Wednesday, February 29, 2012

If Peggy Hill Self Published a Book

Frankly, I think that this concept would have made a great episode of "King of the Hill". What would happen if Peggy Hill wrote a book, let's say a full-length novel, and published it for sale on the internet? It's all speculative, of course, and considering the show ended a few years ago, we'll probably never actually know. But, let's have a little fun and make fun of the show's possibly most annoying character.

First off, let's briefly discuss her personality. For this post, I'm going to focus on her most obvious, usually plot-driving fault: she's a fantastic example of "The more you know, the more you know you don't know." In other words, she usually knows next to nothing, but she thinks she's an expert in whatever she tries. Ha ha. If you've never watched a single episode of "King of the Hill" and have no idea what I'm talking about, I recommend taking a look at any episode where she speaks Spanish. At the very least, get to where she says "Hola". Then you'll understand.

Now, let's take a look at the individual steps in this process, all from writing the book itself to the end results.

Writing the Book
Admittedly, I don't know Peggy Hill well enough to fathom a guess as to what specifically she might write about. But, I bet you anything that she has a Spanish speaking character. For the sake of humor in this post, let's assume that she does. And, because her Spanish is so immaculate, she of course writes all the Spanish lines in herself.

Also, because she tends to feel confident in her abilities, let's also assume that she does one draft before she feels ready to publish.

Querying the Editors
Even though self-publishing is prominent today, Hank and Peggy always seemed a bit behind in the times. Thus, they're probably mostly unaware of the state of self publishing today. So, more than likely, Peggy attempts the traditional route first, and after getting rejected countless times, a plot device will come along and suggest self-publishing. Also, despite numerous comments, she probably has no idea why her books were rejected in the first place - perhaps she thinks editors do not have good taste.

Designing the Cover
Unfortunate for all of us, the saying "Don't Judge a Book By It's Cover" is advice that almost nobody heeds. Covers need to be good, and for our purposes, Peggy Hill understands this to a point. In terms of cover design, I can see this going one of two ways.

  1. Against Hank's best judgement, Peggy Hill hires the best and most expensive designer she can find and pays through the nose for her cover. Bonus points if the cover artist turns out to be Arlen's most notorious scam artist.
  2. She makes the cover herself. Naturally, it turns out awful, though Peggy sees it as a product of her genius.
Putting it Online
Surely, even Peggy Hill couldn't mess this step up. Though I could see her hiring one of those "ebook formatters".

Pricing the Work of Genius
$9.99 minimum, for the ebook.

Self Promotion
Like many author's, Peggy's first instinct is probably to tell everybody she knows - friends, neighbors, coworkers, etc. She'll probably actually create a bit of a buss around Arlen, just because it's a small town and she put herself out there. Of course, she likely will not self-promote much beyond this. Tell me, can you see Peggy Hill successfully using Twitter and Facebook?

Book Signing
Perhaps she'll even get lucky, and she'll end up with her own book reading/signing. If anybody in Arlen hasn't noticed her Spanish by now, it will surely be noticed here, during her big moment.

Peggy will probably end up begging Hank to leave glowing reviews, even though he most likely has not read the book. He'll refuse due to the unethical grounds. Dale will become jealous of her "success" because he hasn't finished his own autobiography yet, if ever. Kahn will buy it just to laugh at the "Redneck Writing", and 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Another Snippet of Dialogue from "The Night Life".

In this scene, Richard and Tanya are duckingi t out, trying to decide what to do with Jane, whom they've just realized is not the girl they think she is.

Jane is no ordinary girl - rather, she's a runaway teen who's not been seen by her parents in over four yeas. And when Richard finds her in a gas station one day, he finds that she's completely devoid of any memory of her past. She doesn't even remember her own name. After some time, Richard and Tanya began to hypothesize that Jane might have killed herself prior to Richard finding her, in order to avoid ever being found by her frantic parents. The following scene is an exchange between Richard and Tanya, who are fighting over Jane's possible fate - do they take her to the hospital and get her treatment, or do they protect her from the parents who drove her away to begin with?

“Those people are slime balls!” Tanya spat, “the lowest of the low! Richard, if we risk her being found, her life will be hell. It will probably be much worse than it ever was before, before and after she ran away. We don’t know that she killed herself, but if you ask me, she had some pretty damn good reasons to try.”

“Tanya, we don’t know what’s happening with her,” I pleaded. “We don’t know if she’s brain damaged. We don’t know if the brain damage is worsening. We don’t know if she has an internal bleed somewhere…”

“If she did, she would be dead by now.”

“The point is, this girl needs our help, and we’re the only two people able to provide it.”
“I don’t get you Richard,” Tanya stared at me, “first, taking her to the hospital is out of the question. But now that we have an idea of what might have happened, you’ve changed your mind?”

“She’s just a girl,” I sighed. “If she attempted to end her own life on our watch, I would never live with myself.”

“And if she ended her life because we let her go,” Tanya paused, “I would never forgive myself.”

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Self-Published Authors: Why are You Paying for these Services?

The thing about self-publishing, something I really like, is that it's very DIY. You're in control of everything. You get to make your own cover (or not), you edit and format it (or not), and you're in charge of all your own promotion (or not).

So then, why the (or not)'s?

Some people (like me, in many ways) are just writers. They write a story, edit it, it's finished...and then what? Just a few years ago, if you had just completed a 80,000 word novel, your options were pretty much either to write to agents and editors asking for representation, or store it in the back of your closet and/or hard drive and write another book. Self publishing at this point was more or less a joke - an option, sure, but it was highly unlikely you were ever going to successfully sell any copies.

Now, though, that third "self publishing" option has opened up, and many authors, both new and experienced, are taking advantage. Many previously traditionally published authors have even switched over to 100% self-publishing, because they can often make more with a 70% royalty option over something like 8%.

