Saturday, December 31, 2011

My Twen'y 'Leven

The past year has been a year of changes--some good, some bad--for just about everyone I know.

After deciding on a career path, going back to school (while working full time), my wife was accepted into nursing school and successfully completed her first semester. Yay!  Then her job was outsourced so people with more money than they know what to do with could afford another ivory back-scratcher.  Boo!

My house became officially diaper and pacifier free.  Both children are now in their own rooms and their brains have become Johny Five style super computers, absorbing every bit of input available.  Needless to say, we can no longer watch Family Guy, Futurama, and certain Simpsons episodes while they are awake.

As far as my writing goes, it was the year I said goodbye to traditional publishing and jumped on the indie bandwagon.  I self published Guarding the Healer at the end of May and Contemplations of Dinner just a few days ago.  I upped my virtual presence in the digi-sphere in a valiant attempt to self promote my work.  I'm a blogger, a Facebooker, Goodreader, and even a Tweeter.  If you would have called me that ten years ago I probably would have taken it as an insult. 

I also wrote another novel titled Predatory Animals.  I know several people wrote novels (sometimes two or three) but this means a lot to me because after a long time of seeking an agent, I had lost my love of writing.  Those of you that have traveled the Traditional Path know what I mean.  You pour all you have into a novel, spending several months or even years just to perfect it, then your only hope of landing a publishing contract is to convince an agent to take you on.  But you can't query all of them at once.  At most ten.  Six months go by and half don't even bother to respond.  Three say they like it but don't feel "passionate" about it.  The other two ask for a partial read, hold the manuscript for another four months to six months only to send you a form rejection letter.  Then you have to start all over again with another group of agents.  If you are lucky, you sign with an agent and the same mess starts all over with publishers.

What insane person wants to go through that?

Self publishing changed all of that.  It set me free and the words started flowing again.

It's been one of the strangest years for me in memory.  Not a bad one by any means.  I'm thankful for another year with my family and friends and I'm looking forward to 2012.

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 26, 2011


I've mentioned in earlier posts about the Kickstarter program I was hoping to use to fund my next two books.  I've also mentions how it was a crash and burn event.  I saw the hand writing on the wall early on, so I started to come up with a backup plan.

I had wanted to use professionals for the covers, editing, formatting and all other bells and whistles.  I would still like to do all of those things for my novel Predatory Animals, but it's going to have to be done as I scrape the money together.  The collection of short stories, however, I decided to go ahead and publish.

I found a guy on Fiverr who was creating covers for $5.  It wasn't quite the cover I was looking for, but it was cheap and better than I could do on my own.  All things considered I think I got more than my money's worth.  Most of the stories have been published in various magazines or e-zines so they have been through at least a basic round of editing, so I decided to give it all one more read-through and then send it out into the world.  Originally I wanted to publish the collection on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords.  I found a blog post that detailed an easy way to convert a Word document into a .prc file.  I may publish the collection on B&N and Smashwords later on, but I make most of my sales on Amazon so we'll see.

With that being said, Contemplations of Dinner is now available for sale on Amazon for $0.99.

"A secret hidden in a freezer. A lonely woman takes solace in an ancient cat. A boy is trapped in a barn with a gang of killers. An open grave awaits an occupant. A man is encouraged to kill by a long lost love. And more.

Here lies ten eerie tales from the mind of author Gabriel Beyers."

I hope you'll stop by and have a look.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Where Do You Fall?

I promised in the previous post that I would talk about the one word that will cause half of all writers on Kindleboards to instantly not like you.  And that one word is . . .


I'm sure most have heard of the program known as Kickstarter, but if you haven't you can read about it here.  When I first started my Kickstarter program I did everything within my power to get the news out and hoped that it would spread like wildfire.  Unfortunately, that didn't happen.  It was more like that spark of static electricity that nips your fingertips when you reach for a doorknob.  On my short adventure I encountered many that were supportive and willing to help get the word out, but there were others that seemed as offended by the notion as if I had been clubbing baby seals.

The former were wonderful, but it was the latter that got me thinking.  What were they so angry about?  What had I done wrong?  I always try my best to be cordial and polite, especially during my online encounters, but suddenly I found myself being grilled from all sides as though I was running some kind of scam.  That was fine.  I understood.  It's important to be transparent and honest, so I did my best to explain my situation.  But for some that wasn't good enough.

These people were usually writers that already had several books published and were making at least okay money and were able to front the needed cash to self publish their other books.  They seemed to look down their noses as if I (and all that would stoop to using Kickstarter) was some filthy beggar that needed to vanish into the sewers instead of muddying up their golden sidewalks.  I'm being a bit over-dramatic here, I know, but I'm trying to make a point.  There are some that aren't happy unless you travel the exact same path that they traveled.  Any other way is the wrong way.

