Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The words that subtly ruin your writing

We all know when we read something terrible. The less literarily inclined will likely not understand what it is about the thing they're reading which is making it bad, they just know it is. Even some who read often, or have written books, will not understand what it is that's subtly making the work they're reading, or writing, horrid.

It feels strange for my work to continue making leaps and bounds. Every time I feel like I've gotten to an acceptable level, I'll write something new, then look back, and realize how awful the last work was. It's confusing. How could I think something is good, then three months later realize how bad it is?

I digress, for a bit of a purpose. I've recently realized I use many words in my writing which slows down the read, makes it clunky, and all around... bleh. We'll start with the number one offender.

THAT

If you can imagine, I scanned for the word "that" just before I typed the headline. I, in fact, stopped dead in the last paragraph as I typed out "tha" in place of the word "which". Then I hit "cmnd+f" and searched for it. I've become hyper aware of THAT.
I didn't know, but it's so completely unnecessary. Let me give an example.

There are things that you don't know about me, Detective Jones.

How did that read. Alright-ish, yeah? It's fine, whatever. But now, read this:

There are things you don't know about me, Detective Jones.

So much better, is it not?

Not convinced? It's OK. I'll work harder.

The grey house that was at the end of the street had always had a strange look about it, like there was a cloud that hung over it, casting shadows in frightening ways.

Writing the above took me a considerable amount of time. It's easy in the heat of the moment to craft a terrible sentence, but when on the spot, I couldn't conjure the words. OK. The sentence is truly bad. Here's the fix for "that".

The grey house at the end of the street had always had a strange look about it, like there was a cloud which hung over it, casting shadows in frightening ways.
OR
like there was a cloud hanging over it, casting shadows in frightening ways.

Take the word "that" away, and if it reads alright, you didn't need it in the first place. If you take "that" out and it doesn't make sense, sub in "which" for inanimate (non-sentient) objects, and "who" when it's a sentient object. For example, if the cloud was our main character, with feeling we'd say: like there was a demon cloud who hung over it, casting shadows in frightening ways.

I don't know why it was a demon cloud, but when it's a demon cloud, it's a "who", but if it was a demonic cloud, back to "which". 

Or maybe you do a bit of rewording magic and remove the need for either/any.

Next offender.

HAD

Let's just take the last sentence, and write the better version of it, sans "had".

The grey house at the end of the street always had a strange look about it, like there was a cloud which hung over it, casting shadows in frightening ways.

The first "had" is totally unneeded. If you want to take it a step further (not farther, even though we're stepping... it's a metaphorical step...) we'll remove them both.

The grey house at the end of the street always looked strange, like there was a cloud which hung over it, casting shadows in frightening ways.

Bleh, it's used improperly so often.

SO

So, this post is getting too long for my liking... much too long. Not sure if you noticed after reading that headline, but I've used "so" several times throughout this posting.

"So completely unnecessary"
"So much better"
"So often"

None of those "so's" do anything for the sentence other than emphasize it. If you want to emphasize something, don't use "so", use a different word.

"Utterly unnecessary"
"Infinitely better"
"In multiplicity"

Alright. There's more words, but this post is, as said, drawing on. Night kiddies. Don't get into these pitfalls of words.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Nightmares Unhinged - A Review

So... I finished reading Nightmares Unhinged a bit ago, but sort of dallied around writing the review. I should have written it sooner so they were all freshly on my mind, but I quick scan through the pages and I was back in with them easily.

From the clutches of Hex Publishers, edited by Josh Viola (my author idol - fangirl barf withheld for your ease of reading), I'm please to present my loose opinions on all of the works therein. I would suggest that everyone at least borrow the book from someone they know, if not buy it outright themselves. I'm super lucky to have a signed copy by many of the authors and the lone wolf artist, Aaron Lovett.

You can find the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Nightmares-Unhinged-Twenty-Tales-Terror-ebook/dp/B013JAPZVQ

Without further ado:

The Brollachan - Steve Rasnic Tem: 3.8/5
The story was devoid of gore or sexual situations. It was engaging, though it did drag at some points. The reveal was a bit hollow, because the conclusion was obvious several pages before then. Writing style was easy to get into, and flowed well. I enjoyed the concept, and the "old wives tale" come to life sort of feel in the story.

Fangs - J.V. Kyle: 4.6/5
I really liked this story. Also devoid of sexual situations and gore. It had a very fun, even playful, concept. It plays a bit on addiction, which is a very welcome addition to the story. The only reason it didn't earn a 5/5 was that I saw it coming a few pages in. The writing style was on par with what you'd expect for a horror short: snappy, and quick paced.

Be Seated - Keith Ferrell: 4.2/5
Very odd story. Again, no gore or sexual situations, but something... cultish... about it. You never really discovered much about what it was going on in that chair, in that house, by that hearth, but I think that made it all the more intriguing. I think the mystery was a lot of what the story had going on for it. The blank space used to talk about the narrator's subject matter, "Mr. A____", was a bit jarring to read so many times, and so I felt the flow suffered a bit because of it.

The Man Who Killed Texas - Stephen Graham Jones: 3.8/5
This story was only a tiny bit gory, but no sexual situations. It was a fun read, and very near to how I think the actual situation (post viral outbreak) would go down. It was a bit longer than necessary to convey the story at hand, but was still effective and interesting, not to mention sad. The style was easy to read.

Scarecrows - Josh Viola: 4.2/5
No gore or sexual situations, but triggers if bullying gets you. The story was touching, and vengeful. The writing was easy to read, and flowed well.

Zou Gou - Mario Acevedo: 4.6/5
I'm a sucker for sci-fi, so my rating might be a little biased. Both gore and sexual situations present in this one, but it didn't detract or distract from the story. I cringed about twice, the first time so far for Nightmares Unhinged. It was interesting and odd, deserved much more than a few pages. I've heard there is a full length novel to follow, which I'm drooling for in anticipation if it meets the quality of this short.

Needles - Josh Viola & Dean Wyant: 4.8/5
Sexual situations, and rape triggers, and a splash of gore at the end. I cringed unendingly at this story. I get a bit eeeeeeeee about rape, so that had me crossing my legs. It was creepy as hell, flowed great, but could have been paced better (probably the reason for falling short of 5). Another story with heavy addiction mentions.

The Projectionist - Jason Heller: 4.4/5
Did I just do drugs? Like... all the drugs? This is possibly the goriest story of the lot, and contains not only sexual situations, but... I think incest. I'm not sure how else to feel about this other than it was extremely interesting, but also confusing. I was left with a lot of questions, much like "Be Seated". I cringed at this one quite a bit, but the pacing and writing were both excellent.