But a trend that I'm witnessing, and am not in favor of, is new authors throwing their money away on things that are perfectly reasonable to do for free.

Granted, before I receive death threats and a downvote brigade, I do want to point out some things that, in my opinion, are somewhat reasonable to pay for.

  • Cover Art - I have seen some wonderful cover art that authors have commissioned others to design. I did not do this, because in my opinion, it wasn't worth spending money on a cover, when I wasn't sure I was going to make it back. Although, I have seen cases where a designer just purchases some cover art, crops it a bit, and adds a title. (More on this later.)
  • Stock photos - This can be lumped in with "Cover Art", because I know a lot of authors purchase stock photos for their covers. This is perfectly reasonable, and I plan on doing exactly this for when I release "The Night Life" - I even already have a few in mine (there's a girl who looks very close to how I imagine Tanya Roberts, one of my main characters!). This is especially useful when you're writing about something from say, the 1800's.
  • Editors - I am still wary on this one; I do believe that every author should try and proofread their own work; however, an editor might be worth the money for some people.
  • Advertisements: This one is more of a "maybe", but if you find a popular website willing to host an advertisement for a day (and hopefully not a pay-per-click ad), there may be value in this.
That said, I do not think new authors, especially ones without at least a few titles under their belt, should really be paying for most of these services, save for some stock photos for their cover art. I think authors that over-promote one book are mostly ridiculous - I want to slap most of them and ask if they're even working on another book (because the time some of these people put into their single title is just too much!). 

Not to mention the things I've seen people pay for - most of it could easily be done yourself, for free. Such things include:
  • Bad Cover Art Designers - I once saw a case where the designer herself just purchased some cover art, cropped it, and added a title. And the portion of the image they cropped was so small that the cover was blurry. What?
  • Blog Tours - Some companies, for the low low price of $99, will set up "blog tours" for you. But, why not just email some bloggers yourself and ask, "Hey, would you mind if I did a guest post?" You may have to email a lot of bloggers, depending on what you;re aiming for, but it's much better than spending $100 for somebody else to do the same thing.
  • Ebook Formatting - I really don't understand this one. By the time I published Family History: Part 2, the formatting took me maybe an hour (and that was just because I needed to go back through and reformat all the chapter heads). 
  • Setting up a Facebook Fan Page - I recently saw the blog post of somebody who paid a company to set up her Facebook Fan Page. Again, you can do this yourself in a few minutes, and you don't even have to pay anybody. In this case, this particular author had even set up another Facebook page for herself for one of her books. What? You can do one Facebook page, but two is just too many?
  • Reviews - Admittedly, I haven't actually run into this one personally, though I have heard stories of people who pay others to review their books for them. 
That's all I can think of at the moment, though I know there's plenty more out there.

Please, people, stop paying for some of these services. How you're willing to shell out this much money, to sell a few extra copies of a $2.99 book, is beyond me.

Friday, February 24, 2012

I'm Doing a Poll on KDP Select, and Would Love For You to Participate

Obviously, if you've never participated in a KDP Select Promotion, this poll isn't exactly for you.

But, I'm very interested to see how people have done with different promotions, and whether they see them as a valuble resource.

Again, the link to the poll can be found here.

Now, allow me to post the directions I've posted everywhere else:

I'm mostly unfamiliar with SurveyMonkey, and even though I think I did everything right, I probably did something wrong. :/

Also, I'm sure somebody's going to get all uppity and pipe in to say, "Your survey is all wrong! You should have asked/done xyz." This is the internet, after all. But really, I don't want to hear that. That's why I added the text box at the end.

Again, though, if something is wrong with the questions themselves, like say, it won't let you enter a number in the number box or something weird, do let me know of that.

Anyways, hopefully you can do this survey multiple times. So yeah, go through it once and use data from one promotion for one book, and if it lets you do it again, then feel free to add information for your other books. Please, though, just use your earliest promotion for one book - do not include later promotions for the same book (like, if you did a 2-day promo in December, and another 2-day last week, do not use the 2-day from last week at all).

I hope I've clarified myself. When people have answered, I'll do graphs and stuff and post them.

Again, I'm very interested to see the responses, so please, take two minutes to participate!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Twitter Experiment, Part 7: Now I'm Getting Bored...

The sad part is, it didn't take long: I'm growing increasingly bored of Twitter.

It feels like work now, and it's at the point where I can't even come to my blog and make fun of it. It's all so overdone. Yes, it's one large advertisement. Yes, the things that trend are often so stupid that I feel like I'm hanging around the Guidos of Jersey Shore. Yes, there's that one author who's constantly promoting his one book.

Maybe I'm just not following the right people. Maybe I just need to remove all authors from my list - it might get better that way, I don't know. Honestly though, as of now, the best "person" I follow is Real Time WWII Tweets - a few of which I've retweeted.

Then again, I'm surprised I was using it as much as I did. Honestly, I think it was the novelty - another new website to visit, one I was checking every day. I still have been checking Twitter every day, actually, but definitely not as often as I was. And now it's become more of a ritual of browsing the first 5-10 tweets before returning to Reddit or elsewhere.

Of course, many sites that I checked religiously a year ago have been nearly forgotten by now. This time last year, I checked F My Life every single day. After finding Reddit, though, it seems mostly unfunny. I actually had a plethora of similar sites similar to that one that I checked daily, though I honestly don't remember most of them anymore: most of the same content was just as easily found on Reddit.

Will Twitter end up with a fate similar to that of F My Life? Honestly, that's probably exactly what's going to happen, and frankly, I'm not too broken up about it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

From Here on Out, All Purchases of "Family History" and "The Dowry" will be Donated to the "KT HALL SKYDIVING FUND".

