Some losses hurt more than others

A man who brought so much laughter into the world is gone.  I think the world just became a little bit darker when the news went out last night about Robin Williams.

It’s a miserable sort of week… I have to bury a friend tomorrow and now, looking at all the articles about Robin Williams, it makes me that much sadder.

RW 2014

The movie Patch Adams is probably my favorite RW movie, because it’s got such a true message to it, and the man behind the story, the real Patch Adams seems like an amazing man, who has viewed medicine differently from the beginning. If we could get the rest of the world to see through his eyes, maybe we could change how often people are lost to suicide.

This is from an old CNN interview, but the real Patch was asked about what he thought of Robin Williams portraying him in the movie and Dr. Adams replied:

 “I think Robin himself is compassion, generosity and funny…”

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That’s a pretty powerful mark to leave on the world, and a beautiful gift he gave while he was here.  That he offered so much joy while there was that much pain inside him is heartbreaking.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Depression is an ugly, vicious bitch and it lies.  You’re not alone. There are people who love you and people who care.  Reach out when you need it.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255

Later today, we have a visitation for the friend I lost a few days, an old man who had the kindest, purest, gentlest heart of anybody I’ve ever known.

It’s going to be a rough for days, especially for me and my husband. Later this week, I think we’ll watch Mrs. Doubtfire with the kids. Laughter is good for the soul.

Treasure the people you have you in your life. Never take any of them for granted.

 

Quote via Chasing the Frog & Dr. Patch Adams | Image Patch Adams movie © Universal
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Job opening

Spam me, and I reserve the right to mock you.

Which I’ll do.  I got this in my email…seriously.  I added my thoughts in bold.

- Requires five years customer service experience or two years general office experience …well.  I do work in my office.  Sometimes in my jammies.  Or yoga pants.  Does that count?
- A strong work ethic and positive attitude … a positive attitude?  Clearly you don’t know who you’re talking to.
- Wide Inter-personal skills, organization skills, strong analytical ability … um… or gan izah shun…you got me.  I’ve no idea what this word means.  Let me go google–ack!  MY EYES… MY EYES!
- Must have experience, confidence, and ability to conduct security briefings and interviews when required … can I record these briefings and post them to youtube?
- Must have experience executing vendor contracts and price negotiation skills … so check. The vendors get the highest costs they want.  They got families. Right?
- Knowledge of word processing, database, and spreadsheet software … well.  I can help you with the word processing thing, but to the rest, you’re on your own.
- No drug misdemeanors within the past 5 years and ability to pass a drug screen … but if I’ve got a drunk driving record or broke into the bank across the way, that’s all good, right?

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Why Amazon & BN reviews matter

I had a reader ask me why the Amazon & BN reviews matter… 

dreamstime free

I’ve noticed you’ve been pushing for more reviews…the book club thing and periodic requests for reviews, etc on twitter, FB.  I don’t ever pay attention to them.  I ask friends or go to blogs.  Store reviews just don’t matter to me.  What’s the big deal?

Well, bottom line… they are a very big deal.

I can’t claim a lot of hard knowledge on this but these are some of the things I’ve discovered with selfpublishing.  The number of reviews I received on Blade Song helped get me some of the ‘promo’ deals, like the daily deals, which actually benefits readers, too.

But again, this is just stuff that’s either been my experience or things I’ve learned in workshops, etc.  None of this has come straight from the horse’s (Amazon/BN’s) mouth.

Reviews at Amazon and BN add up to two key things:

  • ‘discoverability’
  • ‘promo’ offerings from online retailers offer (sales, etc)

 

So what’s with the ‘promo’ thing and what does that matter?

The promo thing translates to sales…and who doesn’t like sales, right?

X number of reviews can lead to things like

  • ‘daily deals’
  • ‘gold box’
  • other stuff


 Reviews alone aren’t going to get the daily deals, gold box deals, etc.  The majority of the reviews need to be positive.  Your pub has to push for the deal, there’s wrangling and hassling, etc.  I didn’t do any of it to get the daily deal… Inscribe did it all for.

But it’s not just the promo thing.  Increased reviews leads to increased discoverability.  You show up in search results more…people who looked at this also looked at…etc, I think.

If people aren’t seeing your book, they can’t buy your book.

