I Am Not Writing About Writing

Okay, I am. I told myself I wouldn’t, but I am. I’ll lead with some news to fool myself…

I woke up to a couple interesting emails in my inbox. The first was from the staff at ConDFW. They’ve got the schedule put together so I know when I’ll be able to sneak off to the gaming room and when I need to sign, read, and chat with the fans. (A few things are still up in the air but as soon as I have the finalized details, I’ll post ‘em.)

If you’re in the DFW area, I highly recommend this local sci/fi con. For starters, I’ll be there. Also, a whole bunch of other local spec-fic writers, some you might not have heard of yet but you should definitely be reading.

Discovering new books is exciting. The NYT bestseller lists bore me to tears lately. Sure, any writer would love to sit atop that throne, but there’s something to be said for the originality of work that hasn’t been engineered and edited to strike some statistically perfect audience at the optimum time. Mid-lists, self-pub, small presses – these are places where crazy original ideas can thrive and niche works don’t get pulped before their time.

But discovery is the hardest part. Cranking out the next in a long line of teen-vampire-dystopian-chosen one books sometimes feels like the best option when you’re struggling to be heard. However, you can make a niche book work, you only need to be realistic about the costs involved and know how to reach that target market.

Speaking of which, the other email was from a writer’s discussion group I visit from time to time. There was a new post from a fresh-faced poet looking to self-publish her first book of poetry.

Poetry is one of those few cases where I would tell the potential self-pubber to shoestring budget that stuff. Like a dental floss budget if you can and still make it look presentable. Or combine it with solid artwork or photography to add another point of interest. Anything. ‘Cause poetry doesn’t sell.

The bestseller lists for poetry at Amazon are still littered with the work of hairy old white dudes that died over a hundred years ago. The majority of the rest are anthologies, not single author works, and those single author works that show up at all tend to be from a very exclusive group.

I’m not trying to dis poetry, the American public does that enough for me and they seriously won’t buy your book.

When you self-pub, you’re essentially going into business for yourself. You need to center your business around a product that stands a snowball’s chance of surviving an overcrowded hell. If you want to be a poet you need to either scrap for the few trad pub opportunities or find unique ways to market your words and get the most bang for your buck – maybe consider the backs of paper cups at Chipotle.  Anything, but don’t bank on that self-pubbed book of poetry being the profit on your balance sheet.

True, I just said that self-publishing is an amazing opportunity to get work out there which people might not otherwise see. But it can also be a trap for starry-eyed writers who feel that they are going to change the world with their words. Most likely you won’t.  What you will discover is how badly you want to make this writing gig happen for yourself.

What’s that You Say? New Releases?

insp_captkirk_5_At World Fantasy Con last year I was scheduled for a 10:30 PM reading. I got to compete with free booze in the Tor party suite and the not-free but very active scene in the hotel bar. So I started telling everyone about it two days before, tweeted incessantly,  and gave cool stuff away. (I see your free muffins muffin girl and raise you AN AMAZON GIFT CARD.)

SIGN UP FOR MY NEW RELEASE NEWSLETTER.

Right before the reading, I stood outside my assigned reading room intercepting everyone in the hall and telling them they had to hear this awesome guy read stuff. One girl said, “You’re kind of pushy.” I disagreed and guided her to a seat.

SIGN UP FOR MY NEW RELEASE NEWSLETTER.

I’ve got plans this year. Three books. One will be an anthology of tales from the Crimson Son universe. The next will be a two book fantasy series. Plus, I should have at least one short story being published in other venues with more stuff to come.

I’m shooting for the anthology in June. Then for the holidays, I’ll have (fingers crossed) the two books of First Song good to go – AT THE SAME TIME. No waiting to see if I have a heart attack before I finish the sequel. No three year hiatus while I go meditate in the woods.  No calling in some young hotshot writer to wrap things up better than I ever could.

SIGN UP FOR MY NEW RELEASE NEWSLETTER.

