Bread and Butter Books

Some of you may not know, but I tried to be a potter. I was decent at it, too. I loved the tactile sensation of the soft yet rough clay. The instant gratification of it yet knowing it wasn’t done yet. That I could take that wet, smooth, delicate thing and turn it into a hard, functional, object of beauty. And sell it! There’s money in pottery, especially in this area. It’s expensive as heckaroni to start up. It’s a horrible Catch-22 situation. To make good stuff to sell, you need good equipment. From the wheel to the kiln to tools to clay to materials for glazes. You get the idea.

One thing about pottery is most of us had our pots we loved to make but for various reasons, they didn’t sell that well. Often the reason was because we had to sell them at a higher price. Pottery ain’t cheap! And then there were pots we hated to make yet they sold faster than we could produce them. We called those pots “bread and butter pots”. We made what we didn’t like in order to afford to make what we loved the craft for.

Now that I am a writer, I really really want to write science fiction and fantasy. Yet they don’t sell that well. Not in the lesfic niche market. What does sell is romance. Holy cow! Lesbians love their romance! And for good reasons! But dangit, I don’t like writing romance. It’s tough for me to write. Butch Girls Can Fix Anything was a fluke I think. And after eight (yes, eight) years, it is still selling like mad.

Since it first came out in early 2007, it has sold 3226 copies. That number may not mean much, I know. Heck, I don’t know much about it either since I have nothing to really compare it to. Except since Regal Crest started doing ebooks, sales took off. Of that number above, 2007 of those are ebooks. Amazing, isn’t it? No, print books aren’t dead, far from it. But ebooks aren’t going away.

I often wonder if BGCFA sells so well as an ebook because of the title. I mean, do you want to sit on the bus and read the paper version of a book with that name? Or would you rather hold you tablet or reader so the title is hidden? Same with a lot of lesfic titles, I suppose. And no, I’m not removing “Butch Girls” from the title of the other books.

Meanwhile, To Sleep has only sold 132 total copies in its first year (compared to BGCFA’s 605). I love that series and those that have read it, and have told me they did, have liked it too. I’ve read a few Amazon reviews that were negative and I appreciate them. I’d like to hear from more folks who read it and didn’t like it. There’s THREE more in The Soliloquy series and I can’t fix what I don’t know is broke. Ya know?

With these sales numbers, it means 2015 will be the Year of Romance for me. I am going to put out at least one of these, more if I can, but I don’t want to set goals (again) and set myself up to fail (again). I am not a hobby writer. Let me repeat that. I am not a hobby writer. I am in this for the long haul. This is my job, as much of a job as I can do. Writing takes up several spoons and I need the right ones in place. I am lucky to have a partner who has a stable job that allows us to be comfortable but we could use my additional income from book sales to take care of extras and to put into this thing we keep hearing about called “savings”.

So, those of you who like SF and F? BUY THEM! Tell everyone else to buy them, too. Don’t buy used. Don’t borrow or share. Buy them new. It tells the publisher that they are worth offering contracts to writers. It tells writers they are worth writing. It gets them out of our heads and desktop folders and into your hands. I am lucky that my publisher (who I heart muchly) takes risks on that genre. To Sleep has not yet earned back its investment. Our hope is the release of To Dream will increase sales.

New Book Venue

(bolding of text is mine)

Announcement:

We are very excited to announce the opening of our new web store, ACE Books and More. You can find it at www.acebooks.biz. The “ACE” in ACE Books and More is short for Allied Crest Editions. Our logo is a crest because we are the affiliate bookstore of Regal Crest Enterprises, LLC (RCE) and we provide direct distribution of RCE titles – high quality books in many genres – to both retail and wholesale customers. Every customer is important to us and we will do our very best to make sure you are satisfied with any order you place.

We are currently featuring pre-orders for the July 10th releases, and you can get those titles at $4 off the cover price. Those titles include: Struck by Keith Pyeatt, Tropical Convergence by Melissa Good and Tunnel Vision by Brenda Adcock. Besides getting these books at a lower price you will not have to wait for the official release date to roll around before your order is shipped, a benefit of ordering from ACE.

All Regal Crest titles are in the store ready for purchase. We will be adding eBooks and also some merchandise items in the near future.

