Quarantine Chat: Finances, a MacMillan Backpedal, and April Apocalypse

Hey folks! This is a bit overdue, but quite honestly my plate has been full of other things, like getting episode three of Fireteam Freelance ready for this Saturday, which will then be followed by Alpha editing A Trial for a Dragon and the Beta. Plus the whole pandemic thing which …

Well, I’ll lead with finances. As most of you might expect, I’m one of the many people that’s been adversely affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic. So things right now financially aren’t the best.

I’m not losing my housing, thankfully. Not in the next week, anyway. But … things for the next few months are definitely going to be difficult. My part-time job furloughed myself and everyone else there until August at the earliest, and while we might get unemployment, that’s a maybe. Sands, my being an author may disqualify me from it entirely, despite the pandemic and the fact that it isn’t enough to be entirely a sole income yet (as for the why there, it’s because America hasn’t really been a good place for the small business for a few decades, slaved instead by “go big or go home” mentality).

Basically, things are looking rough for the next few months. The roughest they’ve ever been. The smooth waters of February vanished quickly with this latest storm.

That said, there are ways you can help, ways that don’t involve simply sending money via Patreon (I mean, you can do that, but I understand many are in a similar situation to my own). Quite simply: Talk about my stuff. Share.

In the past I’ve spoken on the site about word of mouth and how heavily it impacts things. A single Reddit mention of my books is enough to triple sales for a week. Well, you know what I’ve seen in the last week?

Two different posts on Reddit’s Sci-fi book area, r/printsf, asking after the following topics: Books where people meet alien drones or AIs, and books following a scientific expedition to an alien world that isn’t staffed by incompetent scientists. Both of which directly fit Colony and Jungle.

But here’s the thing. I can’t go in there and say that. As the author, that’s not allowed for me unless directly questioned. Only readers and fans are allowed to post in answer. That’s the way things work (seriously it’s in the rules for Reddit and most other forums).

But you readers can. You readers can share links to Being a Better Writer posts when people ask for writing advice. You can go into a post asking for recommendations or talking about favorite Sci-Fi books and talk about Colony or Shadow of an Empire or Dead Silver and why you enjoyed it so much. That’s allowed.

So please do! During LTUE I had a lot of people tell me how much they loved my books and how they thought I was one of the best new writers they’d discovered. I warms my heart to hear that … but don’t make me the only person you say that to. Tell the other people in your life!

When you stop by the site on Monday and leave a “like” on the newest Being a Better Writer post, share the link on Facebook! When you leave a five-star rating for Jungle (thank you, by the way), tell people about it!

You find something you like on here? Please share with other people. Don’t stick it deep in your closet of favorite things and never let anyone else know about it. That’s a losing proposition for all involved.

The best part is that it’s easy and costs you nothing but a few moments of time. It’s incredibly easy to share a link, or tell someone “Hey, I really liked this book, and it’s got these bits in line with what you’re asking for, so check it out!”

And in full honesty, small things like that are far more effective than something like a one-time donation of funds. One is a single-time transaction of fixed value, but the other? It spreads. Sharing “I loved this book, read it during quarantine and you might too” might inspire three people to read it, one of which can inspire three more people and so on and so forth.

So yes, things are tough for me financially right now. And probably will be through the next few months. But if you’d like to help, please consider doing something like sharing a post, recommending one of my books inside your social circle, or other similar actions amounting to sharing something you’ve enjoyed before just thinking of cutting a check.

One last story. One highly-successful author I know only got to where he is because a fan of his books grabbed several of them and sent them to everyone he knew who would enjoy them. One of them specifically being the manager of a very large bookstore, who loved it so much that they asked how they could acquire several thousand for their store and then contacted one of their suppliers …

That was the tipping point.

So share. Link. And by the abyss whenever someone on a forum or thread says “Hey, does anyone know of any Fantasy./Wild-West books?” don’t just clam up and think “Well I do, but …” Tell them about it! Let them know!

And don’t just do it once. I constantly recommend The Codex Alera when people ask me for some of my favorite Fantasy series. It’s not a “one and done.”

So … yeah. If you want to help, share. And let’s face it: There’s no better time to promote books than a time when most of the world is stuck at home with little else to do anyway. We all know there’s only a few good shows to catch up on anyway, and then what? Reruns?

Don’t let your friends suffer through a sixth watching of The Office. Give them something to read.

Okay, so that said, let’s talk about the MacMillan backpedal.

MacMillan, you may recall, has pretty much been the public whipping boy for “Bad book publishers” for a good couple of months now, ever since they decided to declare war on public libraries last year, after testing the program through one of their subsidiaries.

You can read more about last year’s move and the reactions in a few more posts on site covering the topic.

Anyway, well now we have an update. In what MacMillan is playing as generosity, they recently announced that they were suspending the anti-library program until further notice as a response to Covid-19.

Personally, myself and a lot of others feel that MacMillan basically saw the pandemic as an out for an extremely unpopular maneuver that had seen many libraries and readers flat-out refusing to support the publisher.

Regardless of the reasoning, for now the anti-library movement has been suspended. It remains to be seen if it will be permanent, or if MacMillan will return for another round with libraries around the globe as soon as the pandemic is over.

Okay, so that’s two things so far. Now, how about something fun?

There’ve been a lot a lot of jokes out there about how 2020 so far is the year of the Apocalypse. In January we had the Australian wildfires that ravaged millions of acres and caused billions in damages. Then in February we had severe weather, storms, and plagues of locusts (yeah, no joke) that again caused billions of in damage. Then of course in March Covid-19 went global and, well, we all are living how that went.

So here’s the fun question of the day: What will be the next step in the apocalypse that is 2020 starting in April? Will it be floods? Alien invasion? Meteor strikes laying waste to half the planet? Will Covid-19 be succeeded by a Covid-20 that causes all infected to hunger for human flesh? Will Disney buy Sony?

What’s your preferred next step in the 2020 apocalypse? Let the world know in the comments!

One thought on “Quarantine Chat: Finances, a MacMillan Backpedal, and April Apocalypse

  1. Can those meteor strikes destroy Disney in a very targeted way that couldn’t possibly happen naturally? Maybe by aliens sick of the new Star Wars?


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