Ooooh. I might even VLOG…as soon as I figure out what the hell that is. (But I wouldn’t bug you about that on the new release list. You just gotta follow my social media to keep up with that…)

You don’t want to miss any of these things.

Or maybe you do.

If you do, be nice and don’t tell me. Writers have fragile egos. Well, most do. Me? I continue to be shameless.

SIGN UP FOR MY NEW RELEASE NEWSLETTER.

I don’t spam. I don’t give away email addresses. Heck, I haven’t sent a damn thing to the list yet. It only gets pinged when I have new stuff you must put in your face. And this year, I will have new stuff.

DO IT NOW!

Oooh! Shiny! Synchronizers!

Figures, first time on the Core, and what do I get to do? Dig through trash. Couldn't he send me shoppin' at the Tri-plex, or... Ooh! Synchronizers! I’m continuing along my brave quest into recently discovered indie frontiers. I’m shamelessly following a path blazed by the Immerse or Die report over at Creativity Hacker. That path is littered with the husks of cast off self-pub works which strike the ground every eight minutes or so. Of about 150 books, only 17 have survived the full forty minutes and I’m sorting through those for the good stuff.

Jefferson can be a fierce critic and his method leaves very little time for a book to make an impression. Some might argue that he isn’t giving the books a chance, but I’d say his three strikes you’re out policy and the timed nature of the review replicate the tough task every writer has in gaining a new audience. Whether you’re shopping your work to an agent or whether you have sample chapters up at Amazon, what you say in those first few pages and how you say it is crucial.

My latest read was LK Rigel’s Space Junque. It made the IoD list with one kudo and only one WTF. That in itself is pretty impressive.

5148nNw5OZL._SL250_Space Junque is a genre-busting sci-fi, dystopian, apocalyptic, romance with supernatural shit goin’ down in the background. That alone as a one-liner and I’m all in. I enjoy genre mash-ups and unconventional works. The biggest problem is in the execution. You’ve got to keep all the disparate parts from looking like a pile of indiscriminate salvage.

Char Meadowlark, a hydroponics agronomist, is headed off on a vacation from the scarred, war-torn place that is Earth so she can visit her brother-in-law on an Imperial Space station orbiting the planet. The Defenders of Gaia, a group of ruthless ECO-Terrorists, seem to have other plans. She finds herself sucked into a conflict and falling for her getaway pilot, Jake. As the plot unfolds, she discovers there may be supernatural forces at work reshaping the Earth under a mysterious divine plan.

All the elements are there. And the copyediting is solid. The cover is actually pretty damn good as well. But I found the internal consistency to weld all these parts together severely lacking.

The romance starts as Char and Jake are fleeing a terrorist attack where they both witnessed one of Jake’s crew get brutally eviscerated by a bomb. As Jake straps her into a seat on the Space Junque (his ship and their means of escape) she has this sudden fear that he’s going to grope her.

Granted, prior to this, she states the horror of the events had her not thinking clearly. Her brain was muddled. Okay, I get it. Stress, PTSD, whatever. That might work. Except later on, Jake confirms he had urges at that moment. Post-evisceration gropage urges.

Yeah. Too soon.

If that doesn’t earn a What. The. Fuck. I don’t know what should.

The biggest problem is that this isn’t the only time this sort of inconsistency happens. The action and our narrator’s attention span often skips around like a broken record. At the beginning, the main character is driving down a road and ghost heads are popping up like whack-a-mole in the fields and I have no clue what the hell these ghosts are. With the crazy genre mash-up, I’m going to Philip K. Dick acid-town in my head. But later we discover that “ghosts” are just slightly mutated people with a bad rap.

Okay…but why do they pop up in fields along the Interstate?

Other times, the romance feels forced and at equally inappropriate points in the story – like when Char and her brother-in-law (very shortly after she believes Jake has died) are lying low, watching as terrorists initiate the apocalypse. This girl has some bizarre fetishes.