The Wolf's Paw - Jeanne C. Stein: 2.6/5
I suppose my assessment of this is not completely fair, since I know this short was pulled from a longer work. However, it is not a very good standalone. The story was not well told in the few pages it was given, and I did not enjoy the writing style. The entire thing was quick, snappy, and there was no pause. I'm assuming the entire work was not written this way, and this was just one very quick, intense part of an otherwise well paced story. I'm not able to tell, since I did not read the full work.

Danniker's Coffin - Keith Ferrell: 3.6/5
No gore or sexual situations for this one. It was not scary, or cringe worthy, yet quite sad. So, so realistically sad. It was a bit drawn out, but I think that lent to the depressing nature of it. The story was slow and long, as said, but flowed well.

Deep Woods - Aaron Michael Ritchey: 4/5
Gore present, but no sex. I liked this take on the "monster in the woods" kind of story. I was pleased with the way it ended. The pacing was great, and the narration easy to read.

Diamond Widow - Dustin Carpenter: 3/5
No sex, not really gore either. I wanted to like this story, but from the title and first two paragraphs, I knew the whole story. That's pretty depressing... =( I don't like being able to predict what's going to happen, it takes all the fun out. It was well written and paced, and a fun play on a damsel in distress.

The Camera - Josh Viola: 3.8/5
Some sexual content, not much gore. This story made me seeth a bit. It's narrated by a female whose fiance is a douche turd. I wanted to punch him in his douchy face. Fortunately, that wasn't necessary. There were some unpredictable elements, which was nice after Diamond Widow, but I did foresee the end. It was well paced and written.

Lost Balls - Sean Eads: 3.6/5
Here's another one I'm biased on, simply because I disdain golf, and it played a decent roll in the story. Please don't tell my grandfather, but it's the most useless, boring "sport" on the planet. The pacing was a bit slow, but when it picked up, it really picked up. I did get a chill, and I could see the environment around the bridge, so that was all very well done. Damn it, why'd it have to be lame golf >.<? No sexual content or gore.

Bathroom Break - J. V. Kyle: 4/5
Sexual content abound, but no gore. This story... upset me. The lead character went against one of my strongest, highest held morals, for the duration of the story, in detail. I understand what it was trying to convey, but couldn't depart from my own feelings of hatred towards the lead throughout. When it looked like he was about to get a happy ending, I almost put it down. Hmm... I suppose I should adjust my rating. If it was able to elicit such levels of emotion, it probably deserves more than what I've given it. Rating adjusted.

Marginal Ha'nts - Edward Bryant: 3.8/5
No gore or sexual content. I was very amused by this story. I would love to believe that I could react the way that the narrator does. It was a tad slow, but well written. There was a very fun and playful air about the story, almost bored, even.

Delicioso - Warren Hammond: 3.8/5
Some sexual content, but that's it. I was able to predict how this was going to go pretty early in. I should probably stop reading so much =( or maybe turn my brain off so it's not constantly trying to figure out the ending. It was well written and paced, devilishly dark and devious, downright dirty to the depths of its demented soul. Ok, I took that one a bit far, but wanted to have fun with it. Delicioso was another damsel in distress story flipped on its head. I enjoy those, but needed a bit more to keep me wondering how it would end.

The Librarian - Josh Viola: 4.2/5
A nice follow to Delicioso, which I figured out quite quickly, this one I could not. I even put it down for a bit and tried to think of what it could be. I did have a decent guess part of the way through, but then an even cooler, new secret was revealed. I was a bit disappointed in the reaction of the narrator at the reveal, as I would have been more surprised, but it was amusing to read her indifference to the situation. Well paced, fun to read. No sexual content or gore.

Gurgle. Gurgle. - Mario Acevedo: 3.6/5
This was hilarious. I laughed many times, and therefore, it's not really horror to me. Once I start laughing... the horror is dead. It was a fun story though, with a great moral surprisingly. Pacing was alright, just a little slow, but the writing was easy to read. No sexual content, but a bit of gore.

Taking The Dare - Gary Jonas: 3.8/5
There was a lot of emotion to this story, like several others. I was hoping it would have ended differently, but I was satisfied. Because of the nature of short stories, it was a bit predictable, but not so much. Pacing was good, there were two main peaks of tension.

Overall, enjoyable works of fiction.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

All the edits, and so little time - Pick your battles and hills to die on

Since my edits came in for The Mill before I'd officially started blogging, I decided to not write on it at that time. But now, edits for Sway's Demise are in, and by god, they're good.
Also, hello, long time no see. I'm sorry I've been so absent. I promise to do better and write to you more =)

Step one in receiving edits - Don't get mad, bro

You just paid someone to read your work and tell you what they think, not tell you what you want to hear. If you want to pay someone to tell you what you want to hear, you should buy a hooker. Hmmm that was a bit dark. Anyway.
Do not get upset when you're reading the feedback from your editor(s). You have paid them (maybe) to help you, and that is what they're trying their damndest to do. They don't want to purposefully hurt your feelings after you've given them money (or trusted them to give them a free copy instead of payment):
A) It's bad for them. If you think they're just going to take a dump on you every time, you will likely find someone else to edit your works, unless you're a sadist... but that's another topic for another time.
B) It's exhausting to write feedback. They're not going to go through all of that out of spite. They're doing it to provide you with some kind of valuable takeaways, so you'll want to use them in the future.

This, of course, isn't to say once you start reading through the feedback you can't feel hurt for a bit. I do because there's ALWAYS something that needs to change. I mostly laugh at my misspellings/grammar errors, as I feel like such a derp (but very grateful they were found). It's the story components getting ripped up as "a useless trope" or "unimaginative cliche" which really stings.

Step two - You're in control

Just because you paid this person (or didn't) to read your work and provide feedback, doesn't mean you have to follow all of it, or most of it... hell, or any of it. If you truly believe at your core their suggestion is not valid, do not follow it.
At the end of the day you must figure out what feedback, no matter how bad it hurts to consider, is something you feel your target audience might think as well. If your target audience doesn't get it, doesn't like it, wants to read something else... maybe reconsider your target audience, but also consider making some changes.
I've included some pretty realistic militia and post apocalyptic situations for Sway's Demise, but found out through one of my editors, that she wasn't getting it (and she's mostly within my target audience range). This is super valuable, and super sad. I'd spend a considerable amount of time crafting some of these situations to be real, but the only ones who will recognize it or care will be the very few females that are into survivalist and military stuff. I'm guessing that the number of women aged 15-25 interested in sci-fi/action books and also have working knowledge of militia makeup/behavior will be... hmm... one. And that one is me. Wait. I'm 27. Sh*t... Zero.

TL;DR It's your choice what feedback you accept. Always keep that in mind and you'll be a much happier writer.

