David Weber Speaks Up on “Disinviting” Convention Guests

This deserves to be read. I’m not going to post the whole thing here because, well, it’s David Weber’s take on things, not mine. I just happen to agree with it, so I’m going to spread and share the link to the post he made on the topic.

A little background if you haven’t heard what’s been going on, however. There’s a new trend that’s kicked up in the last month or so regarding conventions in the book world: See someone you disagree with announced as a guest at a con? Don’t just complain about it. Make up a bunch of horrible stuff, start a twitter-based lynch mob, and slam the convention organizers en mass in hopes that they’ll buckle under the deluge before anyone pauses and says “Wait a minute, this all sounds highly suspicious.”

It’s happened twice in the last month. Both times the accusations have been found entirely baseless, but even then, sometimes the con organizers have simply doubled-down and basically decided that even if it all was false, it’s just bad publicity, so no, those authors will no longer attend.

Weber’s reaction to this is well-said, and if you’re in the con circuit or thinking about getting into it, give it a read.

Shadow of an Empire on Goodreads

Just a heads up, readers, but Shadow of an Empire is now listed on Goodreads (alongside the rest of my books). Which means you can let Goodreads know that you’re planning on reading it or that you’re excited for it to come out. You can also recommend it to others on Goodreads and even (once it comes out) leave a star rating for it!

Naturally, I wholeheartedly recommend doing show, especially the bits about letting Goodreads know you want to read it and sharing it with others. Just like with Amazon pre-orders, Goodreads recommendation metrics get a boost out of readers letting other readers know they’re looking at a book, which in the end is a big help to me.

So if you’ve got a Goodreads account, let ’em know you’re excited for Shadow of an Empire and spread the word!

Amazonian Advertising Practices

So, for the last month, I’ve been experimenting with Amazons Marketing Services. Or, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, what amounts to paying Amazon in exchange for Amazon running ads for your product based on keywords and the like. So if someone searches for, say, The Expanse on Amazon right now in the books section, Colony comes up, because the two are similar Science-Fiction.

After a month, I’m starting to see a few of the things I’ve been told about AMS confirmed. One of the reasons I’d avoided it until now was because my research into other authors trying it out came to the conclusion that it was basically a way to get advertising for your books … but to in turn make almost no money off of them, if not none. This because of the strange way Amazon runs its ads, and the system by which they do it.

See, how it works is you set a book to be advertised, followed by a per-keyword ad cost and a daily limit to how much you want to spend. So the keyword may be “action adventure.” You set a cost of 25 cents, and then a daily limit (say, a dollar).

Now what happens is that whenever someone searches for books with the keyword “action adventure” Amazon performs a “bid” for the highest paying ads for that keyword. The ones paying the most go up, and then if the viewer clicks them, it pays one cent more than what that bid beat—so, for instance if the 25 cent bid beat out a 22 cent bid, then it would pay Amazon 23 cents—and the viewer looks at the book, and that 23 cents is counted towards the daily limit.

A little convoluted, but not bad, right? Well … there’s a catch. There’s obviously a catch. See, as was pointed out to me long before I ever tried Amazon Ads, and one of the big criticisms leveled against them is that Amazon has more data on who buys what than the Ad service uses. It simply acts off of keywords, rather than Amazon’s own “We know you’ll like this” system. And so you may end up with clicks that lead to nothing at all quite frequently, because the person who search “Science Fiction” reads Foundation and Hyperion, not Colony. Amazon knows this, but they let the clicks go through anyway.

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Nips, Tucks, and Other Site Changes

The attentive among you may have noticed some small changes here and there across the site. Particularly the removal of ads, and the rearranging of the sidebar on the right side there. I’ve moved a few things around to make a few of the more important items (like the search function, we’ve got a five-year archive of writing guides here!) more easy to access.

Everything’s still in it’s infancy, however. A lot of these changes are just minor, quality of life changes designed to make the site a bit more user friendly, easier on the eyes, and distinct. Which … is easier said than done. When I learned how to code a web-page, it was not only basic stuff, but it was back when HTML was new. So not all of it carries over.

But past that, I’m trying to work with the look the site already has. Having my own domain and whatnot does open up a lot of other “looks” and ready-made themes other than this one which I can slap across the site (in fact, this one is legacy support, so if I dumped it, I’m not sure I could get it back) but I’ll be fairly blunt about these other options: even the “clean” ones look cluttered and ugly compared to the current setup.

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March Patreon Supporter Reward Up!

Attention Patreon Supporters! March’s Supporter Reward is now up! If you are a Patreon Supporter, then you now have access to two more Alpha chapters from my upcoming Fantasy-Western release, Shadow of an Empire!

Well what are you waiting for? There’s not much else to this. Click the link and go! And if you’re not yet a Patreon supporter but would like to be, hit this link instead to get things moving and check out what material you’ve missed!

That’s it. Short and sweet. Reap your rewards for supporting Being a Better Writer!

The Knee Post

Yeah, this one’s actually newsworthy enough it’s getting it’s own post.

First of all, don’t worry about this affecting my writing. That’s one thing I can say is that the news I got back after my MRI this week isn’t going to affect my writing life. Other facets, however …

Turns out, the doctor was wrong. Even he was surprised by that … though looking at the actual result, I can’t quite blame him. It’s a little unexpected. Especially at my age.

The initial knee injury? Long since healed. The pain and swelling now? That’s my cartilage. That’s right, I, at the ripe age of 31, have light arthritis in my right knee. And it’s only going to get worse from here.

Yeah. The MRI showed a big old ball of nasty (I’m guessing scar tissue and the like). Apparently, in my 31 years of life on this ball of rock, I’ve done a good 50-60+ years of living on my knees … and now I’m reaping the reward of living that way.

Granted, it’s not too bad yet. There are definitely some jobs, hobbies, and workouts that I have to give up if I don’t want my knees to explode and need a total replacement before I’m 40. Of that list, the hobbies and workouts one, especially where they cross over, hurts the most. A couple of those just got wiped out. I can still go hiking and level running (I think), and biking is fine as long as I’m not pounding my knees or taking big jumps … though the doc was unsure on mountain biking. Jobs that involve lots of squat-lifting are out too, since that’s going to explode my knees very quickly.

On the plus side, none of these things involve writing. So I can at least keep writing and selling books. And it’s a good thing I’ve got an income stream I’ve been working on there, too, because I hate to think what kind of mess I’d be in right now if I’d been banking on a physical job, because that’d be it for me in that career.

On a side note, Colony‘s new advertising seems to be doing a decent job of getting eyeballs on it, and maybe even a few sales. It’s a little early to tell yet, so I’m not quite uncorking the celebratory Martinelli’s (though that would be nice, as this week hasn’t given me much to celebrate with the core of this post, though I must say that the Alpha Reader reactions to Shadow of an Empire continue to be encouraging), but as of the beginning of the experiment, it’s at least paying for itself, so there is that.

Anyway, the good news is that the knee injury isn’t going to affect my writing that I know of. But it’s definitely making me reconsider some things I’d taken for granted.