The same disjointed storytelling and character motivation leads to several of the main plot twists falling flat. There’s one about giant birds that feels pretty consistent, but inconsequential, and the rest sort of drop in from planet ten.

I don’t want to say Space Junque is, well, junk. It isn’t. The insane genre mash-ups and a sort of Firefly feel to the crew and space ship adds a coolness factor (though one of the chapter titles is wholesale lifted from a Firefly episode title – which isn’t so shiny).  I only wish finding the synchronizers wasn’t such a tough job.

Wookies and Vibrators

No, really, the Wookie had a vibro-something

No, really, the Wookie had a vibro-something. MUARRRRRG.

Another weekend, another game night. A friend of mine enjoys hosting board game extravaganzas. He’ll invite everyone he knows to a board game night in hopes of playing DJ at some kind of Mountain Dew fueled rave where everyone’s slinging card-stock and polyhedrals until the wee hours.

At times, he’s drawn crowds big enough he needed to move things to a local game shop. These are the nights of Dixit, Cards Against Humanity and even Dix Against Humanity – party games with rules (or made up rules) that need little explanation.

Other times, we end up with a solid group of geeky-gamer types and break out the boxes with their own custom after-market inserts and clearly labeled ziplock baggies.  Games with enough rules that at least one procedural debate ensues. Usually more.

This last game night we managed a good mix of both.

The night started off with Smash Up, a competitive deck game that’s essentially Magic the shuffling. There’s no land or mana to fuss with, but you play creature and action cards from a deck made up of two different factions chosen at the start of the game. Each creature is deployed to “take over” a collection of randomly selected point-scoring bases. Points and rewards are given for winners and runners-up on each base,. The first person to score 15 points wins.

Being new to the game, we grabbed factions mostly at random. I chose Robot + Wizards (not in small part due to my current project, First Song) and quickly found out that the strategic faction choice I had blundered into was a good idea. Turns out, the Wizard faction relied on card draw and spamming actions while the robots spammed minions. All your base belong to us.

Pretty soon, the game became about how to keep the Eldritch Terminators from assimilating the world.

They couldn’t.

I enjoyed Smash Up and would play it again. It’s a low-learning curve deck game that allows for some advanced strategies and combos. There are definitely faction combinations that  synergize and some which don’t but with enough play-through, veteran players should be able to create some interesting match ups.

Next, we switched to Paperback, a deckbuilding version of Scrabble. Starting from a deck that included the Wheel of Fortune common letters (but no Vanna to flip them) and some wild cards, you build words from your hand each round. With these words, you earn money to buy letters and point-scoring “paperback” cards.

Paperback was fun, well-balanced, and had all the typical bonuses and drawbacks of a traditional deck-builder. I’d play again, but it wasn’t my favorite of the night.

And hats off to the winner, Victoria, for managing to spell “Communists” with what should have been a five card hand. All I can say is: M-*-O-TH-*-R -F -* -CK -ER, really? Next time I play, I’m going for swear words only.

We rounded out the night with the adventures of a nympho wookie, a remedial jedi, and their drunken commander as they tried to infiltrate an Imperial base and break shit.

No, Imperial Assault isn’t a Star Wars RPG. It’s like what I imagine playing DnD 4e is like…  Except they give you all the minis, cardboard map cutouts, and dice that you need to play the game all in a box you need an AT-AT to carry from place to place.

If you enjoy the tactical side of RPG combat, you will love Imperial Assault. If you don’t, this isn’t your game.

My Wookie and his vibrating axe cleaved and pierced stormtroopers by the boatload while the remedial jedi swung her PVC pipe like a champ (later earning the right to remove her padded helmet). The drunken commander stayed behind for the second mission (hangovers in space can be ROUGH) but his friend, AoE Trooper, joined us and together, we utterly frustrated the DM, errr, the Imperials, as we laid waste to the mission.