Once you hit X amount of reviews on Amazon (and I think BN), you move into a different ‘algorithm’ which means your books show up more on book searches.  When your books pop up, more people see them.  If your books aren’t popping up a lot, then people can’t see them to buy them.  Decreased book sales will eventually lead to your publisher deciding not to renew your contracts…and that leads to canceled series.  Which has happened to me twice.

Yes, the readers looking for you will find you, but the casual buyer?  Not so much.  The browsing days in a bookstore are fading so the discoverability factor for online shoppers is becoming crucial.

The market is getting tough and yes, reviews are important, more now than ever.  You don’t have to be a professional reviewer… just say…hey, I liked this book and here is why.  Or even…this book didn’t appeal as much…and this is why.  I don’t want to be that author who is constantly begging for reviews, but if you enjoy a book of mine, if you feel inclined to leave a review, posting it to Amazon or BN is a huge help and I very much appreciate it.  :)

 

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Do you have Qs?

I think I need to update my FAQ page…

 

I’m getting a bunch of the same ones…

 

Are you writing a series about Zach’s brothers?

What happened to Puck?  

Are you seriously making us waiting until 2014 for Broken Blade?

Is/Why can’t the Kit books be audio?  

Why don’t you have more books in audio? Is Stolen part of a series?

These are the normal ones.

Do you have more? Leave them in comments.  If there’s a theme, I’ll send about updating or adding a second FAQ page.

 

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Randoms Qs… answered

Just a post of random Qs I’ve been getting alot…

Will BROKEN BLADE BE OUT ANY SOONER THAN 2014

Highly unlikely.  I just finished it.  It now has to go to the editor 1. Come back to me. Go back to her.  Come back to me. Go to copyeditor.  I’d like to find another copyeditor. I might ask for a couple of select beta readers who are very good at finding typos.  It needs cover art.  It needs a blurb.  It needs to get uploaded to the distribution platforms and reviews.  All of this takes time.  All of this is important, on my end, because in order for me to be able to continue these books, they have to do well, and this is the process that has worked so far, so I can’t skip these steps.  I’m sorry.

Will the Kit books come to audio/be in print?

They will be released in print.  Book 1 is already in print.  The second book is in progress, will hopefully be ready in mid-March, April at the latest.

Audio?  Not very likely. From what I’ve been told, most audio pubs don’t tend to take on indie titles and I’ve self pubbed these books. I’d love to see it happen, but I’m not going to bet on it.  I’m sorry.  I can’t do it myself…I’ve looked into it and it’s financially just not feasible (I’d have to mortgage a kidney if I wanted to do it right).

Will WRECKED be in audio?

I’d love for that to happen!  So far…it hasn’t.

Will there be more FBI psychics?

Yes…two this year, actually…there’s a novella coming from Samhain, called THE UNWANTED (more on that later) and THE PROTECTED.

Will you be at …. (Romantic Times, RWA, Lori Foster’s, Authors After Dark, RomCon etc, etc, etc)?

I will be at RT…you can find me in the bar, at this panel, at the indie expo and at the book fair.  Tweet me! I’m @shilohwalker.

I will be at Lori Foster’s… always!

I don’t know about Nationals…I’m still trying to decide.

I won’t be at Authors After Dark… I’ve tried to get on the author list, but they limit author registration and I haven’t ever been invited.

RomCon doesn’t ever work out timing wise.

will be at this cool new event in Sandusky…Speed Reader Weekend… coasters and racing, fun, huh?

I’ll be at a local event in Madison, Indiana on March 16, signing from 11-2.  It’s at THAT BOOK PLACE, and you can read about it here.

Two other things that will involve booksignings…I’m attending the Washington Area Romance Writers Retreat and there’s a pre-retreat booksigning at Turn the Page. That’s in April.  There’s one other thing coming up but I don’t have much info on it yet.

WHAT DID YOU DO TO KIT IN NIGHT BLADE!!!

I am not telling you.  You will have to read the book.  But I’m told it’s worth it.  You might want chocolate, kleenex and wine, though. I’m told it helps.

 

 

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About the Hunters

The series was canceled by the publisher early this year, as previously mentioned on the blog. I’m still getting a lot of emails asking about continuing the series, why I’m not pursuing self-publishing, why I’m not trying to continue with it…etc…

Sooooo…there are a number of reasons.  Time, money, the drop in sales, etc.