Step three - Bring it all together

If you have multiple editors, wait to make story altering changes until all edits are in. Yeah... that's all I have to say on that. I think I could go into more detail as to why, but I'm pretty sure you can figure the reason our for yourself. Just like you wouldn't submit a report on life altering diseases without all the research coming in, don't do that with your story. You could make grave errors.

Step four - Resubmit

Not all editors are going to be thrilled at the idea of re-reading your story and going through round two of edits, but it's crucial. Make sure when you're engaging with the editor that a "round two" or even three is covered in your payment (or agreement). It's vital for the editor to see the changes made, and be able to give additional feedback on it. Sometimes 3 rounds are necessary, but if you let them know the suggestions you've declined in round 2, it will probably be the last one you'll need.

I'm currently on step three. Man... one of the bits of feedback is to change the voice of the story. That is a massive undertaking and so I'll do a trial chapter to see if it works out. I didn't get that feedback directly from the other editor, but I asked about it. We'll see if it's something I need to do. But then again, at the end of the day, I'm in control. It's my choice to not change the tense, but I have to truly believe in my gut that changing to third person won't improve the story in a drastic way.

Blerg... night kiddies.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Launch party complete - It's been a while

Heeeeeeeey Kiddies. It's been a bit. I'm super sorry. Life has been busy as f***, but now it's better! Sway's Demise is "feature complete", and now we just need to go through the "bug fix" phase. Oh no, my producer self is bleeding into my author self.

OK, back on topic. The launch party!!

So, I put postcard flyers out everywhere, and what did it net me? Nothing. Not a damn thing. Also, the table tents I purchased for the location were thrown out by one of the staff, because they were "unaware". I did confirm with the head staff member about 94 times that the event was taking place, but still... an "unaware" staff member threw out $30 of my launch. Scratch that, $28. We found ONE of the table tents shoved in a corner, so I took it home at the end of the night (Thanks Gunther!)

So, what the F*** did I learn.

Nothing else matters

No one picks up physical things anymore. Not a single person.
People are flakey as hell, and don't read.
If you can't capture your audience in less than 15 words, you lose.
Wow, that was a lot of lessons in one.

Buy them... buy them all

Advertising to get your face in front of people works. If you have disposable income, do it. If not... I hope you have disposable time, because you need to get your face in front of people. Bring yourself, and your work, to the places where you think they'll love you. Then shake every hand (no matter what's on it, that's what Purell is for) and smile at everyone. Tell them how much you love your work, even if (secretly) you really don't. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's not good. I personally dislike my first work (not so secretly anymore) because I know how much better it could have been if I had just... done something else. F***, I don't know what it is but something.

I'm hoping at this point you've recognized that I'm not with all of my senses. No I'm not. I'm celebrating god F***ing damn it. Sway's Demise (my new love) is finished, and I'm celebrating the fact that I'm in love with it. While I write to you about how stuff didn't go as awesome as I'd planned for launch, but found out I have many friends that love me dearly.

TL;DR To summarize this point, if you can't spend copious amounts of facetime with potential readers, spend copious amounts of money acquiring them. If you do neither, you better have 5,000 friends to share your sh*t, or you're f***ed.
Not sure why I'm bleeping my curse words, I forewarn everyone that this is an adult-ish blog.... F*** it.

Eye contact and smiles

It may feel scary, and strange, but when at the booth/event, make eye contact with everyone, and smile kindly. Don't stretch the smile... that's Joker status. Just smile a little bit, look into their soul, and drag them into your hell.
Eye contact is uncomfortable for most, but when you smile genuinely, it's attractive. I, myself, have been drawn into booths by both males and females taking the time to look at me and smile. It means you care. It means you give f**ks about that human, to take the time to look at them. They'll feel like you can see them.

Make all the smalltalk

I know it feels like you don't have time to communicate to every human that came to see you, but you're there for however the F*** long it takes to sell out, right? So you have time. I know you want to make sure that everyone else gets in and out in a timely manner, so identify those people, sign their sh*t, and get them the F*** out. They're not here to talk to you anyway, so GTFO.

Sell yourself

You make your first sales. I mean that like you make your first sales. People aren't going to be interested in your work, they're interested in you. Same reason why when you have a booth (if you're a dude, or not between the ages of 18-25) buy girls between the ages of 18-25 to sell your stuff. I have in good confidence from someone waaaaaaaay more successful than me that if you have young, attractive females run your booth/event, you'll have double or triple sales.
Trust the well respected author who knows way more, and has sold way more books than me.

Bars aren't really the place

The "bar" I selected (a tap house and brewery) was filled with my demographic... and not. I was targeting: Female, 16-28, interested in horror & fantasy. But the other 9/10ths of the bar was either men (3/4ths) or women outside of the demographic (1/6th) WOOO I CAN MATHS! There were a few other reasons that it didn't go fantastic for me.

What did go fantastic for me?

My friends and family love me. Apparently, I'm doing something right, because at least 35 people I knew showed up to support me. <3
I've gotta say, I've never been so honored in my life. Unbelievable feeling to know that people I know, even people who hardly read, were coming and buying my book.
Also, beer is yummy, so I had a pretty good time having drinks bought for me.

Well... That's about all I have to teach kiddies. Did I make any points? I'm not sure now. I could proofread, buuuuut I'm not going to. Yep.... night kiddies! ^_^

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Maintaining good relationships with Reviewers

Hmmm... this one seems as if it's a multi-purposed post. For not just the writing in your life, but other things like your day job, maybe even casual friendships. I'd like to talk about how to maintain a good relationship with people, so when the time comes, there's no question in their mind about helping you out, or vice versa.
I know, that sounds really selfish. But as I dive in, you'll see it's not quite as bad as you think. Let's be honest, first off. Most things that you do in life are to benefit yourself in some way. If you think about it, it's true. Why find a lover/partner? To not be lonely. Why do the dishes for that partner? To make them happy so when you ask something of them, they'll return the favor. Etc, etc, etc.

Anyway, on with the post. Step 1...

Sharing is caring

It may take some time, but through a few casual emails, you can get your reviewer to open up to you by sharing tiny bits of yourself. They'll see that you really are a human on the other side of the text, and start to connect with you.
You have to want this. You have to. If you do not truly want to connect with this human on a personal level, you will stop giving a shit, and you will let the relationship fall by the wayside, and they will recognize that emails coming from you only mean you have a new piece out that you want to thrust at them.