While not a true RPG, if you opt to play the campaign, your characters will earn experience, accumulate items and manifest new powers as they complete each mission. But be warned – the Imperial player does the same. However, Imperial Assault can just as easily be played as a tactical miniatures game without all the record-keeping fuss.

Us? We decided, tentatively, to play on and try to make it through the campaign. I’m curious if my wookie will ever be free of his addiction and if that jedi from the short-shuttle can earn something other than a safety lightsaber. Only time will tell.

Awards2014-Cover-Kay

The Eyes Have It

I’ve already Tweeted and Facebooked this bit of news, but I figure I’d add it to the ‘ol blog as well. Why? ‘Cause I got a pretty sweet badge to show off:

Awards2014-Cover-Kay

Really, thanks goes to the team over at Damonza for their willingness to go through several revisions on the cover. As a designer myself, I can get picky about even minor things. Truth be told, the cover you see is actually the third attempt after their first two didn’t quite capture the feel I wanted for the book.

Their design choices in the early stages had a lot to do with the problems I have in marketing this book. Early proofs were very much on a middle-grade / YA line where Crimson Son does not belong. Bright colors and imagery that felt more cartoon than graphic novel. But they were willing to give it another go and we finally ironed out the glitches.

Dark and a bit sinister, the cover fits more with the adult themes in Crimson Son. And the much talked about “eyes” were wholly their creation. They don’t at all match the eyes on any of the droids, but their tunneled appearance reflects so much of the other imagery in the book – from some of the psychic intrusions to the final military facility – that they are perfect for the cover.

Thanks also to the team at Bookie-Monster for both reviewing Crimson Son and even considering it for this award! If you get a chance, check them out – they’ve built a great team and an impressive fanbase all dedicated to hunting down books worth reading in the horde of words out there.

No Shade, Plenty of Darkness

Finally! Things can get back to normal around here. Me, being geeky. You, ROTFL at my amazing wit. Admiring my incredible insight into literature and geekdom and whatever else I have bamboozled you into believing I am an expert of.

But first, a quick thank you to everyone that retweeted, reposted, bought, borrowed, stole (okay, maybe not you guys) my just wrapped up Kindle Countdown for Crimson Son. More readers, more reviews, more fun. I can’t thank you enough for all the support you’ve given my solo-flight self over these past six months.

The toughest thing for any book is being found. The market is awash with books, self and traditionally published. Being seen and keeping your head above water, is tough. My sales ranking chart looks like an EKG hooked to a hamster in a wheel. Only rarely do books of any publishing type take off on a steep upward curve never to see the ground again. Discoverability is hard work and I’m here to help.

Century_of_Sand_RuzI’ve continued down my reading list of notable self-published books, happily stolen from Jefferson Smith over at Immerse or Die, with Century of Sand by Christopher Ruz.

To start, I was blown away by the quality of the writing. When I read the author’s note at the end, it wasn’t a shock that Ruz had an honorable mention in Writer’s of the Future under his belt. You could tell with each word that here was a author that took the craft seriously.

There is a story within a story here. A soldier and his mute daughter travel across a desert landscape to find an ancient power to protect them from their pursuer. The soldier has stolen two precious things from the Imperial Magician: a demon’s heart and his own daughter who’d been in the Magician’s very questionable care. Along the way, the soldier reveals to his daughter the secret surrounding their flight.

The prose is riveting and the descriptions rarely detract from the action or add more than is necessary. Yet everything is conveyed in a vivid style and you get a real sense of place and mystery as events unfold. The desert lands where they seek sanctuary are bleak and unforgiving.

These scenes where Richard and Ana encounter the scattered tribes run by warlords, mad priests and wary strangers are my favorite parts of the book. The bond shared by the two characters is well-developed and their sense of urgency is palpable on the page. The action is swift and brutal and the atmosphere is perfect.