You see that picture, there on the left?

That. I want that.

But, it's expensive. At least, it's more money than I have now. Or at least, more money than I have to spend on willy-nilly things. Like skydiving.

But, between the US and UK, I've earned about $50 off Family History and The Dowry. All in all, that's not too shabby.

2012 is supposed to be my year. After all, the fact that I'm essentially fulfilling a lifelong dream by selling my writing - that alone has to mean something.

To ring in the new year, boyfriend and I took a spontaneous road trip from cold, windy Wyoming to warm, sunny Southern California. After all, winters up here in Laramie can get pretty chilly (last year, there was a night where it got down to -40 C/F) and sometimes last the entire year. But to me, that road trip was something of a promise to myself - a promise to do more fun, spontaneous things, to meet goals, and to not stress myself out (this includes being and/or acting less socially awkward). I thought that, by starting the year off somewhere else, somewhere more fun than a place where drinking is not just a social thing, but a lifestyle, I would kick my own ass.

I actually started the year off with two pretty small goals, one of them being to put my three backlogged novels up on Amazon. Hooray, I did that four days into the year. But now what happens?

Skydiving is what happens.

I'm $150 from $200, which, from what I can tell, is about what it'll cost for me to go skydiving. If you're feeling ever so kind and charitable, I would surely appreciate the purchasing of one of my fine novels, so that I can fall out of a plane, where I'm likely to clutch the thing that opens the parachute (because if I let go, I might lose it!). Anyone want to make that happen?

Monday, February 20, 2012

"Family History: Part 2" Unofficial Soundtrack

Warning: Spoilers Below. Do not read, unless you're cool with knowing what happens in Family History: Part 2.

Imagine Mark Dowling, cruising along on his motorcycle, driving into those red canyons as the sun shines down on the empty road. Meanwhile, perhaps imagine this song. At least, imagine either this song, or...

...this one, "Shoot Out the Lights" by Richard and Linda Thompson. I always imagined this song would make a fantastic opening for the "inevitable" movie. :)

Meanwhile, Doris Day and Thomas Deland are probably having some kind of fight back at the Cherry Oak Diner. I like to picture this song when Thomas runs off to Northgate, despite the fact that there is no back stabbing involving kitchen knives.

Oh yes, Lindsey - hop on the back of that motorcycle and ride off into the sun with the man you love. You're killing Mark, but not exactly in the literal're killing him with love (?).

...but, save this song for when you two officially run away. The former is to be played when you two are falling in love, or something.

Has Calvin been conceived yet? Well, while that's being done, picture this song in the back of your head. I don't know why, but it seemed appropriate, given the situation.

"Just the Motion" - like the motion of rocking the baby, and the motion of surviving your true love's death....

The "scene" for this song actually occurs much later in the story, when Calvin has just begun "experimenting" with "trees".

I guess this isn't even that good of a song, but at the time, it seemed like the perfect background song to play  when Calvin and Henry Austin get the hell out of dodge (Northgate).

Muse - "Guiding Light" - for when poor Henry Austin dies, and Calvin is left to deal with the grief. I suppose he was Calvin's "Guiding Light", or at the very least, his best friend.

Muse - "Knights of Cydonia" - for when Calvin takes Collie by the hand and they explore the world. The lyrics are actually kind of perfect, too - "Come ride with me/through the veins of history," and then later, "Don't waste your time or time will waste you." Squeee. That is too perfect for words.

A sad song for the closing credits, perhaps? Also, if you haven't already, I highly suggest actually checking out the band Brad Sucks. His music can be downloaded free at Jamendo. /endplug

Friday, February 17, 2012

"Change of Perspective" - Guest Post by J.A. Beard

For years I never really knew how to cook anything. Sure, I could pop something in the microwave, maybe boil some water, but a desire to actually throw together ingredients in any sort of skilled way never took hold in my heart.
I just didn’t care. A combination of university living, followed by a simple bachelor existence, and eventual military service made me quite comfortable with pre-prepared foods. I didn’t really understand why anyone would care to spend a lot of time developing the skill to cook. It seemed more trouble than it was worth.
My opinion was changed by something quite unexpected. My wife and I were watching television some years ago when we happened upon a Food Network special on a pie contest held in Celebration, Florida as part of the Great American Pie Festival. The various pies and their creators were profiled.
Now, I’ve always been a fan of pie. I just never put much thought into how it was made. Perhaps if I’d seen the same special a few years earlier, it wouldn’t have affected me the same way. You see, at the time, I was attending university and studying molecular and microbiology. Accompanying those majors was a major commitment to chemistry coursework.
Watching the various men and women discuss their strategies, ingredients, and tastes, I had an epiphany: baking is chemistry. I understood chemistry. I liked chemistry. After that I began baking with regularity, generating edible experiments. Although I’m not likely to be good enough to compete in Celebration, Florida anytime soon, I’m glad that a simple perspective change introduced me to a delicious new hobby.
When not baking, working in a lab, or spending time with his wife and children, J.A. Beard spends time writing fiction. His debut release, a young adult urban fantasy, THE EMERALD CITY, unfortunately involves neither science nor baking. He can be found on the web at, Twitter, and Facebook.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On Eating Healthy

I'll confess: I do not eat very healthy.

And, I'm not necessarily saying that I eat nothing but ice cream, soda, and double cheeseburgers. Those things are all delicious, sure, but I'm unhealthy in a different way.

But no, I'm quite different from many Americans in the sense that I don't usually ever eat enough.

This is mostly due to the process of food acquisition. I don't love cooking large meals, and I feel like there's so few things I actually do enjoy cooking. Though to be fair, I think a lot of this is due to the fact that our kitchen is pretty small and has very limited counter space (it's often at the point where we're chopping vegetables on the stove, if it's not on).