The literary world is no stranger to clicks and elitism, but up to this point I hadn't experienced it in the indie author neighborhood.  It made me realize something.  Even though writers are infinitely complicated souls, you can generally break them down into two groups.  And no, it's not Genre vs. Literary.


Writers in column one are always willing to blog, Facebook, Tweet, go stand on the roof and scream or any other means necessary to help other writers get noticed.  They are not threatened by other writers or their books.  They know that there is plenty of readers to go around and that we all have to stick together in this new digital world.

Writers in column two usually say things like "Why should I help you?" and "What's in it for me?" or even something like "I'll help you if you can get X number of people to buy my book."  They get offended by other writers' successes.  They blog, Facebook, and tweet about how it's unfair that so many crappy books are making money but their masterpiece gets no attention at all.  Perhaps we are all just too stupid to understand it.

This is why I have lost my taste for message boards as a whole.  Now don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great writers roaming around Kindleboards that are firmly in column one.  The problem is most of the column ones are busy reading, writing, self promoting and helping promote other writers.  That leaves ample space for the column twos to move in and pour their petty attacks down on newbies just looking for some help.

So, what can we do about it?

No much, I'm afraid.  The only thing I know to do is to examine yourself and see which column you fall under.  If you find yourself in column two then it's not too late to change.  Scrooge made a complete turn around in just one night.  Sorry, I've got Christmas on the brain.

That being said, the wonderful Cate Gardner has a new book out. You can buy Theatre of Curious Acts here.  Go out and buy the book.  Write a review.  Like it on Facebook.  Tweet away.  Share it on your blog.  I would scream it from my rooftop, except I have a bad case of acrophobia.

I have a small bit of news of my own, but I'll save the self promotion for the next post.  I will probably wait until next week, so to all of you Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Experiments & Observations

I remember one time when I was younger, my cousin and I were playing around with a home chemistry set.  It was one of those benign kits with nothing at all dangerous in it.  The ones designed for kids.  So, what did me and my cousin do?  You guessed it, we improvised.

We were over an my cousin's house and I'm sure his mother didn't give a second thought about leaving us to try out the suggested experiments.  She may have even been proud that we were attempting something academic.  But you should never leave two boys to their own devices.  Bored with the included ingredients, my cousin and I soon found ourselves raiding the cleaning agents under the sink.

Stupid, I know.  You don't have to tell me.

Now I can't quite remember what all we mixed together, but we ended up making this green liquid with a terrible smell (luckily nothing deadly). I do, however, remember the last thing we added:  yeast.  We filled a glass jar full of the green sludge, screwed the lid on tight, and marveled at our own scientific endeavor.

Then we left to go to dinner.  Did I mention we left the jar sitting next to a desk lamp?  I didn't?  Well, we did.

When we got back to my cousin's house the first thing we noticed was the smell permeating the entire house.  We climbed upstairs, went into his room and wow!  It was our first lesson in what yeast does.  The light bulb caused the yeast to rise and that glass jar could only take so much.

The strange thing is the jar didn't react as you would expect it to.  It seems like the swelling green gloop should have blown the cap off, or exploded the glass jar in all directions, making my cousin's room look like the set of some show on Nickelodeon.  I suspect the chemical brew we had concocted had weakened the glass, because instead of rupturing in all directions, the terrible slime shot out of the side of the jar and made a B-line straight for a cage across the room holding my cousin's finches.  I mean it, not even a drop was on his bed or the wall.  I don't know if it was the slime or the sheer shock of the explosion, but we found the little birds at the bottom of the cage, little twig legs sticking up in the air.

Why did I tell you this story?

I don't know.  It's a cautionary tale that never fails to bring out a chuckle in me.  Seriously, though, I've done some experiments with my writing life of late and found some things I didn't expect.

First of all I experimented with the price of my book Guarding the Healer.  My sales have been less than great, despite some nice reviews, so back in October I decided to drop the price to $.99.  Many writers have reported huge jumps in sales after doing this, and even have earned more money even though you have to sell 6 times as many.

My sales in October went up a tad, but not even close to justifying the royalty drop (70% to 35% in case you didn't know).

In November I decided to bump the price from the original $2.99 and list it at $3.99.  The reason I did this is some were conjecturing that the $2.99 price point was a marker of indie authors and may be driving potential buyers away.  Some were finding that by bringing the price up they were getting more sales and making more money on each book sold to boot.

That didn't work for me.  My sales bottomed out, and I mean ROCK BOTTOM.  Guarding the Healer is now back at $2.99 and my sales numbers rebounded a bit, but are still bad.  I'm not sure what all this means, except that I'm obviously doing something wrong.

Trial and error is what a good experiment is all about, right?  I just hope I figure things out before too long.

Sometime soon I'll tell you about how to tick off half of Kindleboards with only one word.  I'll also discuss the two categories of writers, and no it's not genre v literary.