Interlaced with the story of Richard and Ana, is a tale about another soldier who traveled alongside the Magician and became his lover. Parkin’s tale is relayed to Ana by Richard as they cross the desert in search of a way to stop the Magician. This second story dovetails nicely with the main plot in the end and adds an interesting twist to the big reveal.

My only complaint was a bit of an uneven experience with the story’s protagonist, Richard. At times, I couldn’t quite understand his motivations and I had trouble getting a feel for his character. His relationship with a warlord ally later in the book often tread over the same ground and there felt like that unevenness crept into the overall story. Ruz’s plotting seemed at his best when things were desolate and bleak and the intrigue surrounding their final destination occasionally felt rushed, or forced.

None of that nitpicking however would prevent me from recommending Century of Sand to any fantasy reader, especially those looking for fantasy of a darker, grittier variety. Century is an excellent example of how self-published works can easily meet or, in fact, exceed traditionally published standards. The book is well worth your time and I’ll definitely be downloading the sequel, The Ragged Lord and eagerly waiting book three.

Keeping My Towel for the Blood, Sweat and Tears

Fortune Teller Zoltar

2015 is gonna be BIG (see what I did there…)

Normally people use New Year’s blog posts to talk about the past. Top ten lists take over the web (more than normal). The best and worst of a year gone by. I’m going to touch on that, but only to lead into where things are going. 2014 was a mixed bag but I’m mostly excited about what’s to come.

For the past year, I’ve been continually rediscovering the truism that being a self-published author is hard work. I’ve talked about that plenty of times before. So much so, I don’t even want to try and link them all. However, being any kind of author is hard work.

Kameron Hurley had a very frank and enlightening post on her blog about her experiences so far with small and large presses and how she “almost threw in the towel”. (What I find interesting is she had to go nearly full-on self pub levels of promo and marketing to help turn things around…) I think every creative professional goes through that. At least once.

People see words on a page and think it’s easy. Often, they see paint on a canvas and think the same. What we don’t hear about is exactly how much of a bitch the muses can be. Or how much time is put into those words. I mean, you hear about it, but it’s usually couched in angsty, “only writers can understand” sort of bunk.

From a sheer numbers perspective, when you sell a book, rarely do you even think of the time component involved in writing that book. Sure, you have deadlines and yes, many authors develop a knack for cranking out novels at a record pace, but pulling those tens of thousands of words out of your head, worrying over them, shaping them only to scrub them clean and start again takes serious time and effort. When the books are sold and the advances paid, rarely do you look back and wonder if it was worth it. You don’t have the time: the next book is due.

I was surfing another site and an author who’d been in the game for nearly 20 years was sharing his earnings to date. I believe he had twelve books out, maybe more, and his chart showed a nice upward climb with a few peaks and valleys, but overall, an upward momentum.

The most telling thing to me was the blank space. The early years. It was the inverse of the opposite end. Stretch out all those dollars and the curve gets pretty flat.

Creative people rarely end up “on top”. I’m currently hammering away at a .99 cent sale simply to get my book into as many hands as possible. I’m probably never going to get rich and if I do, it will have been at the expense of who knows how many hours of bleeding on a page and staring down sales reports. (Sure, some writers win the lottery first time out, but if that’s what I wanted, I’d get a 9-5 and buy scratch offs. It would make my life easier.)

Six months now since my first release and I’ve done everything. Made mistakes, lost money, made money, lost it again – you name it. But I’m not ready to throw in the towel. In fact, for 2015, I’m stepping up production.

I’ll soon be sending book one of First Song in for developmental edits from members of my critique group. I’ve mentioned the project before. It’s a fantasy novel with a bit of a twist: Tolkien meets Kafka on the Ganges. Sidge, the protagonist, is an Ek’Kiru – a member of a bug-humanoid race who grew up in a human temple on the edge of an eternal storm. He wants nothing more than to follow the path of his brothers and his Master, but gets caught up in earth-shaking events and enthralled by a world-wise harlot, Kaaliya, who is everything he is not. Leading him on this identity crisis pilgrimage is a clockwork man in a skin suit who serves an ancient power.

