Lurker For Life

I think Goodreads is an amazing site, but I don’t participate in the forums.

Because mods.

I used to love forums until they became heavily trafficked by moderators. Which is fine, but they can be mean and power-hungry and I’m sensitive and having to read an introductory post on how to participate and what is and isn’t allowed in an online forum kind of takes the “casual-ness” out of the whole thing. The honor code doesn’t exist anymore for popular forums. I suppose there’s always 4chan, but as far as I know, there’s no honor there.

I used to participate in the Smashboards forums, but the mods were notoriously strict, and let’s face it; the internet has become way more jerkier since the millennium. The know-it-alls, snooty knowledge-slingers and trolls far outnumber the genuine people there just to share information and help others out. It’s just not as fun as the 90s.

So I lurk.

Just last week, a Facebook group I was a member of called out all the lurkers for not being more active in the group, and said maybe the group wasn’t for us. A sweet girl tried to stand up for us introverts, bless her, addressing our ninja mentality of striking when the time is right. But the group leader didn’t seem to approve.

So I left.

#LurkerNation. Unite!

(The ninja code of honor is strong.)

~Tael

The Exiles

Time for another Indie Immersion! This time it’s The Exiles by E. Leo Foster. It’s a short novel, about 140 pages, but this one seemed to capture exactly what I was looking for in an indie book: something different and uniquely creative without reading like a high school writing assignment. Ever read “Shoplifting from American Apparel” by Tao Lin? I really wanted to like that one, but I found it a very dry read with very little reader connection. The pacing flowed like a robot chanting an abstract grocery list.

For some reason, after reading the book blurb for The Exiles, I expected to read about a society of lawless vagrants who lived on the outskirts of town in a secret location like the Court of Miracles in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. You don’t encounter this; instead, it focuses on one family in particular, and they aren’t even hiding from the world; just hiding secrets. Obviously the title is meant to be metaphoric.

TheExilesTwo main things that stood out to me.

A. The author created characters I didn’t really like, but could still connect with through human emotion. And I believe that’s a great skill.

B. I absolutely loved the smart style of storytelling he chose to use; the choppy flow of the short chapters that led into flashbacks building up to interesting reveals, and the witty, somewhat philosophical lines of #TruthTrebles sprinkled about that blended seamlessly with the storyline. This is a book that makes you think. So much so, that it prompted me to leave an Amazon review, which I can only do if I’m actually impressed or mentally impacted.

Doesn’t look like he used an editor; I came across some typos and grammatical incorrections (yes, I make up words that kind of make sense), but hey, I didn’t hire an editor either, and they weren’t littered throughout to take away from the overall story for me. Real readers aren’t picky. This one’s a winner. Cue the Super Mario RPG battle win music.

~Tael

I’m Impressed by David

And those who know me know I’m not easily impressed. I’m talking about AskDavid.com (no relation to Jeeves). Has it gotten me more sales? Not really sure. Nothing notable to immediately go “AHA!” But their setup and value impresses me. When I initially came across them in one of the many book promotion lists online, I passed them over because it mentioned a membership and I hate joining things. The commitment… >.>

But I finally returned and decided to give it a shot because it’s only $15 for a 6-month membership, and other services I’ve swam through so far charge you far more than that for just a day’s/week’s worth of promotion and little return.

Check out this nifty page they executed for me: http://askdavid.com/reviews/book/science-fantasy/14550

It has an old-school fan-page feel that my humble self admires. THIS looks like effort! Far more than the Fiverr gig I recently bought that offered to tweet my link for 3 days and literally tweeted only the link with the hashtag I gave them (I mean, most gigs like this include SOME sort of wording, and the guy proclaimed he was a goddamned ARTIST). The next day was a RETWEET of his original tweet. That’s #2, I guess. :/ Today, who knows. And that was a $10 gig.

But David…David shows my book cover in brilliant size, prodded me to give a description that differed from my book blurb to connect with readers, linked to my website, Twitter, and the Amazon page, threw my face up in there as well as my meager Amazon reviews, gave an option for people to talk and engage with me…David also gives you access to set up tweets from his Twitter account, AND gives you random little promotion pop-ups on his site. For $15 over 6 months, this is pretty good stuff, and not a price you’ll look back on like it wasn’t worth it. He’s making this fun and I can’t wait to do more interacting with it. I’ll even be able to farm for more indies to read and support here. It’s like a one-stop shop, where you find those rare RPG towns where they sell the items and weapons in the same place instead of making you run to different buildings.

It feels good to be impressed.

~Tael

In Close Quarters

A couple of years ago, I wrote a subway poem in a tweet that I never forgot:

All this space…

Why are you so close to me?

Why are you so close to me?

Whyareyousoclosetome?

Whyareourarmstouching?

I visualized it making it to one of the Poetry In Motion billboards on the train, so that riders who were unknowingly committing this crime would see it, magically be enlightened, and correct the offending behavior. Ahh, those New York dreams…

~Tael

I’m Feelin’ That

Immersion. It conjures up the memory of that first dive into the calm of Jolly Roger Bay in Super Mario 64 where the music immediately switches to a deeper, still soothing tempo as you descend into blissful underwater exploration…like diving into a memorable story, yah? ImFeelinThat

Extending exploration from the gaming world to the writing world, it’s not an Indie Author Journey unless you’re supporting other indies! So I randomly searched Twitter, discovered author Chris Stevens, and took a dive into “I’m Feelin That! Stories of Love, Life and Lessons Learned.” I’m not usually one to read short stories by choice, but the cultural aspect, I could connect with. It’s very straight-forward writing making use of slang vernacular, with different POVs to switch things up for a varied range of content. What I liked the most: reading about lifestyles that differ from my own. Story that stuck with me the most? Brothers In Arms.