Be diligent

Remember the important details of your reviewers, or the details they feel are important. Where they live, brothers & sisters, a new job they're applying for, what degree they're attempting to obtain in school, a book they're working on, new house, etc. Follow up on these items with them through email to show that you were paying attention, and you do care if they got the job, got the house, finished school, saw their family for the first time in years.
Remembering details of many people can be difficult, so fortunately you have email history to look at, and you're never, or rarely ever, put on the spot to remember it without being able to reference said emails. I do this sort of thing for a living at my job, so it's become second nature to remember a ton of details about what's going on with 20-30 different people at a time... which reminds me, I need to follow up on something when I get in the office tomorrow morning ^_^

Actually care

I know it's a strange thing to say, and it's a hard mentality to develop, but learn to actually care. My boss taught me this. It's not enough that you asked, and remembered, and follow up later, then acted excited for their success, or downtrodden for their failure... You must actually give fucks about them and their life.
You'll notice if they're interested in you, and connecting, they will do the same. If, after many attempts, you notice they're not interested, gauge your desire to have them on your side. Ah, I say on your side... but truly that's what it is. When it comes down to it, and you have a new work that you'd like to share with them, and they have a very busy schedule, they'll be on your side and find the time to make it happen.
Anyway, gauge the importance of this potential relationship. Do they enjoy your work, or was it just so-so to them? Is their review/writing style on par with how you like to communicate to your audience? Do they have a wide reach, or a large audience? After answering yes to all three of those, I would say continue to pursue them, gently... don't be overbearing and email twice a week, or overshare. Perhaps, even come right out and ask them, "Are you interested in maintaining a relationship with me outside of the author/reviewer relationship we have? Because I am." Maybe they'll go, "Hey, shit, I didn't realize that's what you were trying to do... totally, I'd love to!" or... maybe it'll be like, "Yeah I don't have time to email you about personal stuff." and if that's the case, just be like, "Totes cool. In the future, if I have stuff for reading, would you like me to contact you?" And then all that awkward courtship stuff is over and you can move on to fostering the relationships that really matter.

Welp... I better get my chunky butt off the couch and go for a run or something >_> have a good Sunday kiddies!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Writer's block - *sigh*

We all get it from time to time, the dreaded inability to formulate sentences, lead one action into the next. A lot of people say "DRIVE ON!" Just keep writing, force it out, write something terrible, doesn't matter. I find it pretty difficult to do this.
I'm not sure how to help you... I can't even help myself... But here's what I've been trying or thinking of trying.

Read other writings

You've been staring at your own work for days, or longer, with no idea how to keep going. It's time to start looking at other things. Even if it doesn't help get your creativity flowing, at least you read something other than what you've been rereading forever, right?

Try to critique other stuff

Movies, poetry, presidential speeches, whatever, just start critiquing. What's well thought out, what's needing more work, what do you like/hate/want to burning a fire. Figuring out what you like and don't like about something else may help you remember how to write the stuff you like.

Revisit a previous work - or look at a new one

If you're like me, you have three to five writing projects at different stages of development at one time. I'm not saying it's optimal... but it's what I've got. Writing a fresh story, or getting a new take on one you've completed may "unbind" you from the current one. Though I do really dislike task switching unless it's writing for one and editing for another, I've been thinking about doing this.

Maybe you really just need a break...

So take one. How long is up to you, but I advise setting a strict "break" start and stop date so you don't blow way past the writers block end and waste a bunch of time sitting on your butt playing video games.

Maybe you really just need to power through...

The thing I didn't want to think about. Maybe I should just suck it up and write something horrible so I can get back to writing. Ugh. Even this blog post sucks. Maybe this was the horrible thing I needed to get out.

Whatever you decide to do, remember to stay positive. Writer's block isn't forever. Night kiddies ^_^

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mile High Horror Film Festival - A Critique

Critique... The English language is an enigma man... I would spell that word criteek, but f*ck me, whatever.
You can tell its late, because I'm starting this post out bashing the language I use to tell stories. On with what I came here to talk about.

Even Lambs have Teeth - 7/10
I'll give it points for all the gore and some decent acting, but goodness it was predictable... Down to how every kill was going to happen, I knew it.
The opening scene is a bit disorienting, and confusing. I didn't think it meshed well with the overall story arch. From that opening, one of the main characters behaves completely contrary to how she had behaved, 4 minutes ago. So, write off the opening scene, ignore how predictable it is, or if you can, shut your brain off. It'll make the movie more enjoyable.
I had the pleasure of meeting one of the main characters after the show. She was very cute, and dainty in person, but was able to own the naughty girl thing on camera...

Series of shorts - all over the place
The ones that stick out the most were the best, and worst... Or rather weirdest. Actually, I remember the name of everything except the very first one and it was a music video. Very cool and enjoyable, don't remember what it's called.

Vicious - 8/10
Lots of jumps, told a complete story in under 8 minutes, well acted. I really liked this one.

Invaders - 6/10
It was kinda funny. Acting was meh. Story had little depth.

Zone 2 - 7/10
Fairly decent, well acted on both parts, told a nice complete story in about 7 minutes. No jumps or scares.

Scumbag - 4/10
Story was meh, cheating husband gets what he deserved... Meh acting. Mehmehmeh, you can tell its late now.

Peripheral - 7.5/10
This one's concept was good, but fell short of an 8 because of subpar acting (actress got her line wrong... And they kept it...) and the CGI for the alien/monster/thing was pretty cruddy, or their design was cruddy. It was just not frightening. A darkened sillohett would have been way scarier, and less cheezeballz.

I can't remember the name of the last one but it gets 3/10. Did not like, couldn't tell a story, monster did weird stuff and looked cheesy, acting was OK but very little of it.

He Never Died - 10/10
I'll start by saying Henry Rollins is my fuckin hero, I love that guy. Movie was well paced, very unexpected but welcome comedy, he stayed fully in character so well, all the acting was phenomenal, story was pretty good. I guess it deserves a 9.5/10 because the bad guy motivation reveal was kinda lamesauce, but matching with the story... So back to 10.
Not a horror by far, but couldn't recommend more. So good, going to buy it when it's out.


And now, I pass out. Night kiddies!


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Receiving Criticism - How to improve instead of surrendering

The Mill's first 1 star review, it finally happened! But I'm not sad. You can never please everyone, it's just not possible. I'm very glad that this was not my first review of The Mill - that may have been a little soul crushing - but all the same, her opinions and views are valid and potentially helpful to other readers.

I respect Evelyn all the more for her honesty, she truly hated my novella! And that's fine, because she does not hate me as a writer/human being (I hope >_>).

Most reviewers are not interested in attacking you personally - and if they are, you know who not to talk to anymore. Evelyn was pretty brutal with her assessment, but only because she wants to see the work improve. Who wants to read a shitty book? No one! While it makes me nervous now that everyone will feel this way about my work, I'm not disheartened. This is an exemplary learning opportunity.