But yes, sometimes, my not eating is somewhat problematic. I'm usually lucky to eat two meals a day. I rarely eat breakfast, just because my body seems to dislike food immediately upon waking up. Yesterday, I bought some wings at the deli for lunch at 1:00 pm in the afternoon, ate about half of them, and ate the rest of them for "dinner".

I'm not intentionally starving myself here, either. I just don't feel like eating. Boyfriend took me to dinner tonight and I ordered a quesadilla, where I proceeded to eat about half of it before deciding I was full. Actually, it took a great effort to even eat that much, but it seemed silly to not eat at least half of it there. I know how it's going to go tomorrow, too: I'll eat one slice of the quesadilla before deciding I'm too full, and then end up passing most of the leftovers off to my boyfriend.

What's really weird is that some people think something is wrong with you if you're not stuffing your face 24/7. Boys especially seem to like to brag about how much they love eating, while girls, apparently, eat like birds. They act as if there's something wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with that, of course - my monthly grocery bill is probably a lot less than that of those boys. That plus the fact that I rarely indulge in alcohol like so many others I know, means that I pay substantially less for food and other related items than many other people I know.

What I really need are more fruits and vegetables. I feel like every time I buy fruit, it gets eaten so quickly by myself and my boyfriend. Last November, boyfriend ate so many oranges that certain internal goings-on became analogous to Kel's Orange-Soda stomach (I tried to find a picture of this, I really did). Plus, fruit is more expensive. I saw the most delicious-looking strawberries last week, for example - they were so red and plump, and I wanted them so bad. But, they were about ~$6, and there were maybe seven of them in the entire box. There's no way I was about to pay a dollar per strawberry.

But, the outrageous prices of strawberries nowadays does not negate the fact that I desperately need to take better care of myself.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

January Sales Reports

Today is February 15th, which means that I was granted the privileged of seeing my first monthly sales report. Hooray!;dr: I'm not a millionaire. But that's okay, because Family History: Part 1 was only published on January 4th, 2012. It would actually be pretty silly to expect to make that much money off a single $2.99 title in less than a month.

Now, for some actual statistics...

Total Amount Earned in Amazon US: $29.30
Total Amount Earned in Amazon UK: £9.94 (~ $15.58)
Total Earned in January 2012: ~$44.88

Many of you are probably thinking, "That's not very much at all!" But again, keep in mind that these numbers represent totals from less than a month of publication. Additionally, it is worth noting that, at the moment, I am exclusively published on Amazon. I'm not planning on continuing this exclusivity deal, though that is another post for another time.

Now, allow me to do a quick-and-dirty breakdown by title.

Family History: Part 1; US

  • 5 Units Sold at 70% Royalty: $13.00
  • 1 Unit Borrowed: $1.60
  • 331 Units Downloaded Free
Family History: Part 1; UK
  • 4 Units Sold at 70% Royalty:  £7.04 (~$11.04)
  • 88 Units Downloaded Free
The Dowry; US
  • 11 Units Sold at 70% Royalty; 4 Units Returned: $14.35
  • 867 Units Downloaded Free
The Dowry; UK
  • 2 Units Sold at 70% Royalty:  £2.64 (~$4.14)
  • 111 Units Downloaded Free
Family History: Part 2; US
  • 188 Units Downloaded Free
Family History: Part 2; UK
  • 47 Units Downloaded Free
The Night Life: Chapter 1; US
  • 1 Unit Sold at 35% Royalty: $0.35
  • 138 Units Downloaded Free
The Night Life: Chapter 1; UK
  • 2 Units Sold at 35% Royalty; 1 Unit Returned:  £0.26 (~$0.40)
  • 33 Units Downloaded Free
Granted, it must be noted that KDP sent out a mass email tonight about sales reports not all being correct. From what I understand, the amount of money I earned this month should be correct, though I do believe there might be a few free downloads missing. However, for those who are in the loop who are thinking, "So why is it that YOUR sales reports are correct?", I figured I might as well throw in this little addendum to calm your nerves.

What I'm Expecting
  • I honestly think the fact that I got any sales at all this month was somewhat of a fluke. I'm not expecting these numbers again, at least not for awhile. 
  • However, since I have recently received two reviews for Family History: Part 1, I am hoping that I somehow see a jump in sales because of this.
  • In terms of sales, I'm expecting to maybe average around $20 total, between the US and UK, per month. Maybe. (Like I said, I strongly believe that this prior month was merely a fluke.)
What I'm Hoping For...
  • Most Importantly: I'm hoping to have The Night Life up for sale sometime around August. 
  • I would be tickled if it became my best-selling novel. Of all of them, I believe this one deserves it the most.
  • Money-Wise: I want to earn enough money from my writing that I can order a load of $100 bills, just so that I can fill a large room with said money and throw money all over myself while screaming, "I'm rich! I'm riiiich!" Realistically of course, I don't ever see this happening. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Obligatory Valentines Day Post?

For Valentines Day, somebody gave me the amazing gift of purchasing Family History: Part 1. At least, I hope somebody purchased it, seeing as KDP Reporting has had all kinds of problems lately, most of which I can't even begin to understand (in all seriousness, though, it's getting ridiculous and I want it to stop).
What are you doing for Valentines Day? Because all I know is that I went to Qdoba with my boyfriend and got buy-one-get-one free burritos, and it looks like I get to make aspirin tonight. Other than that, though, my day looks bland and uneventful. I actually have four exams this week, one every day except for yesterday, and I've only got one of them done. So, we'll have to see how it goes. Don't be surprised if the blog gets a little slow, though I do have some exciting posts coming up.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Upcoming/Current Appearances and Guest Posts.