Next, I want to return to the Crimson Son universe. I’d like to produce several superhero short stories and compile a novella-length anthology. Two of these, Alter Ego and Fat Man and Little Boy are freely available on this site. I then want to release another short anthology, possibly around Halloween, with humorous tales of monsters who aren’t quite so monstrous.

Finally, I hope to have book two of First Song completed this year as well. It should wrap up Sidge’s story and maybe lead into more adventures there.

Beyond that? Who knows. For now, I’m gonna keep the towel to mop up the blood sweat and tears. I may need to toss it at some point, but not yet.

New Year’s Demotivational Sale

You could do this...or just pick up a book.

You could do this…or just pick up a book.

Okay people, time for resolutions and hard work. Time to promise our partly buzzed New Year’s selves that we’ll live better. Longer. Healthier. And somewhere along the way develop six-pack abs.

Let’s get real.

None of us will do those things. Our treadmills will continue to serve as a convenient place to stub toes during midnight snack runs and we’ll keep eating our All-American diet of sugar, high-sugar sugar, and enough fats and oils to fuel a rocket to the moon.

Or maybe we will.

Either way, whether you’re sitting on your ass building up some extra weight to promise to lose for next year’s resolution, or you’re grinding away on the treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike – you’ll need something to read.

So, to fulfill my own resolution of selling the bejeezus out of my book, the Crimson Son e-Book is going ON SALE NOW from January 6th to the 11th!

Only 99 cents for killer robots, snark, emotional tear-jerker things, and geriatric superheroes all wrapped up in a story that lets you know there’s nothing wrong with not having those six-pack abs.

Heroic Resolve

Down to the wire, the heroes let a dinosaur eat the supervillain. Lawsuit to follow.

Down to the wire, the heroes let a dinosaur eat the supervillain. Lawsuit to follow.

Back from a Christmas vacation on the beach and I’m just about to head out again to visit family. It was a working vacation – polishing up the first draft of my next novel. I think I’m at that point in my writing where I need to be away from the world to get serious work done. When I’m at home I’m too busy blogging, marketing, checking local retailers, sorting through email, tweeting, liking, plussing, blah, blah, blah.

I resolve to fix that this year. No more distractions.

Oh, wait. What’s that you say, Kindle? I have Amazon coins about to expire? And what’s this? Sentinels of the Multiverse for my Kindle?

Damnit.

I’ve got to say, the app is a wonderful recreation of the game. In fact, It one-ups the physical version by handling all the late game bookkeeping that comes from having the playing field strewn with equipment, ongoing effects and multiple instances of powers. Also includes some original art in the same vein as the card game such as heroes going from healthy to bloodied to defeated – a nice little touch.

Want multiplayer? Just pass around your device. Single? The touchscreen makes it easy to manage the board, zoom into cards, and stop mid-action to review what’s in play before making a decision.

I finished a game last night in which I was able to engineer a victory by having Baron Blade -eaten- by an Enraged T-Rex (part of the environment hazards of Insula Primalus.) Possibly the most epic ending I’ve had to a game of Sentinels, card-based or digital.

Luckily I had the chance to play three rounds so far on the plane ride and here at home. That’s out of my system for a bit so now I can get back to writing.

Then again….

While making my purchase at the game store I ran across a free app, Pixel Dungeon. A rogue variant with 8-bit graphics and super addictive gameplay. You’re a brave adventurer in a dungeon full of traps, monsters and mystical items. True to the original dungeon crawl PC games, this is a do or die, perma-death game where if the hazards don’t get you, hunger very likely will.

I’ve burned to death drinking unidentified potions, been devoured by ooze and succumbed to a fetid rat while the ghost of his last victim watched me die. And that’s all the fun stuff. Because running around worrying about losing all the gear you collected, hunting for scraps of rations, and licking the dew off plants for moisture is terrifying.