Step one to Learning

Identify if the criticism is coming from your target audience. If the answer is no, probably take it with a grain of salt, but still investigate. If the answer is yes, write down all of the points in the criticism that the reviewer mentioned as unpleasurable to them.

Next up

As unbiasedly as humanly possible, take all of the points and reread your work. Write down where you notice what the reviewer mentioned, then postulate on how to fix the issues.

Keep a running list of complaints

If your work is being called out for a few specific things, again and again, it's likely time to take a hard visit on that matter.

Request pointers directly from the reviewer

If you have a decent relationship with the reviewer, it would be a good idea to really pick their brain on the matter. Get what they really wanted from the book out into the open. However, changing your work based on one person's feedback is something I would not advise. Simply keep it in mind for the future.

And now, for the best piece of advice I've ever given...

Listen, learn, deploy a plan of action, and then release any feelings that you had on the matter whatsoever. It's not worth allowing your personal life/sleep/eating habits to suffer from stuff like this. It hurts, I know... but one cannot dwell on the past.

That's all for tonight kiddies ^_^ have a wonderful evening.


If you're interested in seeing what Evelyn had to say, here is her review: https://bookswithchemistry.wordpress.com/2015/09/29/review-the-mill/

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Naming a work of Fiction - Guest post and the next Novella Teaser!

Hey guys!

Sorry I haven't been super active, life and stuff. Here's a link to the guest post I did for Amber Gregg on her site Judging more than just the cover!

Here's a bit of what I've been doing recently:

Walking through the sand was grueling, and we all began to pant. Our packs were each at least twenty five kilograms, and the resistance of the riverbed made it that much worse.
“Contact south.” Delilah River whispered, crouching with her weapon raised.
We all stiffened, scouting our designated directions. “What is it River?” Xander crept towards her.
She shook her head, “I’m not sure, it was small, and quick. Too quick for a human. Maybe a dog, or a fox.”
“River, Reese, Sway, Eli, investigate.” Xander ordered and we formed up into our smaller diamond, moving with conviction.
Slinging my M4, I pulled my sidearm from the holster, placing a hand on Eli as I walked backwards. I turned from side to side, watching as the other half of our cell disappeared between the trees.
River whispered, “Target in sight."


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Reviews of The Mill - Book to the Future & Have you heard my Book Review!

Hey guys, just in for a quicky. I've recently had the pleasure of being in contact with Melanie Adkins of Have you heard my Book Review, and "Ste J" of Book to the Future. Both fantastically wonderful human beings. Ste J and I have carried on many conversations, late into both of our nights (pretty convinced he's a robot at this point).

Please check out their reviews of The Mill below!

Book to the Future / Bookmust.wordpress.com - Steven Johnson

Have you heard my Book Review - Melanie Adkins

Thursday, September 17, 2015

When sh*t hits the fan: How to adapt to less than stellar situations


As the title states... sometimes the proverbial poop will hit the fan. Or sometimes, the actual poop will hit an actual fan. I've never seen it myself, but I assume it's both terrifying and amusing.

So far on this journey, I haven't had anything go absolutely wrong, but I've had several things take a dump on my day. I'll list them each, and how I went about handling it.

Stay on Target

The number one ingredient in overcoming a crappy situation is to stay on target. I know, yes, I'm adding lots of pictures and such.

What do I mean to stay on target? Zoom the f*ck out and remember the end goal. Whatever just happened may be for the best anyway, you'll have no idea unless you zoom out and check what's going on. So. What happened to me.

I was just bumping along, being me and doing me things, when suddenly my madre in law was like "Oh hey, that book that you're about to publish, yeah there's like a blaringly obvious error in it."

FFFFFFFFFFFFFF..... That was the face I made. Just imagine someone saying "FFFFFFF" really loud and that was my face.
Exhibit C.

Anyway. I'd already ordered a copy and sent it off to a reviewer in the U.K. Much to my embarrassment, I had to inform said reviewer of the error and ask them to ignore it... Yeah, that's pretty damn lamesauce and just doesn't speak to me being any kind of decent writer that I allowed something to be printed with an issue as big as this. We will not discuss what said issue was.
Anyway, how to handle that sh*t.

  1. Calm down, it's not the end of the world.
    Take a few deep breaths, pet your kitty, or dog, drink a glass of water. Do anything except take immediate action. You just discovered this after who knows how long it was out there, an extra 45 seconds is not going to make or break the bank.
  2. If you can, recall issues that have not yet been printed.
    I was lucky in the fact that the 5 issues I ordered for giveaways and sending to places for review had not yet been sent through the printer, and so I contacted CreateSpace and got them cancelled. Unfortunately, the order for the reviewer in the U.K. could not be recalled since it was rush ordered.
  3. If you're book is already live, and people have bought copies, offer some kind of giveaway.Let your audience know that you're human, and you made a mistake. Tell them the first person to find said mistake will get: an amazon gift card, a copy of your new work, an ice cream with sprinkles, etc. This will increase user engagement for one, and for two, let the people who admire you and your work know that you're not some untouchable god high on a perch (no matter how often you pretend with your cat tower). You become like J-Law, the girl who could be your best friend if she just knew you existed. (Jennifer if you ever read this, please acknowledge my existence. I love you.)

So, situation #1 covered. Poopy mistake in my debut launch. Zoom out, take a breath, formulate a plan, take action. Never, never, get angry at yourself or anyone else. It will do you absolutely no good.

Poop #2. I paid quite a little sum of money for a magazine placement, and a web banner on their website. They will remain nameless for their protection... but my goodness. My rep said her team worked on the ad over the weekend because they were so slammed.

It looks like she worked on my banner ad in MS paint for 2 minutes. Like, dear lord in heaven, WHAT HAPPENED?! (interrobang!)

"Ok, how about a kind of fall-ish background, with some orange and green leaf looking things... yeah... then we'll slap the book over on there, add two different type faces, neither of which match the font used on the book cover. Good, good. Ok now what..? Yeah let's have the text super close to the edge, and to the image. And OOOH! Let's make it pinkish red with a WHITE OUTER GLOW! That, is f*ckin snazzy. I'm so tits at this."

I'm so sorry magazine rep, if you read this, but I am an art student, and this is just not acceptable. Though I could have fixed it myself, I decided to go to my artist for help. So here's how we handle situation #2

Again, don't get mad. Anger does nobody any good.
It's totally possible they were so completely slammed that my rep had to do it themselves, and this was the best they could do. I didn't get angry and let them know how unacceptable it was, I just took a breath and let them know "My artist wants to take a stab at it." Seemed to all work out OK on that end, because they provided me with all the details I needed to get it done myself.