Alright, first thing's first: there are two blogs I'm appearing on today, which I encourage you to check out.

The first is an interview I've done with Lynette Endicott featured on her blog. Her website can be found here, which I highly encourage everybody to check out. She's a romance novelist, an overall awesome person, and though it's somewhat irrelevant: her website is very well done.

The second is a slightly amusing guest post on Soup and Nuts, a writer's blog that is not about writing. Again, this is another blog that I highly encourage everybody to check out - there are some fairly amusing anecdotes there.

Also, a few days ago, I did an interview with Peter Lewis on his blog.

Now, there are also going to be a few upcoming guest posts featured right here on Predicted Hindsight. Next Friday, 2/17/2012, there will be a guest post by J.A. Beard on baking pies. :)

Also, though an exact date has no been decided yet, an interview of Russell Blake by Amber Norrgard will be be featured here. It should occur on or around March 1st, which is when his newest book, The Voynich Cipher.

So yes - there is a lot of exciting stuff going on, a lot of guest posts to check out, and a lot of authors worth reading!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

On Dreams Coming True.

I've mentioned in a few places that I've wanted to become an author since I was about six years old. Considering most childhood dreams seem to die at some point, either because they're too unrealistic ("I want to be just like Batman!") or not glamours like they are on TV ("I want to be a police officer!"), I find this to be somewhat of an amazing feat.

Even though I didn't go through the whole process of querying agents and publishers on my lovely masterpiece, this is, in some sense, a "dream come true". Why? Because people have purchased - yes, they've paid money! - for something that I wrote.

Yesterday, I jumped for joy as I saw that I had sold seven ebooks - 3 copies of The Dowry and four copies of Family History: Part 1. Considering both are currently up now for $2.99, that means that I made about ~$14 yesterday. It won't pay the rent or anything, but that's $14 more than I made then when those same novels were sitting idly in my hard drive.

Around this time last year, some friends of mine happened to run across some photography I've done. Truthfully, I scoffed at the idea, because I honestly could not think of a reason somebody would actually pay for photographs I've done, especially when I'm so willing to put them up here for free. Hell, I have an entire DeviantArt profile full of stuff I took just for fun that's free to view. To this day, it still seems silly to go out and attempt to sell these photos for anything more than free.

Truthfully, though, if they had told me the same thing about my writing, I probably still would have scoffed. One year ago, even though so many people were doing it, I still would have laughed at the idea, because who would want to pay for my work? My words? Impossible!

Yet sometime in mid-November, I was browsing Reddit's r/writing and came across this post by a man under the throwaway username "Throwaway_Writer". Basically, the entire post briefly mentions that he made $1000 in a single day - all from writing.

And suddenly, profiting off the novels that had been sitting in my hard drive for nearly two years didn't seem so impossible.

I started asking questions; first on that thread, then on others. I began scouring r/writing. I remember that I had previously dedicated this day to my studies, though all of that was quickly thrown out the window as I found myself focusing more on these "dreams" I had so badly wanted to achieve for so long. I had long ago decided that I was not going to traditionally publish either Family History or The Dowry, so it's not like I had that tying me down in any way. Honestly, neither of them were ever going to get picked up by publishers, except for maybe The Dowry - though even that would have required a lot of work.

I actually divided Family History into two at the suggestion of throwaway_writer himself, who actually had suggested dividing it into three and selling them for either $2.99 each or $0.99 for the first and $3.99 for the rest. Two, of course, was a more natural division for the story.

That day, I settled on a "publish-by" date of January 1st, though I actually didn't meet that since boyfriend and I had decided to take a road trip that began on the 28th of December. Though I did do a few things; I started this blog on December 1st, began tinkering with covers, and did some editing on Family History, which included the separation of the two stories. Despite everything, I did end up putting Family History up for sale up on Amazon by January 4th, which coincidentally, was also the 3rd anniversary of boyfriend and I being together.

So far, though, nothing's glamorous. I'm not running around the country talking to Oprah and signing the breasts of fan girls (because all girls want their favorite female authors to sign their breasts). Believe it or not, I've got a couple of guest posts coming up this weekend, which might do something for sales, though I'm not hopeful. I've also got a twitter account - again, that's got to count for something, no?

Yet despite the lack of glamour, the pitiful sales numbers, and everything else, I do have this: I'm able to cross "Get Published" off that ol' bucket list. Cheers to all the ambitious authors who've been able to do the same.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Feeling Uncreative Tonight, Though I Still Feel Obligated to Post.

Actually, though, today's been a good day. This is despite Santorum winning in Colorado. WTF, Colorado? (I blame Colorado Springs.)

Also, I would by lying if I said I was really following the republican primaries too closely. I just find it very strange that anybody would vote for Santorum. Honestly, though, I'm not sure why anybody would vote for any of the republican candidates. I really don't care for many of Ron Paul's views, though I still feel as though he's the lesser of all evils in this case.

Also, I find Santorum's name bothersome. I just hear "Sanatorium".

That said, I didn't come here tonight to start any flame wars. Like I had started to say, today has been a pretty damn good day, all things considered. Not only did I sell a few copies of Family History: Part 1 and The Dowry, but it turns out that there might be a "job" in my future. I'm going to go with a 25% here, even though I think the chance is a bit higher than that, just so that I don't get my hopes up.

Shit...I already have.

Anyways, I'll post some actual "content" now. How about a piece or two of old photography?

Just a sunflower - nothing really spectacular here. Though
if you care - taken in San Isabel National Forest, CO.

Actually my desktop background. Also taken in Wyoming.

