Richard's Year in Review.

Now for a dose of reality. 

While 2014 started off with a bang for me, I sold 105 books in January, with 74 copies of Shadows of the Past being purchased, I only earned $39.51 in royalties. My best month was in March when I sold 56 copies but earned nearly a buck a sale, making $50.03 in royalties for the month. For the entire year I had 396 sales, and gave away 15,385 copies via two perma-free short stories and a couple of Select free promos. For all of 2014 I earned $281.78 in royalties.

My collection of short stories, 9 Dark Tales, earned me the most for the year. Running a free promo in March I gave away 255 copies, but sold 16 copies at the full price, earning $35.42 in royalties for that month. for the whole year I sold 64 copies and earned $128.59 in royalties.

For my novel, Shadows of the Past, I ran two promos during the year and gave away 1,225 copies, selling an additional 214 copies for the year, but since it is only priced at $0.99 I only earned $74.68 in royalties for that title.

On the writing front I released two novels, White Walker, and Parasite: Shadows of the Past Part II, as well as part one of my 30,000 word novella Bordertown: Meat Goes to Richmond.

Some things to note though. I have no marketing budget, nor do I have the time to spend a majority of my day online promoting my work. I work a full time job in retail and majority of my money goes towards paying the monthly bills. As I like to tell people, I've developed a few bad habits during my life, such as eating, staying warm and dry, and having a comfortable place to sleep.

Writing for me is most of the time a pleasure. Yeah, there are times when the muse teases me and the words refuse to flow, but all in all I'd keep writing even if I didn't make anything. Yet at the same time I feel a writer should be paid for their work. I'll keep producing and maybe in time I'll make enough to supplement my income, at the current rate I'm not going to be retiring from the daily work force any time soon.

New Release: BorderTown Zombie serial.

Until this point in my writing career I've only written two short stories dealing with Zombies, both of which appeared in my collection, 9 Dark Tales, that can be found by clicking here.

Till Death Do We Part: Focused on a down on his luck, unemployed, middle aged man who kisses his wife goodbye on the morning of the zombie apocalypse. Going back to bed he is awakened later to discover a distressed message from his wife, and a world that has been turned upside down. Throughout the story he receives calls from his wife, answering them only to be greeted by strange sounds he cannot place. She returns home changed. I'm not going to reveal the ending here as I don't want to spoil the story for anyone who may want to read it.

The second story was titled Don't Mess With The Pizza Guy, and dealt with a fictional pizza delivery guy named Meat, working in the post apocalyptic world twenty years after the Zombie apocalypse. He had been born during the apocalypse and his mother named him Meat, as that was all he appeared to be given the circumstances. He survived, she didn't. Taken in by the man he called Dad he wound up in the fenced community of Bremo Bluff where a co-genreation had operated since the mid fifties.

Those that established Bremo Bluff in the early days understood there was safety in numbers so they welcomed survivors, both good and bad, creating a place called BorderTown for the less desirable members of society. BorderTown would serve as a buffer between Bremo Bluff and the uncivilized world beyond.

Twelve years after the awakening, as it came to be called among other things, Meat and three of his friends embark upon an adventure to retrieve several young children who had been taken by a savage band of kids that had infiltrated Bremo Bluff. Their goal is to be scavengers as those who venture beyond the fence in search of supplies are held in the highest regard within the community.

Their adventure will be a blend of the coming of age story The Body, mixed with the savagery of The Lord of the Flies.



Meat Goes to Richmond Part 1, is the first installment in what will become an ongoing serial. Each installment will be no less than 10,000 words,and priced at $0.99 ea. Part 2 will release near the end of January with part 3 following a month later, at which point I will bundle the three parts into a novella.

Armageddon Air Force (no cover available) will find Meat and his band searching for a weapon to counter a coming attack from the south with the first part released at the end of March, and subsequent installments following approximately every thirty days.

Check back often to follow my progress or sign up to be notified of new releases as they become available by going here: http://eepurl.com/2bYSf

What's a writer to do?

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year you may have noticed a bubbling discontent with Amazon by a number of better known indie authors out there. J. A Konrath has recently stated, in the comments for his December 19 post, that he was stepping away from Amazon's KPD Select program, once his ninety days were up in late January. Holly Ward, who writes romances under the name H.M. Ward recently revealed that in KU her earnings have plummeted by as much as 75% as a result of borrows instead of sales.