Bleh, I could go on and on, but that's the gist of it.
  1. Don't get angry, poop happens but that doesn't mean it's anyone's fault.
  2. Take a breath and step back. Could the poop actually be good for you, set you on a new path, open a new door?
  3. Explore your options, ask for opinions and advice if you feel it's necessary.
  4. Be cordial in all your dealings. No matter how crappy things get for you, don't pass it on.
  5. Take action. Do not let the poop sit. Though in the real world that's usually best because it will firm up and be easier to handle, typically in the proverbial sense it's better to handle your poop sooner rather than later.
Night kiddies...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Launch Party - It's a big deal

Hello hello my dear audience!

Today, I'd like to talk about launch parties. Parties can be awesome, but they can also suck. You do not want to throw a party for your book that sucks.

Step One

Canvas the area. Find where it is that you want to host said party. Your home can be an acceptable place, but in truth, if you can find somewhere else with foot traffic that is not part of your devoted following, do that. Here are some good places to look into:

  • Public Library.
    I know... the library... but it's typically free to host here, and you'll get a lot of foot traffic that likes books! So, double win.
  • Book Stores.
    They will charge you. It will suck. But it will be your target audience and you can gain a lot of new fans here.
  • Depending on your genre, Game Stores.
    In my area, I have quite a few game stores that are super open to hosting for games, movies, books, artists, etc. Try to find a place that hosts game night, that can be good traffic.
  • Smalltime Restaurants and Breweries.
    I know, I live in Colorado so smalltime breweries are pretty common for me, but if you look hard enough, you can find one. Restaurants are wary to host you for loss of revenue, but you can find the ones that will be willing to get your extra foot traffic in exchange.
  • Hotels...
    This is like your last resort. Hotels are definitely not the best place to host for a book launch, but they do have the space. You will likely not get any additionally traffic here.

Step Two

  1. Blast your event on social media.
    Make sure everyone knows. Tag all your friends. Get dirty with it, because you'll have to.
  2. Order postcards for the even to leave in places around the happening of the event. 
    If you're doing it in a library, leave them in nearby restaurants, banks if you can, and even gas stations. Gas stations are probably pretty low probability of getting you traffic, but it's an option.
  3. Get "table tents" or banners.
    This one is optional because banners can be expensive. If you're doing this in a restaurant and bar/brewery, get the table tents and make sure you can set them up and leave them up for a week or two. Put some QR codes on that bitch too.
  4. Reach out to the places nearby to promote you.
    Give them a copy of the book even, and drop off some promotional items like pens/tiny collectibles that can be given away with your website/blog on it.
I'm not to step three yet... so I'll have to let you know how that goes later. I've picked a brewery for my location, and they're going to let me set up for free, so that's awesome for me, hooray! I've ordered my postcards for leaving around places, and the table tents for leaving on unsuspecting victims tables...

Well, cross your fingers for me. I'll be having my launch party on October 23rd. Stop by if you're interested ^_^ Dry Dock, South Dock: 15120 E Hampden Ave, Aurora, CO 80014

Night Night kiddies.

The Night Shift interviewed me for The Mill!

Check it out ^_^

Please be aware that this podcast is Rated R for talks of porn, pooping, killer squirrels, and tons of cursing.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Distraction and Procrastination - What I'm doing right now...

Goooood evening everyone! As the title states, we'll be talking about distractions and procrastination tonight, mainly how to avoid it, when writing. This one is going to be a little short, because unfortunately I did not use any of my methods today, and procrastinated writing this post.

Do you ever catch yourself writing two paragraphs in about twenty minutes because you stop to re-read the entire chunk every time you complete a sentence? Or maybe you're trying to edit and end up alt-tabbing over to Facebook / Twitter / Insta / Reddit/r/funny? Maybe you know you need to write a particular blog post (cough cough), and you held off until the end of the day because there were so many other very important things you needed wanted occupied yourself with that day?
We can all be victims of our brain's inability to stay on task, but below are a few of the things I do to avoid getting distracted, or procrastinating on writing.

Distractions:

  1. Go to your writing place.
    Much like you have a specific place to cook, eat, shower, poop, etc, you should have a place that is for writing. I know that can be really difficult when you live in an apartment/with your parents/have many roommates, or just not a lot of space in your home, but there are solutions for that too. If you can't physically go to your writing place, have a sit and meditate for a moment, 3-5 minutes should do. I know it might sound ridiculous, but it works. Sit, close your eyes, put headphones in if it's loud around you, and just clear your mind. Attempt not to think about anything at all. Then, keeping the headphones in, look down into your laptop or sheet of lined notebook paper, and tell yourself, "This is my world now." Anytime you feel the need to look elsewhere, or think about something other than the task at hand, meditate for another moment until you're clear again.
  2. Block websites / turn off your phone / write in offline mode.
    If the social media distraction is real for you, get away from it. Turn your phone off and move it far away from you, write in offline mode or block websites. I would say set a timer, but then you might be inclined to check that timer every few minutes to see how much longer you have to go before getting your fix. Instead, I would say set a milestone, "I have to write 10 paragraphs, then I can check my [insert thing you need to check here]".
  3. Headphones all day ere'day.
    I do not currently have a writing space, as my husband will sort of follow me around after 30 minutes of not knowing where I'm at. So, I've given up trying to find solitude, but I don't really like being away from him anyway. My solution, good sound blocking headphones. The $15 skullcandies do just fine with music blaring. I'm fighting the urge at this very moment to look up and watch him play MGS5, because flashing lights and colors and explosions! But, the good ole headphones are doing a fantastic job of keeping me on task.
  4. Have all the things you need near you.
    Have the thirst of a thousand deserts and need to drink water all the time like me? Keep the bottle within arms reach, like not even far enough to have to lean over... leaning over might let you find something to distract yourself with, like dirty carpet that needs to be vacuumed (v_v)...
    Sniffly nose? Keep tissues up your nostrils. There's no time for blowing, only writing.
  5. Stop going back to edit what you just wrote!
    Sometimes your own writing is the distraction. You didn't like the way that sentence flowed, or how it pairs with the next paragraph. You used the same word four times in three sentences, or didn't use appropriate punctuation. MOVE ON! Do not stop, do not go back. This isn't Iraq, you can leave a man behind and come back for him later. This is the #1 thing I do that slows me down. I re-read, a million friggen times before I'm even done writing the thing. I have successfully resisted the urge to do that in this entire post, huzzah! And of course I just went back and changed the exclamation point in the sentence before last to a period because there was one in the last sentence... I've already failed.

