Things Will Get Better (and Other Musings)

That’s what I tell myself after this week’s many fiascos that have left me shaking my head.

  • Hitting the wrong button to unpublish my latest release and then being unable to track down all the old links that go nowhere so I could update them.
  • Getting 90% of my reviews of the latest release taken down after they’d been up since the republishing with no problems.
  • Forgetting to update the blog tour company that all those links to the new release go nowhere.
  • Getting letters from KDP wanting proof that I own the copyright of many of my books and I have to submit the documents (not just a statement from me) in four days or they may close my account. And after submitting the required certificates, not hearing from them for three days even after I follow up.
  • Acquiring a new *ARC reader who left my audiobooks (and their ebooks) negative reviews.

When you don’t get to hold all the cards, it’s certainly nerve-wracking.

But it hasn’t been all bad. When these things happen, I’ve discovered that I somehow default to writing erotica (as if erotica will save my career ha ha ha; it certainly won’t save my soul) even when I know I’ll risk being welcomed by an exorcism crew at the next family Christmas gathering. It’s under the secret pen name that’s drowning in obscurity… like, in the six figures when it comes to Amazon’s ranking.

But you know what? It doesn’t bother me, because I get to write the things I’m not “supposed” to write. There’s something very interesting about anonymity and maybe that happens after you catch yourself censoring your writing time and time again because, under that naughty pen, I don’t. Even this morning, I removed a paragraph in the prologue of Falling for Jordan that featured THE act. I mean, come on, they had a one-night stand. You don’t play Old Maid during a one-night stand. Still, I removed it. I didn’t have to, but I did anyway. This after I told myself that my stories aren’t for everyone. Dax and Harlow’s story isn’t for everyone; they’ve called the “safety police” on that story because Harlow suffers through miscarriages and a stillbirth in her backstory, apparently, no-no’s in contemporary romance. Whatever.

In Ashe and Riley, Riley has no backbone, according to some readers. But you know what ONE reader got right? Riley suffers from depression and the story chronicles what happens when she meets a Hollywood star, (yeah, of all people, it had to be a star. Get over it), who happened to grow up in a sheep farm in Reeth, and maybe that’s why he’s more grounded. Maybe he’s the catalyst that sets her on the right path. But yes, it’s not for everyone if you want a kick-ass heroine to explode from your pages and a supportive cast who won’t hurt the heroine. Newsflash: they do.

I like writing about flawed people; even in my erotic stories, the flaws come out along with the backstory for I can never just write straight naughty. I like writing about people who are at a crossroads. We all start somewhere and sometimes, that ‘somewhere’ isn’t pretty. But as long as I know where I want them to go in the vast Wonderland I’ve created for them, they’re going to get somewhere better.

Better. 

And like all the missteps with my latest release, it’s going to get better.

  • Falling for Jordan will sort itself out and sell more copies. (Don’t get me wrong: Falling for Jordan had a good release all around when it was available on all platforms throughout its 8-month preorder period and three full days post-release, and that’s without paying a lot for advertising.) 
  • I’ll find the reader who like my stories and who may even look forward to reading the latest ones.
  • I’ll keep writing, and when I’m stressed, I’ll write that damn erotic romance where I’ve lost count of the many times I’ve written the naughty words I can’t write here.

Yes, things will get better.

 *ARC stands for Advanced Reader Copy and it’s a book/ebook/paperback/audiobook copy a reader receives before the book is released to the public so that they can leave reviews on release week and give that book social proof. Traditional publishers began this practice and indie authors like me have adopted it for our books. It’s also free. Ideally, authors would like to have ARC readers who are fans of their books but sometimes you get someone who doesn’t like your stories. If they happen to be on your ARC team, an author has two choices: keep them until they actually like a book and maybe leave you a good review or remove them.

Rolling With the Punches

There’s nothing like a huge life lesson to teach you that sometimes things just happen and you have to roll with the punches. Between release week jitters, driving the crazy 405 to and from my South Bay office to see clients and back in time for my son’s parent-teacher conference that turned out to be the wrong day, and then drinking way too much coffee afterward, I made a big boo-boo late last night.

Photo by Drew Graham on Unsplash

I accidentally hit the unpublish button on Falling for Jordan with my aggregator who recently announced they’re closing which meant there was no undo button there.

Instead, there was a mad scramble to list the book with retailers at 2 a.m., and in the morning, another scramble to update all the old links to the current ones wherever I posted links here and on my websites although Amazon was the only one who had the book so far. Come to think of it, I never got around to let my blog tour people know of the change either so if that’s still going on, none of those old links work anymore.

I also failed to notice that my unusually quiet kid was busy drawing his masterpieces on all the furniture and now I’m tired. I didn’t even know how to adult when faced with that little fiasco that didn’t involve using the word “punishment” versus “consequences.”

So if the old links for Falling for Jordan don’t work, that’s why. I’m still fixing things but I might also need to just go to bed and start over in the morning.

In the meantime, if you’d like to read the story of Addison, Jordan, and Piper, here is an active link that actually works, algorithms be darned. You can even decide to pay whatever you feel you want to pay outside of the minimum price of the book. Weird, I know, but I like the concept.

Oh, and the trailer presentation is gorgeous…

Back On the (Right) Track Again

Photo by Ales Krivec on Unsplash

After going off the rails with my last project, it’s crunch time right now. I’ll either make my preorder or I don’t. And if I make the deadline, I’ll probably end up with subpar work because, well, I don’t know how I can come up with a good story in less than a month. But I’ll have to work at it because I have to come up with a story either way, whether it’s the scheduled pre-order or something else. Of course, preferably, the preorder because the date’s been set and I really do want to finish it.

If only I can finish it without having to remind myself to listen to my gut next time and walk away when the doubts keep on coming. If your gut doesn’t shut up and screams its head off that you’re going the wrong direction, listen, for crying out loud. There’s a reason for that. Your gut instinct always knows what’s right.

So… lesson learned and it’s time to get back on the tracks and keep going.

Speaking of tracks, my current story features a mile long unused rail platform in Manhattan’s West Village that was almost demolished if not for the Friends of the High Line raising over $50 million to create what is now the High Line Park. It features lots of plants and even seasonal exhibits and viewing platforms along various parts of the tracks where you can sit above traffic and chill. My character lives in a prewar apartment building close to the High Line and so a few of the scenes I’ve written so far feature this location.

And I know I’m definitely on the right track again. You know why? My gut feeling isn’t screaming its head off. It’s quite happy. Very happy.

Mistakes Happen

The journey to becoming a self-published author isn’t easy – at least for me. Often, you find yourself burning the midnight oil, trying to do everything at once even when you know it’s impossible to do. But you do it anyway. You push and push because even when no one else believes in what you do, what matters is that YOU believe in what you do.

Unfortunately, sometimes we make stupid mistakes, like this latest one, and as much as I tell myself that I’ve created paperbacks so many times before and that I should know the drill by now, somehow this got away from me just the same. The proofs were perfect; I have them in front of me but somehow I uploaded this latest version of the cover (when I didn’t need to) and now I’ve got twelve copies that shouldn’t see the light of day anywhere because it’s the mark of a clueless author for the spine to be blank.  But at the same time, I don’t have the heart to rip the covers off and shred the spines.  

I just love books too much.  And besides, these are mine.

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So here’s what I’m going to do instead. They’re beautiful books and I’d like to think within the covers lie a beautiful story and I know it’s a beautiful story because I wrote it for me. So even with this crazy stupid mistake, I’m going to make lemonade out of lemons. I’m going to take out my color markers and make ART on these blank spines. Maybe I’ll draw emojis instead.

What emojis do you think would go with the book?