This is all I hear when I see this picture. I promise - I really did take this one.
A Windmill; Thunder Basin, WY. (P.S. Never go there. You'll probably never
need to.)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Twitter Experiment, Part 6: Data and Numbers

I've decided that, rather than all of my posts about Twitter saying nothing more than "Tw1t3r suks stfu", I ought to write about something constructive.

I joined Twitter because everybody said that it was a great resource for authors, for advertising, connecting with authors, etc. The question is: has it worked?

First off, for the Twitter data itself: I joined Twitter on 1/20/2012. It is currently 2/7/2012. That means I've been "Tweeting" for 18 days.

In 18 days, I have gained 291 followers and have sent 360 tweets.

I know, I'm ashamed too. I've sent more tweets than gained followers.

Less "hard" data: because of Twitter, I'm scheduled for two upcoming guest blog posts on two different websites, so keep a lookout for those (although one isn't scheduled to occur until April 17th).

That said: let's look at something else. How has being on Twitter affected traffic to Predicted Hindsight?

Number of Page Views Prior to January 20th, 2012.

  • January 15th: 8
  • January 16th: 12
  • January 17th: 13
  • January 18th: 35
  • January 19th: 28
  • January 20th: 32
Now, keep this in mind: January 18th was SOPA blackout day. For whatever reason, my SOPA post attracted a lot of attention that I wasn't used to having. I was actually getting people getting to Predicted Hindsight via Google searches, mostly with terms containing "SOPA" in some form. The dates preceding January 18th are more representative of what I was used to.

Now, what about after January 20th?

(NOTE: I'm not including January 21st, 22nd, and 25th, because I think I might have posted a Reddit link that day, and those tend to skew the data pretty high. Since I'm not looking at "The Effect of Reddit on Data", there's no need to include them here.)
  • January 23rd: 5
  • January 24th: 7
  • January 26th: 28
  • January 27th: 28
  • January 28th: 25
  • January 29th: 49
  • January 30th: 8
  • January 31st: 13
  • February 1st: 17
  • February 2nd: 25
  • February 3rd: 33
  • February 4th: 48
  • February 5th: 35
  • February 6th: 31

But...What Does This Mean?

To be honest, this is not ALL Twitter. There are a few other things to consider. Like, first off, I established my Facebook Author Page just a few days before (I'm thinking it was about a day or two before SOPA blackout day). Also, I post most every blog post, at least the ones with substance, on the Kindle Boards blog thread. Despite having only 20 likes on Facebook and being relatively unknown on Kindle Boards, these seem to generate quite a bit of traffic themselves.

Also, with any statistic like this, we have to remember to keep this very important fact in mind: Correlation does NOT Equal Causation. 

So, what else, besides the factors mentioned above, might be contributing to the fact that this little blog does seem to be gaining some traction?

Well, first off, it is important to note that I've been working on this little project for more than 2 months now. The passing of time alone might be contributing as more and more people have the ability to run across this website.

Also, the blog also now has nine followers. Quickly: may I give a big THANK YOU to those who have followed? :D

That said, though - despite everything, I do think Twitter has a lot to do with the slow uptick in numbers, ESPECIALLY since my "Twitter" posts seemed to have gained "some" attention on their own. Quickly...
Also, keep in mind that these are just standalone page views - these don't even count the people who read these posts just be "scrolling down".

What Conclusions can be Drawn?

Really, it's pretty inconclusive. To REALLY gauge where I'm going, I should be ceasing all advertisement of posts on Twitter, but nowhere else. But am I going to do that? Maybe. Though what's the point of that? At this rate, I seem to be doing something right, something that seems to be working.

Also, something else of interest: I did a "secret" free download of Family History: Part 1 today. By secret, I mean I advertised NOWHERE - no Facebook, no Twitter, no Reddit or Kindle Boards. As of 9:27 pm MST, there are 15 U.S. downloads and 5 UK downloads. With some advertising on Twitter, Part 2 made it to 24 U.S. downloads and 1 UK download (also: 5 Germany Downloads).

So yeah, Twitter does seem to be doing something. 

Last Night, I had One of those "Fear of Public Speaking Dreams.

I was just going to type it all out, but I thought that would be pretty boring of me to do. So instead, I think I'll just draw out my dream in a series of MS Paint Drawings.

I don't know what it was about, but I had definitely completed that speech before this moment.

And then, out of nowhere....

That's not good....

That was SO not what I was supposed to give a speech about....

I know you're not "supposed" to start a speech this way, but at this point, I was at a loss for words.

Thanks, teacher. Real encouraging. Negative points? Really?

...because it's square?

I kept getting interrupted OVER AND OVER AGAIN.


I was booed off the stage - by my own teacher. Fancy that.

Monday, February 6, 2012

"Family History" Book Covers Done in MS Paint.

Look Here! I'm Featured!

Check this out. Peter Lewis, a fellow Kindleboards member, featured this interview with me. Oh, and I promise, the questions are not the normal, run of the mill, "Why do you write? What are you writing about?" Well, some of them are. Others are more entertaining than that.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Cool. A Postcard from My Hometown on Postsecret.

Wrong Lyrics!

If you live in America, there's a good chance that you've probably, at least once, heard the song "Moves Like Jagger." (OH MY GOD IT'S A MAROON 5 SONG?!). Well, here's my confession: Until I actually saw the name of the song, I thought it sounded like, "I got to move vagina."

"I got to move vagina, I got to move vagina, I got to moooooooooooooooooooooo."

Come on, though, how many of you here have never, not once in your life, mistook a set of lyrics for something else?

Like for awhile, in Slipknot's Duality, I thought that first phrase was, "I push my fingers into my IIIIIIIIICCEEEEE...!!!"

The funny thing, though, is that there's entire youtube videos of people creating "Wrong lyrics" videos, the most famous of which being a rendition of Nightwish's "Wishmaster".