Procrastinations:

  1. Make a checklist.
    If you're anything like me, having a checklist of the stuff makes it more tangible. If you start your day, and writing is at the bottom of your list... then that's exactly the priority you've put on it. If you feel like that's unfair, reevaluate the things above it. If you've put it higher on your list for the day, and either get it done last, or not at all, then you've perhaps put it too high on your list and it needs to get demoted. Either way, if you're unhappy about how things went at the end of the day, reevaluate the list, and evaluate what you actually did throughout the day. You probably ended up spending a lot of time doing something that was not on your list at all.
  2. Checklists aren't for everyone... Set a reminder.
    Set a specific time in the day where you will do nothing but write; right before bed, when you wake up, immediately after lunch, etc.
  3. Reward yourself.
    Everyone likes to get a gold star. I prefer a bright orange star, but whatever. Not just with writing, with anything really, but when you do the thing you said you were going to do, give yourself a little treat of some kind. Maybe you really wanted to walk the dog, play an hour of video games, eat a whole snickers bar (I don't advocate this... simply because I'm also on a fitness journey), have wild sex, buy that really cool shirt from the FiXT Store... Depending on how heavily you want to reward yourself, be careful where you set the bar for something as small as "getting two paragraphs done".
I said it was going to be short, and I made it more like medium... and now I have no time left for my new novella T_T. That's the procrastination price you pay... I'm outta here kiddies. Have a great week.

Friday, September 4, 2015

The road to success isn't paved: Part 2 - Launching & Platforms

When it comes to self publishing, I only have experience with two services; Amazon, and Createspace.

Amazon was awesome, easy, hell it was even fun! They made it very newb writer friendly to start, it's easy to get it through review, and see your page on the app store before even going live. Updating files or settings only took about 12 hours to go through, though the initial approval was more like 36 hours.
The only thing I didn't really like about Amazon, was the explanation of the pricing system. It's not always clear to the writer what they're getting into, or the difference between the 30% royalty plan and the 70% plan.
I lied, there was one more thing I didn't like. When setting up the physical copy at createspace, the Amazonians did not have a way to link my digital and paperback versions until both were live... I ended up having to put the paper back copy live for realz for about 4 hours to get them linked. Fortunately, (or maybe unfortunately?) no copies slipped out into the public.

Creatspace was a different damn story. Even their inexperienced setup walkthrough was difficult, and slow. Good god was it slow. Being a child company of Amazon, you'd think they would get access to their high speed servers... Incorrect.
They don't walk you through, or even tell you anywhere, the size file you'll need for your cover. I went with the same size as was used on Amazon, assuming that they would let me create a custom back and spine. Again, incorrect. You have to upload the whole cover, front/back/spine, as one PDF.
Nextly, they're not the fastest to respond to customer service inquiries, and their "Call Me" system does not work, at all. I ran into several issues while setting up The Mill and had to be in contact with them quite frequently. Their CS portal doesn't always save the previous email on the same chain either, so often times you won't be able to see what they said, or you said.
They don't allow you to set up for pre-order. It's just not a thing. I understand that they're "Print on Demand", but seriously, can you not set up a system that allows people to place orders to be filled at a later date? Can you not store the order request in a database that has a "release on" date set in it, so when that date occurs, the orders print? It doesn't sound like a difficult system to set up to me. A few new servers to hold onto the project requests, a system to hold the orders until a specified date, then release to the printers.
This was probably the second biggest issue to me... maybe third since I've been setting up my second book in Createspace and I decided I was a pro and didn't need the newb route. They shipped me the wrong book! When I ordered a copy for review, I got some guys book of children's poems. Fortunately, I got someone on the phone and we fixed it rather quickly. That was probably the best customer service experience with that company.
As said, I didn't take the hand holding walkthrough for my second book setup and it turns out that this system is actually broken. The cover will constantly say that it's not ready to publish, even though it is. You have to save, refresh, save, cut off a chicken's head and spread the blood over your laptop, then save again. Minus the chicken head part, but it's still pretty bad.

The second topic, even though I'm out of order here with the title, is Launching. Prepping your launch is paramount to success. My novella, The Mill, has been done for about 4 months, and the art was complete in early June, but I'm waiting until October... why?
For one, Horror books are hard to market to begin with, and if I were to launch in the middle of summer, when everyone is out on vacation, at the beach, thinking about sunshine, they're not going to be in the mood for doom and gloom (at least most of them aren't).
Halloween is a set time of year here in 'Merica for all the horror and gore you could ever want to feast upon. So, why should I fight uphill, against the sunshine and the beaches, when I can hold off, solidify my marketing strategy, better identify my target audience, reach out to bloggers and reviewers? I talked a little more about blogging and reviewers in this post, check it out if you're interested.
So, my advice to you, dear reader, is this:
  1. Find some sort of seasonal, or largely promoted event, to tie your release to.
    For example, you wrote a fiction book about Football, and it finished up in March 2015. That sucks... you pretty much missed your big opportunity to tie it to the super bowl. Hold on to it for another 8 months, at least, and spend that time connecting with fans, building your Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Reddit presence. The 2016 super bowl is Feb. 7th, so consider going live in early January. And understand, that even though you wrote a book about a sport that is mainly dominated by males, a lot of your readers will be female. Don't forget about dem ladies. 
  2. Buy artwork for your launch. (I know I know, this was in the last post too)
    Not just for the cover, but additional promo images you can use for ad campaigns, teasers, adding to your teaser trailer (which I highly recommend. I'm working on my video with my good friend George right now!), etc. 
  3. Speaking of teaser trailer, even if it's just some stock photos, with text overlay, and a not so great song you purchased the rights to from spotify, make a trailer.
    Humans are much more likely to watch a 15-30 second video, and then click your link, than they are to read words in a post with one image... let alone read words in a post with no image... Ain't nobody got time for that. Make yourself a video, put it on youtube, and consider doing a paid Facebook campaign with it. I will be doing that shortly ^_^ 
  4. Find conventions / meetups that are an appropriate venue for you to stir some hype.
    This was a brilliant suggestion from my marketing manager, Kent Barton.
    It may not be appropriate for you to bring your Football book to Buffalo Wild Wings and start asking people to read it, but something like Fantasy Draft night may be a good idea. In my case, with the novella, Tacticon might be an ok-ish venue for me to tout my book at, but the Mile High Horror Fest is probably my best bet (I'll be calling the event organizers this weekend...) 
Well, that's it for today kiddies... I might do a part 3 if I learn anything new during the "Go Live" phase. We'll have to see. Stay tuned for more awesome though ^_^, thanks for reading.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Fearful One

By Jim Stigall: jimstigall.blogspot.com

Hungry.

Hungry.
Hungry.
Lonely.
Frightened.
The only things that consume my mind as I wander through this wasteland of a place, this city that once was. Massive, beautiful, wondrous thing my feeble mind can no longer comprehend. A world I do not understand, was never really part of, don’t even remember.