Since 1999, our focus has been dedicated to producing books of the highest quality and to running a company based on respect. We intend that this new venture, ACE Books and More, will continue the drive for excellence, integrity and quality that supporters of RCE have come to expect and that ACE too will be worthy of bearing a crest that is the mark of distinction.

Happy reading!

I’m thrilled with this new site. It is smooth, nice, and freakin’ fantastic to have all RCE authors’ books in one place. Enjoy and happy reading!

Adoring Fans

Fans come from the strangest places.

Friday I helped someone (I’ll call her J) move from her parents’ place to her own place. She was living in a Class C camper (meaning it had a cab and an engine) in her parents’ back yard. Also living in the camper was her husband and two of her kids. The new place is a mobile home with tilting floor but it has plenty of space compared to the camper! These folks are doing the best they can with what they have. The kids are cool and the husband, while slightly deranged, is also cool.

J. is a waitress at my version of “Cheers”: Waffle House. She’d heard I’d written a book and told me she wanted a copy for her sister (who is a lesbian). I got her two copies so she could read it too. She hasn’t finished it yet (bet its kinda hard to read in that cramped camper) but she shared it with her mother. I met her mom Friday. This woman was ecstatic to meet me. Why? Because I have a published book that she is reading. She is intrigued with knowing a writer and loves the book (she’s not finished with it either). While the guys loaded a car after loading my truck (I think it was load #2), I got to sit on the porch with J’s parents. It was a fun (and too short!) conversation about marriage, people, kids, neighbors, and life as we saw it.

Her mom wants another BG book and isn’t interested in a Fantasy novel. Her husband (J’s husband, that is) said if butch girls can fix anything then he’s gonna line up a bunch of stuff for me. Sigh. Men, tsk.

Amazon Ranking Part 3

Got some more info via linkages:

The Guardian (UK): Amazon’s de-ranking is not just a glitch

AfterEllen.comAmazon’s “Glitch” Myth Debunked

Google News search results for “Amazon Glitch”

Google News search results for “Amazon Rank”

The page for Butch Girls Can Fix Anything now has the book listed in the category of “Books” but nothing else. Whoo Hoo. I feel better now.

Amazon Ranking

Amazon.com, Amazon.com – wherefore art thou brains? Thou hast filled them with shit and verily I say unto you, thou hast really fucked up. Again.

Here’s the short story: Amazon.com has a thing called “ranking” that is based on the number of sales. So the higher a book is on that sale, the more likely the books is to show up on various related pages. The lower a book’s sale ranking, the less likely it will show up anywhere, including searches. Sounds reasonable in some realities. The problem now is that Amazon.com has decided to de-rank a bunch of books that they consider “adult”. Again, sounds reasonable in some realities.

However, and this is a big however, their concept of “adult” is very narrow. Almost all GLBTQ books have been de-ranked. Not just the erotica, but romance and non-fiction. Playboy’s books are still up there as are Kuschiel’s Dart (and related books). Why are they not considered “Adult” and have their rankings removed?

I could go on but I won’t. Instead, read more from these fine folks:

Okazu: Amazon De-ranks “Adult” Books
In Protest of Amazon’s new “adult” policy (an online petition site; the information is in the small, scrollable window at the top and you can click the “view whole petition” link on the left)
Mark Probst – Amazon Follies
Booksquare’s “Open Letter to Amazon Regarding Recent Policy Changes”
Kelley Eskridge – Tell Amazon They Are Wrong

And the Smart Bitches have gotten in on it, too. As someone else said, “Heaven help Amazon now!”. With their post “Amazon Rank”, they’ve come up with the perfect solution. A non-violent, non-name calling, mature method based on proven results: a Google bomb. A Google bomb is when folks across the great Internet use similar words that all link to the same thing. This worked well a while back when some of us had trouble from a nasty pseudo-agent. Every time her name was mentioned, a link was used to point to an article proving her lack of ethics. This meant that any search for her name resulted in the article being in the top five or so of the search results. The idea was to warn any newbie writer to stay away from her.

The Smart Bitches have created a new definition to go into the Internet lexicons: Amazon Rank. The idea is that whenever someone uses the term Amazon Rank, they link back to the page they created that has the definition. Try it now. Go to Google and type in Amazon Rank. What pops up first? Other search engines don’t react as quickly to this kind of trend. But they will.