Here's some more (from me):

"Now I can understand the solo that fits your liiiiice..." ("Burn it Down" by Avenged Sevenfold.)

(Bah...can't think of anymore immediately. Anybody else got some?)

I got to move vagina, I got to move vagina...

Obligatory Superbowl Post: Until Today, I Honestly Thought it was the Patriots and the Packers Playing.

I have no idea why I thought this. Seriously.

Maybe it's just because I kept seeing "Go Pats!", and read it as "Go Packs!" Those damn packs.

I live in an area where football is semi-important to people, I suppose. Actually, I'm surprised that football hasn't taken over the unofficial title of "America's Favorite Past Time." I don't know hardly any baseball fans myself, but I sure do know a hell of a lot of football fans.

Oh yeah, my television said that the Giants and the Patriots played just a few years ago. Was that the year that the Patriots were undefeated all year, and then the Giants snaked the win for them with just a few seconds to go? I remember that play. I tried to explain why it was awesome to my then-boyfriend, who thought I was fucking nuts for trying to explain it to him.

P.S. PEOPLE, PLEASE! If you're going to order pizza, please order it BEFORE 3:00 (MST). Oh, wait, it's 3:18. Crap. Well, my old workplace must be ready for a hell of a night. I hope that all the people that made my life hell that still work there (most of them, even 2-3 years later) have a terrible night. Suckers!

P.S.S. I know I'm shooting myself in the foot with my nice little "product placement" here, but if you're going to get pizza, order from your little local places. All the big chain places really suck.

P.S.S.S If you order delivery, tip your driver. They're missing the Super Bowl because their bosses would otherwise automatically fire them.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

I Just Got My First Review. Eeeek.

Okay, so it's a 3-star review.

Personally, I'm totally cool with that, though. Because to me, 3-star reviews still mean that they liked it, or at least they thought it was okay.

Considering I wrote Family History Part 1 and Part 2 two years ago, though, and had not really looked at them too much since, I'm good with that. I know that I've gotten better. I also know that not everybody is going to like my writing. In fact, I'm surprised anybody's liked it enough to buy it. Especially The Dowry. I'm dreading the day somebody finally decides to review that book...*shudder*.

But honestly, I would rather have a mix of good and bad reviews. There's this one guy on my twitter who is constantly boasting about how his book has something like 27 Five-Star reviews. I clicked the link to his book to see if it was true. It was, indeed true, but there was something else missing - other reviews. That's right, his 27 5-Star Reviews were his only reviews.

Honestly, that just makes me feel like he has a generous extended family or an extensive group of friends.

Anyways, here is the link to Family History: Part 1 with the review. I'll post the text below:

KT Hall's Family History Part 1 is a generational tale about Collie Barrett and her descendants and how they deal with an old family curse. The story begins with Collie and her brief but passionate sexual encounter with a stranger. She gets pregnant from this encounter with Marie. Marie grows up to become a beautiful albeit na├»ve girl who, like her mother before her, finds herself with child and an uncertain future. 

It's easy to mistake the novel, which is set in the backdrop of 19th century England, as a historical romance. It's not. Far from it. Even though the bulk of the book deals with romantic love, the characters are complex and do not adhere to any kind of stereotype that you might find in romance books. Collie for instance is a strong-willed woman who is quite intuitive about people. Yet, her daughter, Marie, is almost the opposite. It's revealed in the book that while she thought she was pregnant with her beau's child, it was in fact his cousin that she had unwittingly been sleeping with. 

The writing is focused and does not meander. You can tell that KT Hall is a precision writer who values control. In fact, it might be too controlled. The story is divided into different time periods that almost read like thinly connected vignettes. This is a good thing if you like reading snippets of what life is like in 19th century England. However, in this case, you won't know it without the chapter titles. The author does not take the time to world-build so you're left with little to discover about what life was like back then. The characters all talk like it's Midwest USA, 2012. Maybe that's a point, if not the point. Some readers will like it because it's postmodern. For me, at least, it's a distraction and therefore at times it pulls me from the story, particularly when a character refers to someone as a "guy". Would it have killed the author to at least use some English slang--not all the time but at least once or twice--to create verisimilitude?

As for the family curse: I don't think it's ever intended to be a mystery. In the first few pages, you'll find out what it is. And yet, the author never truly delves into it. Perhaps, again, it's because the story doesn't end with Part 1.
Still, despite these shortcomings, the book is an enticing read, one filled with intrigue. When you read this book keep in mind that it's the journey that matters not the destination. It is, after all, just the first part of an even bigger story. I can't wait to find out what happens next. favorite part was "KT Hall is a precision writer who values control."

Yay for first reviews!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Twitter Experiment, Part 5: Foreseeing an Eventual Mass "Unfollowing".

At this point, I'm just making a mockery of myself. Seriously. 

Obscurity at Best

I started this post at about 9:00 am this morning, because after checking out my data for my free promo of Family History: Part 2 and seeing that I couldn't even give it away, I fell into some kind of depression. The kind where you realize you mean pretty much nothing to this world, especially as an author, and wonder if you'll ever gain any kind of traction in this competitive world.

However, I seem to have sold 3 copies of The Dowry today; 2 in the UK and 1 in the US, though I'm not really sure why. It's honestly not that good of a story.

I think, though, that the only real reason that The Dowry is doing so well, is because it's a standalone book, and it is not obviously labeled CHAPTER ONE (like my preview of The Night Life). People see "Part 2" on Family History and think, "Oh dear good golly gosh, I would have no idea what goes on!" But, the thing is, you would. The ending would make more sense if you read Part 1, but other than that, you would be perfectly in the clear. Read the descriptions, people.

