What Are You Looking For, Readers?

Weekend post here. A tiny bit of update, but mostly a question for those of you poking around the site.

What are you looking for?

I’ll explain what I mean by that in a second. But first, the news. Hunter/Hunted is coming along, though I did spend a good part of this week (and last weekend) working on another short story for that anthology. I’ll be sending out Alpha invites today to prior alpha readers, but my weekend project now is polishing it up for the book.

And that’s the news. So, the question! What are you looking for? More specifically, what else are you looking to get out of this site? Being a Better Writer is, no surprise, a draw to many, if not most who frequent the site, as is news about my books. But that news isn’t nearly as regular as the Monday Being a Better Writer posts are.

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Pushing Forward

Sorry guys, there’s just not much in the way of news this week! I’ll fill you in on the generals, but there’s not much I can do other than that.

Life continues to assert it’s balance. My book royalties have gone up … so naturally, my job decided to lower hours almost in perfect concert. So I’m slightly better off than I was a few months ago … by only a matter of a few dozen dollars where my budget is concerned. Lovely, but at least I had the royalties to pick up slack.

Colony continues to be my largest seller by far, outselling Shadow of an Empire by a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio. Having them both at regular sales is nice, but it says to me that the market for Sci-Fi Epics is definitely a bit broader than for Fantasy-Western Epics. Granted, I knew that going in, but it’s still fun to compare the sales numbers. Shadow hasn’t matched Colony to a similar degree in numbers of reviews or ratings, sitting at 1-in-4, so it’ll be interesting to see if that levels out as Shadow continues to sell at the current rate, or if the review numbers will end up being different say … three years from now (Amazon’s changes to review policy may affect that as well).

Work on Hunter/Hunted is still paused while I work on this short story for the anthology request. Probably another day or two’s worth of writing to put into it, followed by some aggressive editing before submission. Still, it’s a unique little story. There certainly aren’t many like it. Once it’s done, though, back to Hunter/Hunted.

Outside of that? Life continues pretty much as usual. Working my way forward. It’s what I’ve got. Just have to keep hanging on and typing one word after another.

Being a Better Writer will, of course, be back on Monday.

And with that, I’ve got a story to finish!

No Being a Better Writer Article This Week

It’s Labor Day here in the US, and I’m taking the day off to relax for a little bit.

But while I do that, if you’re looking for writing advice this awesome day, have you looked into attending LTUE? Life, The Universe, and Everything, a writing-con unlike any other?

You should! Authors from all walks of life meet to talk about—what else—writing! Meet with editors, talk with famous authors, attend panels on everything from how to build a realistic medieval town to logistics through the ages, or women’s clothing in the victorian period, or …

Look, they cover a ton of stuff, and more besides! Art, gaming, even sculpture … but writing above all. The three day con is one of the best out there for old writers, young writers, and none-human writers alike. Come meet your favorite authors, get signatures, chat about all aspects of writing … It’s a blast!

And, best of all … it’s in February. Why is that good? Because you have plenty of time to get things squared away and come! Admission is cheap, the venue is awesome, and there’s always someone cool to go see or talk to!

Will I be attending this year? Of course. Panel calls haven’t been sent out yet, so I don’t know which ones I’ll be on yet, if any, but I’ll be there all the same.

Interested? Check it out!

Patreon Supporter Reward for August Up!

Hey readers! Are you supporting Being a Better Writer on Patreon? Because if so, I have some good news for you! August’s reward has just gone up—a preview look at an short story teaser for a upcoming anthology I won’t name yet (I’m not sure whether or not they want it mentioned yet). It’s a lot of fun, I’m hoping it’ll make a good entry to the whole set.

In any case, if you’re a Patreon supporter, you should go here and take a look! And thanks for supporting!

News Post!

Afternoon folks! Max here with a news post! Just little odds and ends of news both local (ie, my news) and large (like say, Dragon Award voting). There’s no real order to this, just news as it comes.

So, first bit of news: Patreon Supporters! Tomorrow your ship comes in! This ties in with the second bit of news, but if you’re a Patreon Supporter, tomorrow around noon, I’d check Patreon for the August Monthly Reward. It’s going to be a good one.

