Critter notes –
Last week I mentioned some of the furry critters we’re learning to share space with. Some are harmless, like the rabbits, deer, and armadillos. Others are nuisances, like the opossum from the other night, or the moles that dig in the yard. And of course, some are downright nasty. Just ask Bella and Cricket about that skunk.
Something else that we’ve noticed lately though, doesn’t exactly fall into the furry critter category. There are some BIG spiders here that seem to be relatively common. Now, we’re used to the little grass spiders, wolf spiders, etc, that are common in the Houston area, but these suckers are huge by comparison. I’m pretty sure that they’re Brown Orb Spiders, but since I’m no expert, I could be wrong. This not-so-little beauty keeps weaving its web just to the side of our front entrance. I’ve knocked the web down when it gets too close to the walkway, since MBH is considerably less tolerant of our eight-legged neighbors, but he keeps building back up in the same general area. I generally don’t have much of a problem with them, and I’ve noticed them all around the neighborhood, so I guess they’re simply more common here.
Cricket has a couple of hot spots on her back, and she’s chewed strips into her fur with all the gnawing. I looked online, and found that a vet recommends treating it with diluted povidone iodine. So I made the diluted solution, took her on the back patio, and swabbed the affected areas. (I’m supposed to do this twice a day until the spots clear up.)
Coming back inside though, I saw this little guy on the left. And while I don’t mind sharing space with Orb Weavers, a Black Widow is another thing altogether. First came the bug spray. That was quickly followed by my size twelve spider stomper. I might not mind spiders, but I’m no saint, either. I have several friends who usually mention spiders and flamethrowers in the same breath. Black Widows are enough to make me think they just might be right.
So, on to writing notes…
Giveaway notes –
Last weekend was the big giveaway. Okay, maybe not all that big, but it was a giveaway. Friend and reviewer, Carol Conley from the “I’m a Voracious Reader” book review blog, contacted me a few weeks ago to let me know she had read Ghost Story, and wanted to know if I would consider running some free days to coincide with the release of her review. Now, I generally don’t like doing free days, since my experience with them has been mostly negative in the last couple of years. They worked really well for me back in the early days of Amazon’s KDP Select program, and I’ll never forget that first nail-biter when I put HPM up for free shortly after it released. In a single day, I gave away more than 11k copies of Half Past Midnight. That giveaway, and the reviews it sparked, shot followup sales through the roof for the better part of the following year.
For a new author, just getting his feet wet in the world of indie publishing, it was nothing short of miraculous!
Of course, shortly after that, Amazon changed their algorithm, as they so often seem to do. The next time I ran a book for free, it didn’t do nearly as well, but wasn’t a total loss. So I tried it again later. The third time I did it was with the release of Streets of Payne. This time, not only did I not get as big a response, I completely lost all momentum and sales actually went down. When I checked into it, it seemed that moving from the Top 100 Sold, to the Top 100 Free was a sales killer. Since “free” was not “sold”, SoP‘s sales rank dropped like a stone. No visibility, no sales. It was the exact opposite of the Ouroboros Effect I wrote about in an old post “In answer to Mike’s question…“, and this time instead of boosting my sales, it actually killed them.
So no, I don’t like doing free days any more. But Carol is a friend, Ghost Story is just a novella, and it’s not like it was really selling all that well anyway. So what did I really have to lose, right? And while I was putting Ghost Story out there for free, why not also throw SoP out again? It wasn’t selling either, so what could it hurt?
As it turned out, nothing. It didn’t hurt, and there actually was a slight bump in sales afterwards. Not huge, but a few extra sales is a few extra sales. Yay team!
Year 12 notes –
I have problems with what I call “transition scenes” when I’m writing. I get scene “A” pretty clear in my mind, and I go after it, flying through it like there’s no tomorrow. I can see in my mind where scene “B” is, and how it should run. But the transition from “A” to “B” stumps me. For whatever reason, I get hung up in the minutia of who says what to trigger what, and why did this do that, and… I get stuck. I just got through one of these transitions yesterday, and I have to say, I get a little frustrated with myself. I feel like I should be able to knock out three or four thousand words a day. Instead, I’m lucky if I average over one thousand.
Yeah, I have problems. But I’m progressing. Not as quickly as I want, but I’m progressing.
Speaking of writing, I need to get back to doing just that. So time to stop whining, and get back to work. Take care of yourselves, and stay safe. I’ll talk to you later.