Hungry.
Hungry.
Lonely.
Frightened.
Dying.
My tattered flesh burns in the heat of the sun, freezes in the midnight moonlight, wrinkles in the waters of the seas. Is this really all I was meant to be, a shell of the human I once was? Trapped inside this unending torture, forced to watch the destruction of the species I called my kin?
Hungry.
Hungry.
Blood.
Meat.
Death.
The taste will never leave my mouth. It’s the stench, the reek, of their fear that drives me, brings me, strengthens me. My life, my species, cannot go on without yours, but you cannot persist with ours. We will never know art, music, happiness, love. But you will never know the absolute desolation, the anger, the pain, the hate of living a prisoner inside your body, knowing only the urges, the needs. Never able to stop yourself.
Lonely.
Lonely.
Lonely.
Spotted.
Frightened.
And as you come for me this time, the revenge you take on my hostage mind, know in your heart that I meant you no harm. Know in your soul that I never meant to hurt you, scare you, kill you, eat you. Know in the deepest safest place of your mind that in that moment, where I reached in to take a bite, I wish you to die, completely, instead of turning into one of me.
Meat.
Death.
Lonely.
Lonely.
Not alone.
Together we will walk now, no longer alone, no longer afraid, no longer dead. Within each others strides, we become whole again. Whole to see a companion, a friend. Now we are not alone.
Walking.
Walking.
Stumbling.
Crawling.
Darkness.
Now I watch your face as I truly fade into the black, my head cut clean from my body. I was left too, once. All alone when my walking companion died. Just as I was, you’re alone to suffer the anguish of killing, causing pain, reaping fear. But now I am free.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Oh Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy!!

IT'S HERE!!!!

Squee update incoming. The Mill has arrived and hot damn, it's beautiful. Even smells good... See for yourselves:
Now, if that isn't the prettiest little novella you've seen, you're lying to yourself.

Alright. That was all I wanted to update. Digital pre-orders available now, paperback pre-orders sometime this week, launching October 15th! 

Self Publishing - The road to success isn't paved

Seeing that I have yet to achieve success, I'm not sure I should write this post... but I will anyway.

Self publishing is easy. You write the thing, you log in to Amazon, you upload the thing, you press the publish button.

Successful self publishing is a nightmare of frustration and heartache. Here's why:

  1. If you didn't already have a massive Twitter following, you need to grow one.
    Much easier said than done, and sure, you can buy the "follower" services, but they just hack people's accounts and force them to follow your page. As soon as the person realizes, they're going to unfollow you and change their password.
    You first need to start following people in your genre, hopefully they'll do you the good grace of following back. Eventually you'll start to get unprompted follows, which you have to be wary. You'll follow them back, and as soon as you do, they unfollow you. It's dirty tricks Twitter is...
    Before you even get a few hundred people following you, you need to start posting. A good ratio (from my marketing manager) is 25% book 75% personal. So... get ready to share all the mundane and strange things going on in your life with people you hardly know (or don't know at all...)
    Fortunately for you, the highest volume of likes/follows/purchases for authors do not come from Twitter. They come from:
  2. Facebook sucks, your Facebook friends suck, and their friends suck too.
    If you're lucky, you'll have a few close friends and family members that are dedicated to your cause, and helping you out. If you're unlucky, your Facebook page will need some serious money thrown at it to become even marginally well known. Luckily enough, Facebook offers some good tools for getting your page out there, promoting your posts, etc. Not only that, they have some really good data output on everything so you can fine tune your campaigns. I'm a dataphile, so I really liked this.
  3. Reviewers don't want your self published garbage.
    I've been to hundreds of websites, bordering on thousands soon, looking for people who would review my work. About 70% of the time, their review policy clearly states no self published titles. There are some good reasons for it, and I totally understand.
    1. Your book may actually be total crap... I know it's hard to come to grips with, but it is a possible reality. They typically don't have time to wade through all the crap to find the gems, and everyone thinks they have gems.
    2. You could make their lives a living hell... "When will my review be ready?" "Are you going to give me 5 stars?" "Are you going to post it on GoodReads? Twitter? Facebook? Are you going to tell your mom?" "Can you do it faster please?" "Will you do an author interview?" "WHY DID YOU RATE IT 2 STARS! ZOMGWTFBBQ!!!"
      See... it's stressful for them too. They don't deserve this.
    3. They often have full time jobs, kids, spouses, fur-babies, obligations. Again with the gems in the poop... they don't have time to find them.
  4. All the rejection letters.
    Even when you do find a reviewer that will read self published works, you're going to get about 50-80% of them replying "I'm sorry, but I'm not able to read Book Title." If at any point right here you consider pressuring them for why, stop. Stop right now. Reviewers talk to each other, and if you're asking why after being rejected, you're one of those #3.2 people. No one will want to work with you.
  5. You no longer have time for anything else in your life. Ever.
    If you work, and self publish on the side, you will not have time for diets, exercise, anime, cooking, going to the grocery store, practically anything else while you're getting started. Your free time must be dedicated 100% to the cause if you are even to get close to success.
This is getting pretty long... so I'll end with, here's a list of things you should invest your time in if you're wanting to be successful in self publishing:
  1. Start a ton of social media accounts, join tons of groups, get visibility:
    1. Facebook
    2. Twitter
    3. Google+
    4. Myspace
    5. GoodReads
    6. Shelfari
    7. Book Blogs
    8. Blog/Website
    9. Etc.
  2. Post at least once a day to Twitter/Facebook/Google+. Anything less than that is suicide.
  3. Post a new blog twice a week. Don't tell me you have nothing to post about... tons of shit happens in your life everyday, and you have at least 10 years of history to talk about if you need.
  4. Be super active on GoodReads/Shelfari, reviewers like a well-read author.
  5. Find sites that support indie/selfpub authors like yourself and cling to them desperately.
  6. Ask your friends to share and support you. Bribe them with food/beer if you have to.
  7. GET COVER ART AND PROMOTIONAL ART FOR YOUR WORK. I can't stress this one enough. People are visual, they just are. Presenting them with some kick ass art to go with your book when begging for reviews will make you that much more likely of being successful. Get cover art. Get promotional art for running advertisements. Shell out the $150-$300 that's needed to make this happen because it will pay you back tenfold.
  8. When contacting reviewers, remember that they are human. They want to be talked to, they want you to take more than 15 seconds to glance over their review policy before contacting them. Read their About Me, stalk them on social media for a little while, and when you contact them, relate to them somehow. Make it personal. This is likely the most draining part of the process. Learning about someone so you can ask them a favor of losing 2-8 hours of their time to read your work, then lose another hour or two writing a review. Be nice to them, be actually invested in being in contact with them.
Alright, this is getting super long. I'm out of here.