  1. The drop in sales…While writing is definitely what you can call a labor of love, just laboring on something isn’t going to help me meet my obligations as a person…as a mom with kids, as a wife, a partner in a marriage, etc.  We’ve got bills.  Loving to write and putting out words doesn’t meet those obligations.  Spending time on a series that isn’t paying out very well is taking away time from the books that are helping me to meet my obligations.  I realize boiling it down to the numbers isn’t anything readers want to hear, but it is something I have to consider. Something that really sucks is how many thousands of pirated copies of the Hunters books I’ve had to fight to get off the net…maybe if even 10% more of those who had pirated had just bought the damn books instead, I might consider investing the time in trying to pursue it, but I’ve seen the numbers on my end and I just don’t know it’s the wisest biz decision.
  2. Money… Yes, that word again, but not for the same reasons.  Self-publishing is expensive. Contrary to what some people make it out to be, you don’t just slap a book together and throw it up on Kindle/Nook.  I invested close to $1000 upfront for formatting, editing, covers, distribution and promo on Blade Song and the sequel cost more, because the editorial work on Blade Song (typos, etc) wasn’t as good as it could have been, so I invested in a better line editor for book 2.  This series is going very well, though, and it’s worth it, on my end, because I’ve seen that investment pay off.  I will be honest…if I hadn’t seen a return on that investment, and a profit, I wouldn’t have gone forward with book two.  I can’t spend money and time on something that isn’t going to work out, business wise.  And it all comes back to that, in the end. I love writing.  I want to do this for the rest of my life.  Which means, I have to make wise business decisions…if I’m spending time and money on things that aren’t working out for me, (that means…making a profit)…then I can’t keep writing, I have to go back to nursing and there are no more books. Considering the drop in sales with the Hunter series, I question whether it would be a wise decision to pursue self-publishing it, especially with the upfront cost.  Plus…I can’t afford it at this point.
  3. Time… This is a doozy.  There are 24 hours in a day and nothing we do or say will change that fact.  I can only write for so many hours in a day and a certain amount of that time has to be focused on contracted projects.  Those projects come with deadlines and I have to keep my deadlines.  I love my editors and I want them to be happy with me and I also have readers who kind of want those other projects done, too.  Basically, I do have other commitments and I can only do so much.  At some point, something has to give. I can’t chase after every option that might be out there to try and keep that series alive, especially when it’s been in a slump.  It just never caught the interest it needed to stay alive for the long haul.

At some point, everything has to end.  Hunter’s Rise was a solid book and Toronto was one character I definitely wanted to get to.  I had that chance.

Does this mean I’ll absolutely never write another Hunter book? I don’t believe in saying never.  But it would take a pretty impressive thing to get me to consider it, and I’d have to have more time on the table first. Who knows…maybe paranormal will swing back around again and the sales will spike.  If there’s enough reader interest in it, I can look at it later down the road, but at this point?  I just can’t.

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Just a few more days…

A mini snippet from STOLEN…

Tears burned her eyes but she blinked them away. Filing the email, she put the phone down and covered her face with her hands.

Can you tell us what happened…?

No…

She sat there and shuddered. Do you remember…

No. She didn’t. But a part of her was trying to, and she really dreaded the day those memories finally crept into the open.

 

Have you checked out the blog tour?  Lots of prizes!

 

Some Qs:

Will this be in audio?

I have no idea.  I just now had my first audio deal and I suspect future audio deals depend on a book’s popularity.  I’m very far from the point that audio is a given.  I won’t know until/if an offer is made.

Will this be available digitally in the UK?

Yes! This time, I knew, in advance, there were going to be odd things with the UK digital distribution so I prepared.  You can preorder it now via

Amazon Kindle UK

think it’s available for preorder on the iBookstore, but I can’t check that.

Is this connected to another series?

No.  I know it kind of looks like it might be, but it’s not at all related to the Ash books.

So those are the Qs I’ve gotten asked a lot.

Just a word of warning…this book is pretty dark.  The heroine went through hell and she’s probably even more screwed up than Devon from FRAGILE.  If you want a nice, safe read…this isn’t it.

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