Why? Well, yesterday I sat down and put my current project, Hunter/Hunted, on hold for a few days to tackle a second project. Got an e-mail a few weeks ago looking for short stories for an anthology set that comes out with a certain Writing Con each year, and the requests they had for what kind of stories they wanted got my brain ticking. I spent a few weeks coming up with a good plot, characters … You know, just letting it bubble in the back of my mind while I was at my part-time until I arrived at something I was really excited to work on, and well, since they do need it sooner rather than later and I’d just finished another chapter of Hunter/Hunted, I decided to take a quick break and write this story out.

It’s still unnamed, at the moment, though I’m bouncing some ideas around. And even if it does end up in this anthology, it’ll still be one of the first stories I’ve written for More Unusual Events: Another “Short” Story Collection. So don’t worry, it’ll show up at some point no matter what.

And for Patreon Supporters, part of it will tomorrow. I’m still writing it, of course, but part of the bonus of being a Patreon Supporter is getting an early look at things I’m working on, which tomorrow will be the first few thousand words (plus whatever I can get done today) of this story.

Right, so that’s two news things: Delays for Hunter/Hunted for a short story anthology, and the Patreon Reward for August. What other news do I have?

Well, here’s one. Tomorrow is the last day you can cast a vote for The Dragon Awards. Yup, August 31st is the final day! So if you want to cast your eye upon the nominations and vote for your favorite works, head over to that link and sign up for a ballot! The Dragon Awards is open to anyone who wishes to nominate, vote, or both. The more people do so, the better the award becomes! Plus, they don’t just do books; there’s board games, movies, and more in there! Take a look!

Okay, and final bit of news. Well, not really news, but more a recommendation for a place to hang out on the internet. Have you ever heard of suggestmeabook?

Your eyes don’t deceive you; it is just “suggest me a book” without spaces. Because web addresses don’t use spaces. Anyway, suggestmeabook is a Reddit subreddit that delivers exactly what its name suggest: Suggesting books. Folks show up and post that they’re looking for a book. It can be “I want something in this genre with these stipulations” or just “I really liked X book by this author, does anyone know of anything similar?” And posters on the sub can go in and recommend books that match up to what they’re looking for.

It’s actually a pretty sweet sub. I’ve found some good stuff being recommended that I’ve added to my library list just by browsing. If you’re looking for more books to read, or want something that’s like something else you’ve read but aren’t sure where to look, swing on over there and give them a try!  Fiction, non-fiction … they take it all!

Anyway, I’ve got writing to do. This has been the news!

And?

Okay, so the Hugo Award winners were announced, and there’ve been a few questions of what I’d have to say about it. So here we go. My response?

And?

Yeah, that’s pretty much it. There seem to be a lot of news outlets saying how shocked and surprised they are that Jemisin took the first ever triple-crown … but she said she was going to do that three years ago when her first book won. As did her publisher, and her friends … In fact, most of the comments I saw from last years Hugo Awards were of the vein of ‘something else better not win, because Jemisin deserves this!’ Same for this year, though it was more of a ‘How could anything else win? Jemisin is going to have the triple!’

So my response to this year’s winners is “And?” Or maybe “So?”

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Amazon’s Embattled Reviews Make Another Change

Amazon reviews are slowly becoming a digital battleground of the future. Or petering out as one, depending on you ask. However, whether it’s using Amazon reviews to “review bomb” folks whose politics other folks disagree with, or paying a click-farm in China to generate thousands of fake reviews, Amazon’s review system seems almost destined to be at the constant forefront of unscrupulous folks thinking “How can I use this to my advantage/other’s disadvantage?”

With that sort of activity going on (and the almost Hipster-ish dislike for Amazon now that they’ve managed to stand head and shoulders above their rivals), it really shouldn’t have been surprising to me when a long-time fan of my works contacted me to let me know that they were no longer able to post Amazon reviews, and thus they wouldn’t be able to add their review of my latest to Amazon’s page for such.

The reason? Well, Amazon has a new review policy: To leave a review, you have to be a customer in good standing. You can’t have been spamming the site with reviews that are clearly fake, participated in review-bombing, stuff like that. But there’s another new requirement now.

In order to remain “in good standing” you have to be an Amazon customer, having spent at least $50 with them in the last year.

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