Here is a screenshot of a Harry Potter book set:

Now here is my book:

So, bad example to use mine anyway since it never got very far up the rankings. Here is Lee Lynch’s “The Swashbuckler”. A classic that has been around a long time so it should have a decent rank, right?

Funny thing is, other books that somehow got rankings outside the Lesbian/Gay bits still have rankings showing. Here’s Brenda Adcock’s “The Sea Hawk”.

I was about to make a big purchase from Amazon. I was going to get two music CDs, several books, and an iTouch. The shopping cart total sits at about $600. Not now. There are other places to shop from. Depending on how they handle this, I may never shop there again. If my queer book isn’t good enough to be in the rankings, then my queer money isn’t good enough to line their pockets.

BG2

BG2 is, actually, BG1 since it was started first. But BG1 became BGCFA because it was finished first. There is also a BG3 and BG4 already started. BG2 now sits at 38291 words, just 51709 words short of its final goal of 90K. Why do I do this to myself? Why do I do the math like that? “Just 51709 words short”…shit, who am I kidding? It might was well be 100709.

Yeah, I’m having faith issues. Faith in my ability to write a novel well enough to justify it being 90K words. I don’t like padding a novel (adding in stuff just for the sake of adding to the word total) but I am not above adding in scenes that further the story along while at the same time it pushes it toward the word count goal. Hell, at this point, I just want to reach 60K. Way short of the goal, but at that point, the story is either sinking or swimming. 30K is where I usually falter on a story which is why I have so many at that point. At 60K, I am heading down the hill toward the finish either in a good way or just wanting to get the damn thing finished.

Kinda like a bad date. You don’t care what happens, just as long as you can get the date over and get home before you poke your eyes or ears out.

BG2 doesn’t even have a freakin’ title. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with it. BG1 started as a title and exploded from there. BG3 has a title but I really want to get this one done first. Bless its heart, it keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the pile. BG2 is about Nikki Rogers and Ellen Hess who meet on line and start an “intentional” relationship. In what I have so far, they’ve just loaded Ellen and her stuff to move down to High Pond, NC. Now the story shifts away from “will we/won’t we” to “pick up your socks”. BG1 was furthered along with various misunderstandings because no one trusted anyone else, not really. This book is more about facing things head on and dealing with them face to face, not letting something simmer.

Any ideas for a title? So far I have “Butch Girls Can Fix Anything”, “Butch Girls and Stereotypes”, and “Butch Girls, Barbecues, and Babes” (although that one isn’t started yet, just running around in my head). Several folks have commented that they really don’t like the “Butch Girls” words so I am considering dropping that sort of. But hell, I gotta write the damn things first, right?

So, I’ll need beta readers soon. Folks who can tolerate romance and give feedback other than “I loved it!!!”. No timeline yet, but soon.

Whoo-Hoo!!

Ah! This feels good! I am up to and past chapter 20/page 72. Now is when Grace and Kelly open their eyes to what is right in front of them. They still have some stuff to go through first, but the comparison is about to start.

I wonder why I write romance. Basically because I am intrigued with the idea of getting two people together. That love can get folks to do stupid things, good things, impossible things. That romance, the wooing and cooing to entice the other, still exists. Am I a romantic at heart? Dangit, yes. But shhh, don’t tell anybody!

I want to write fantasy books, The Graced is my effort into that realm. Good vs evil type stuff. Aren’t we all? Isn’t that one of the basics of our existence? We can’t ride that fence. We either make a conscious choice or we just do.

I have another theory. The world revolves around priorities. Not necessarily just on the ‘must’ priorities, but also, and probably more, on the ‘want’ priorities. And those two switch places at random. Which choice is ‘good’? Which choice is ‘evil’ or ‘not good’?

A person meets someone he/she is interested in and decide to make a commitment to each other. Because our person already owns a house, they decide that they will live in that house, together. Now, which is the priority? truly sharing? or holding onto what he/she alone worked hard to pay for?

Lorna and I have been together for 14 and 1/2 years. Over the years our priorities have changed, evolved, even metamorphed into things we never considered. Have we always had the same priorities? hell no! I don’t want to live with my clone! *shudder*

At any rate, I ramble again.