is a hero in the movie of their life.  

Make each of your characters like that.

And like real people, your characters must change over the span of your novel series. 

 Sam is achingly lonely in RITES OF PASSAGE.  

A bit giddy on his honeymoon air/steamship adventures in the NOT-SO-INNOCENTS series. 

In HER BONES ARE IN THE BADLANDS, Sam is devastated by the death of his life-long friend/son, Mark Twain.


He is trying to distract himself by making the first talking Western and 

creating the West that only exists in his imperfect memory of what he wanted it to be.


3.) YOUR SETTING IS A CHARACTER.

Researching your setting will give additional ideas on things that could happen in your novel.  

Characters and setting have a relationship that is unique to each of their natures.  

Sam is different in New Orleans than he was in 1895 Egypt.

The world has changed so much from when you were a child.  

Make it so change during the course of your series.

If your character is long-lived, how has the changing world impacted her or his view of himself 

and of his past ... his future?


4.) THE PAST IS NEVER DEAD

As William Faulkner wrote in Requiem for a Nun, "The past is never dead.  It is not even past."

In my last few McCord novels, 

I have snippets of his past as the first chapters that lead into the narrative of his current adventure.

You realize that his long life has consequences that have shaped him and sowed the seeds for current and later troubles.

I got the idea for doing this from the beginning of John Wayne's last film:



5.) JUST WHEN YOU LEARN THE RULES ...

One trap for a lead in a series is that 

as it progresses, she or he becomes so capable that it distances the reader from that character.  

Who worries about Superman making it out of a jam?

But life is just not that way.

Just when you learn the rules for one stage of life, it thrusts you into another where you have to learn a whole batch of new rules ... or fail.

McCord learns to do new, awesome things along the decades.  

But like a hero in a Greek tragedy, 

the more he does, the more mistakes he makes, causing heartbreak and disaster 

while sometimes winning the day but losing his peace of mind.

6.) TRUST THE READER

Have you ever come into a well-written TV show in the middle of an episode?

Usually you caught on fast enough.

Characters usually let the reader know where they stand with the world and other people with

their words and their actions.

If your first chapters are vivid and riveting, the reader will stay with your novel to find out what happens next.

TRUST THE READER. 



7.) DON'T FORGET TO CLOSE THE ARC DOOR

Each book in your series will have its own crisis with your series' major crisis looming overhead.

Your characters will fight, struggle, and overcome each book's self-contained dilemma ...

but your Book-Spanning Threat should impact each character in some way ...

with it creeping closer and seemingly unbeatable each novel ...

until with your last book, you resolve it in some believable way that costs dearly.  




WHAT SERIES HAVE YOU FOUND PARTICULARLY COMPELLING?

WHAT ELEMENTS OF THAT SERIES MADE YOU WANT TO KEEP READING 
ABOUT THAT WORLD AND ITS CHARACTERS?

Friday, August 26, 2016

the CATCH-22 CURSE of INDIE PUBLISHING

It is two-pronged ...

1) Unless you price your Indie Book Cheap few, if any, will buy it.

2) Cheap Books are seldom read, for they are thought to be inferior, hence their price.


The CATCH-22 CURSE


Price your book cheap enough to be bought, and it will not be read.


So what is the answer?

Heck if I know.

John Locke ruined The 99 cent price for Indie Authors. 

 Amazon now counts each sale of a 99 cent book as a half a sale in their rankings equations.


$2.99 used to be the "Just Right" Price.  

Yet, there are thousands of ebooks coming out each month.  

Most readers will not gamble on your book at that price.

There are just too many books by their friends to shell out that kind of money.


FREE cannot be maintained as a price on Kindle.  

Besides, even if it could, people take you at the value you place upon yourself.  

To most, FREE just means even you consider your work inferior.


PAY PER PAGE READ ... 


the new Amazon method makes it even worse when your book is bought but not read.

Previously, authors were paid a flat fee for every reader who downloaded their book:

typically around $1.30 per book. 

But after the change was introduced, they were instead paid six tenths of a cent for each page read, 

meaning that an author would have to write a 220-page book, and have every page read by every person downloading it 

to earn the same amount they had previously gotten.


WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON PRICING?


Thursday, August 25, 2016

SEX KILLS


Now, that I have your attention, I want to talk about ...

Sigh.  

All those whines about truth in advertising!  All right, be that way.  I'll tell you how sex kills:


1.) Cardiac Arrest

Ouch!  Engaging in sex can result in  an increased risk of 2-3 myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) and one sudden cardiac death per 10,000 person.


2.) Haemorrhage

 Experts say that indulging in sexual intercourse can trigger a subarachnoid haemorrhage as in bleeding into the subarachnoid space—

the area between the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater surrounding the brain via the Valsalva maneuver.  

Don't ask.  I'll blush.


3.) Infidelity

Police will tell you that the "deceased is usually married; 

he is not with a spouse and in unfamiliar surroundings," and death usually occurs after "a big meal with alcohol."

 So, men who were unfaithful were significantly more likely than those who were faithful to experience severe or fatal cardiac during sex.

Of course, the bullet from the jealous husband probably didn't help any either!


4.) Sex Drugs

Viagra use has been linked to sudden cardiovascular death during sexual activity among elderly or otherwise infirm men.

 Cocaine can also possibly contribute to unexpected deaths during consensual sex.


5.) Offering the Last Fae Money for Sex

As the Japanese businessman found out in the chapter, PREY FOR ME,  in THE LAST FAE!


Hey, I am trying to sell my fun book here!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1537255339/

WANT A FREE AUDIO BOOK 
OF THE LAST FAE?

 http://www.audible.com/B00DOZ7S1W/

JUST WRITE AN HONEST REVIEW OF 
DRAGONS OF THE BARBARY COAST
(ONLY 99 CENTS!)

 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KIJD108/

And I will send it to you.