This does make me wonder how "The Night Life" will do, since it is it's own standalone story. I hope it does rather well when it comes out, actually, because it really is a beautiful story. I'm so confident, in fact, that I'm going to blackmail my graphic artist friend into making me a real cover, because he owes me money anyways. It seems there's a reason I never bugged him too much about it, even though it was a somewhat substantial amount (for me).

That's all I have tonight, folks, unless you're interested in more drawings of Twitter using MS Paint. I haven't actually done any of those, though, so even that would be problematic at best for tonight.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Twitter Experiment, Part 4: Follow Friday.

First off, let me precede this with a note: Blogger Really Ought to have a "Subtitle" Option."

Because my Subtitle would be appropriately titled, "Follow My Updates on How I Sold Out."

In fact, I could probably do an entire blog just on my experience with Twitter, and why I all at once dislike it and can't seem to stop using it (grrr!).

If my Twitter posts are getting old, I'm rather surprised, because for whatever reason, they seem to be the posts that gain the most attention, though I'm not really sure why. Though my last post, entitled "What My Twitter Looks Like Now", got a substantial amount of views (substantial for me, anyways). Actually, that's funny, because all it really was was a drawing I did in MS Paint.

Perhaps I should make these "Twitter Experiment" Posts more official-like, starting off by linking to the previous "Twitter Experiment" posts. Maybe I'll do that at the end of the post.

Anyways, onto the topic at hand.

Tomorrow is Friday. Actually, for folks in the mountain time zone, Friday comes in about 3.5 hours. And what is Follow Friday?

According to the first result of Google for "Follow Friday": "#followfriday is a game in which people suggest who to follow on Twitter. It helps everyone find interesting Twitter users. You list the users you recommend following and add “#followfriday” anywhere in the Tweet so others can find it. The “#” is very important – don’t forget it!"

Do you want to know something really cool, though?

Somebody told people to follow me!

And that person has a ridiculous number of followers, too (90k+).

Do people actually follow those "FollowFriday" suggestions? Maybe I ought to find people to "recommend".

"Please Follow -> @KT_Hall_Author @KT_Hall_Author @KT_Hall_Author @KT_Hall_Author."

...because that totally works, right?

What Was Your First Album?

Although I don't think I would ever go so far as to claim that "Music iz mi lyf!!1!", music does play some importance in my life - mainly, there's usually something playing in the background whenever I'm doing just about anything, be it writing, studying, or just plain ol' surfing the web. (You may or may not have seen my January 16th post on my latest music tastes.)

(1:56pm Mountain Time; Currently Playing: "Baby One More Time" - Britney Spears. What?)

Now, I think most of us remember our first albums, do we not? I think, however, it's especially important to many people, especially those born since about 1960-70, since music has only recently become easily available thanks to vinyl records, cassette tapes, 8-Tracks, and CDs. Thus, I think most people who ever owned some sort of musical device probably remember their first album, whether it was played with a needle or a series of lasers.

When I was around eight years old or so, I was into some music, most of which came from the radio. I particularly remember Lou Bega's "Mambo Number 5", which quickly became my favorite song. After all, it was catchy, and no eight year old really understands what's really going on in half of these songs anyways.

For whatever reason, my parents decided it was appropriate to buy this album for me. I don't even think I ever listened to the other songs on the album; how many of you can name a song by a one-hit-wonder that wasn't their debut song? (Hell, how many of you also knew that A-Ha only broke up a few years ago?)

The funny thing is that I was growing up around the time that The Backstreet Boys/N'Sync was insanely popular. As an eight year old girl, I thought that boy bands were incredibly silly, even when so many others my age thought that "OHHH EMMM GEEE NICK IS SO HAWWWTT." (Is one of them named Nick? I honestly have no idea.) I also did not care for Britney Spears at the time, when again, so many people did (though not just for her singing, ha).

(2:12 pm Mountain Time, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra has just come up in my library!)

My first real album, though, the one I truly consider to have "owned", is Evanescence's "Fallen". In 2003, when I was just beginning to grow up, I fell in love with the rock-female singer combo. For my twelfth birthday, not only did I receive "Fallen", but I also got my very own portable CD player, which I still have laying around some place, actually. 

(2:17 pm Mountain time; "Last Train to Memphis" - The Band.)

Two years later, for my fourteenth birthday, I found myself the owner of a First Generation Ipod Nano. They had literally just come out that same month, and I adored how small they were. However, it would quickly become apparent that 4 gb of space just wasn't enough for me. Yet at the time, I only listened to Green Day, Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, and Evanescence (and similar bands). Space wasn't a large concern for me.

Until, of course, I met Ryan.
Ryan was 21, and he liked cool music. He didn't listen to lame mainstream stuff, but cool stuff, like 90's grunge music (some of which I was already listening to) and Drum and Bass. He was the reason I ever heard of Pendulum, Jefferson Airplane, and the one I am probably indebted to him for, Richard and Linda Thompson.   (2:24 pm Mountain Time: "In Only Seven Days" - Queen).
You see, when I was nearing the completion of "Family History", I was beginning to search my subconscious for another idea for a story. Richard and Linda Thompson's album, "Shoot Out the Lights" was my original inspiration, because somehow, I saw the entire album as a story waiting to be completed. I wanted there to be a movie where that album served as the soundtrack. Somehow, it became my job to do just that. And, after some intricate workings, I came up with a rough plot for "The Night Life."

(NOTE: This portion of this post was entirely unplanned. And I might detail how I arrived at the rough plot sometime, but not now. Mostly because I would have to explain every song and what it meant, and I honestly have no idea where I would begin with that, other than starting at Track #1.)

Coming Soon: A Post on that silly little poll I had about DRMs, and what they mean to different authors.