Dying is almost a relief, but then you click “start new game”…and still don’t write things. Other than a blog post. About those games. And your Kindle stares mutely while you type…

Gotta go. Write. Yes, that’s it.

Before I do, a word of warning: If you have Amazon coins that are about to expire or happen to get an Amazon gift card (and already have Crimson Son) then run. Run far away. DO NOT download games onto your blessed Kindle which has until now been a device for literature and enlightenment. Just don’t.

A belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!

Rewarding Noise, Drowning the Signal

You may have noticed a certain lull in my social media presence. A dialing back on the number of tweets. Fewer quips sent to the facebook feed. Maybe even the less regular appearance of my little nuggets of wisdom here on the blog (or bullshit, depends on your perspective).

As I mentioned before, the main reason is my frantic attempt to finish the current Work In Progress. I’m a few months behind a self-imposed schedule, but the good news is that this may very well break into two books. A duology if you will. (‘Cause I seriously can’t do anything normal, like, say, a trilogy.)

The other reason is that after nearly a year of tracking social media stats, I’ve started to re-evaluate how I approach things. Social media is a great way to keep in touch with an existing fanbase. Unfortunately, it is nearly useless for sales or even building a true fanbase.

Why? The signal to noise ratio is VAST.

Despite this, now there are rumblings that many of the major platforms – Twitter, Facebook and even Google+, are going to start looking for ways to monetize posts made by authors.

Honestly, this is absurd. And mostly for the reason listed above: Social Media in itself does not sell books.

Due to that signal to noise ratio, the conversion rates are terrible. If you slap up a post linking to your sales page, you might get a response rate somewhere less than 2% and usually under 1%.

On Facebook, you already have to pay fees to actually serve posts to all of your fans. Your posts show only to a small fraction of those that have “liked” your creative efforts. The rest are kept in the dark until you shell out some cash.

Not only are the response rates low,  in the process of learning the ropes about self-publishing and marketing, I determined that the money I did spend on social media was not even close to recovered in either sales or exposure. I saw in pretty, color-coded detail on my Excel spreadsheet how my activity levels on the various platforms had no correlation to sales figures. There is simply way too much bullshit floating around social media for you to be heard, paid post or no.

Yet, in the near future, simply having a presence on social media may start draining my shoestring pocket book. In 2015, Facebook plans to launch changes that could charge automatically for the following kinds of posts:

  • Updates about a new book release.
  • Updates about a book launch and/or event.
  • Updates about Rafflecopter and other giveaways.

They won’t however, charge for these:

  • Updates about blogging articles that interest you and your connections.
  • Updates that pose questions.
  • Updates that share quotes.
  • Updates that share cartoons and memes.
  • Updates that ask for opinions. (This one may be cloudy, especially if the opinion solicited is in regard to a book cover. I just don’t know.)

(List courtesy The Write Conversation.)

In other words, the more “noise” I have on my page, the less I will pay. Any relevant posts which actual fans might want to see? Well, that’ll cost money. And since I know the conversion rates? I know it’s a waste.

Rumor has it, the other social media platforms are looking at the same.

As much as I love to share cat pictures, videos of guys taking a shot to the groin, and sensationalized comments about whatever Upworthy shocker happens to be making the rounds, I don’t think my pages should exist simply to add to that already lopsided signal to noise ratio. I want people who visit my sites to find exactly what they are looking for: my books.

I may occasionally Tweet, or Like, or Pin or Tumble or +1, but that is entirely secondary to my desire to make shit up and have other people read it. I entertain with pixelated words or ink on dead trees. I sell these for ridiculously reasonable prices and if you feel inclined, you can buy them so I can keep making more.

What I won’t do is pay for the privilege to mention those books to an audience my efforts have cultivated. Especially if those platforms where I built those audiences reward so much pure noise that my message will be instantly lost on their feeds and my fan’s time ultimately wasted.

In the meantime, the absolute best way to find out when my books are released is by signing up here.