For an indie author, enrollment in Amazon's Select program allowed them to offer the enrolled title free for five days for every ninety day term. Aside from price matching making a title permanently free it was the only way an author could offer their work for free to the massive audience Amazon has nurtured. The Select program, in its infancy, was directly responsible for a number of indie authors becoming bestsellers.

Earlier this year Amazon rolled out its subscription service, Kindle Unlimited, that allowed members to  borrow an unlimited number of kindle titles for one low monthly fee. It was Amazon's response to Oyster and Scrib'd, two stand alone subscription services that have done for e-books what Netflix has done for movies.

If the member read the borrowed title beyond ten percent it triggered a payment to the author. Some authors, those with titles priced from $0.99  to $2.98 actually benefited from the program as the payment was averaging about $1.30 per borrow. On titles priced between a $0.99 and $2.98 the author makes 35%, of the purchase price for each sale. So for a book priced at say $2.98, the author would make approximately $1.05, or $0.35 for each dollar.

Authors with higher priced books such as $2.99, who were used to earning 70%, or $2.06 for each sale, were taking a beating due to Kindle Unlimited. To add insult to injury it was learned that Amazon was also offering two payment tiers for its lending program. Trad published titles were being reimbursed at their agreed upon rate, while Indie authors were being paid from a pool, with payments ranging from $1.30 to $1.60 per borrow.

When I began this journey at the end of 2011, the possibilities seemed unlimited. But the times they are a changing, much has been said about the Amazon lending program both for and against it. Some heavy names have weighed in with their discontent.

But you know what?

Does anyone really have any control over what Amazon does?

No.

The only thing I have any control over is my own writing, whether it gets done or not in a reasonable amount of time. So while everyone's gnashing their teeth, and spouting off about what evil Amazon has once again foisted upon the world of Indie publishing, I'll be over here writing.

After all that's the only thing I have any control over.


Performance Anxiety?

That got your attention didn't it?

When one spots a title like that surely the content that follows is going to be focused on sex, right?

Wrong.

I'm sorry to disappoint you. Outside of the bedroom performance anxiety is a pretty common occurrence among those who perform before a live audience. Stage fright is the more common name for performance anxiety. Musicians, athletes, stage actors, public speakers all experience performance anxiety at one time or another.

It's that butterflies in the stomach feeling, the fear that once you step out onto that stage you're going to do something memorable in a stupid sort of way, or worse yet, you're mind will go blank, and everything you've rehearsed will be forgotten.

Writers experience that same sensation but usually for a different set of reasons. What normally goes through the writers mind as they embark upon a new endeavor is the fear that this time out will not be as good as the last time. That what they produce will be well beneath the standard they have established for themselves with their last release. That the words will not flow as well as they once did.

For the writer performance anxiety leads directly to writers block. In most cases writers block arises not from a lack of ideas, but from a lack of excitement for the writers current project, or an overwhelming avalanche of ideas the writers is having a hard time choosing from. The latter is what is currently holding me up.

My intent had been to write a coming of age story for release early next year, one I had written a screenplay for several years ago. Unfortunately the muse has other ideas as it keeps teasing me with snippets of a tale that is on my to do list, but not as close to the top as others projects I wanted to finish. Then of course there's the first draft of a novel that has been sitting on my desk for nearly six months now waiting for me to put aside these other tasks so we can spend some time together. To top it off there are a number of really neat ideas swirling around in my mind as we speak.

What I really need is a daily planner to get my limited writing time in order so I can finish some projects. I work a full time job, and while some might assume my writing is nothing more than a hobby, for me it's serious work. I worry over the placement of every word, did this sound right? will the reader understand what is really happening? am I explaining too much? too little? Striking that balance is a full time job. I could fill reams of paper explaining why something happened, but would anybody read it, it's doubtful.

My goal of course is to be able to support myself with my writing. I'm standing upon the threshold of three years as an indie writer. I've learned a lot in that time. And I've yet to make any serious money at it, but I remain optimistic that my time is yet to come. It is that optimism that compels me to sit at my desk every morning, to push through my own performance anxiety, and create what I hope will be considered a good read.