~Tael

The Accidental Blogger

Once you start researching self-publishing, an avalanche of tips outpours. Obviously if you’re choosing to self-publish, it’s because you want to avoid the more popular, historical route. Rebellion! But self-publishing has become so normalized and saturated that a prescribed set of guidelines exists here as well.

Do they suggest blogging? No. Not really. But maybe it helps.

Is that how I accidentally started this blog? NOPE. I did it because a recurring piece of instruction was having an author website. Sure, you have your Goodreads page, Amazon Author Page, and BookBub Author Profile, but I guess that isn’t enough. As an indie author you COULD have an entire website dedicated to your literary accomplishments, but it seems like big britches to me. If you’re just starting out, you’re not going to have a full roster of upcoming events, a collection of novels you’ve written, and accolades from the New York Times reviewers to showcase on your professionally designed, visually spectacular, high-traffic site.

I also feel like all the tips suggest that you present yourself as an author first, which is not the case with me. I’m a person first, with multiple hobbies, and this one I’ve invested in greatly. I actually don’t visit the websites of the authors I love. These things didn’t exist when I was younger. I don’t even follow them on social media. I just read their stuff when I’m ready to read their stuff. If I did though, I’d want to learn more about them as a person and not just as an author. Sure, seeing when their next book signing is might be cool, but it’s likely not going down in my city, I’m not traveling to attend one, and even if it was local, I don’t feel a strong urge to have my favorite authors sign my copies. I guess it’s not a big deal to me. I’d much rather either A. See if they’re gonna be releasing any new novels soon or B. See if they’re talking about something personal that I can connect with. I’d rather visit an author’s site to see who they are as a person; what other passions they have, pictures of their pets, favorite snacks, their kids. Anything humanizing that shows they have a life outside of authordom.

The tips don’t tell you that, though.

So when I revived my old WordPress site, I realized it automatically has a blog attached so I I may as well use it. Blogging is generally a writer’s dream, but I always shied away from it because I never had an angle. Sure I could gripe about everyday life, but who wants to really read about some stranger’s gripes? You see that enough on Facebook with the over-sharers who feel they need to tell you that today they ordered a buttered croissant for breakfast instead of the usual toasted bagel.

Most blogs have a focus. Maybe it’s recipes, maybe it’s travel, maybe it’s cosmetics. I feel like the Indie Author Journey could encompass a lot and its relatable. Whenever I’m writing anything, I want it to somehow be relatable. The feeling of connecting to others through writing is incredible.

We are not plastic products put up on shelves, manufactured according to the current self-publishing code. As such, our websites and social media don’t have to look the same or give off a similar vibe. In a medium where personal style should most definitely stand out (HELLO, we’re WRITERS!), I’d rather not be a polished here-is-my-author-page-from-the-bestselling-last-novel-graduated-from-s0-and-so-university-award-winning-Nobel-Peace-Prize-top-reviewed-but-the-review-quote-only-says-something-basic-like-riveting-and-thought-provoking-yet-it’s-still-a-highly-acclaimed-review?

Can I just be me? Without all the airs?

Not in today’s society. -.-

#TruthTrebles

~Tael

 

The Three-Four-Seven-Nine-Forty Book Trilogy

Seems to be the trend nowadays. First novel of the Fallen Angel series. Book Three of the Steamy Hearts boxset. Sixty-eleventh part of the omg-you-need-to-keep-reading-this-unlimited-number-sequence. A hot tip to indie authors, especially those looking to set up recurring passive income, is to write as many books as possible and throw them on Amazon. The idea is that the more books you have, the more your promoting of your other books will eventually get your OTHER books found. I think.

A specific comment from one of my Chaos (un)Controlled reviewers was, “I personally liked a lot because it seems like every single young adult book has to be a series of at least 3 books when sometimes I just want one pleasant self-contained book.”

It certainly does feel that way sometimes, huh? I agree. Not knocking series at all; I’m considering doing a non-linear prequel to Chaos (un)Controlled for my next writing project. But Rixa’s story isn’t incomplete in Chaos (un)Controlled. University Heights could be revisited, sure. Other characters could get a spotlight. It’d be cool to take a Tales approach; where elements of the prior games are touched upon in the later games, giving the player refreshing “Aha!” moments, if they’ve played the others. But I don’t want to return to it just because series are the cool thing to do right now. There would need to be a real reason.

Currently, as an adult reader, the thought of starting a new series (from a reader’s perspective) is akin to climbing a mountain; my mind sees “Book one of…” and immediately responds, “Do I really want to get into this?” Finding the time to finish one novel takes awhile as it is. It’s like getting into a new television show. It’s like…now I gotta watch it and be invested. Thinking of the obligation is exhausting enough… -.- Let’s take a look at the series I’ve encountered and made it through:

Harry Potter. This one was an accident. The first three books were gifted to me and I ended up loving them and grateful that the journey continued after the first.

Fifty Shades of Grey. This one, I was conned. An old co-worker raved about how she loved this series so much, she re-read all of them in a week. Barnes & Noble happened to have a ridiculous sale, all 3 for $9.99 so I went for it. First one was amusing. Second one kept me interested. Third one was painful. I could only crawl through a few pages at a time for each reading session before major ADD kicked in. I finished only because I had committed to the first two.

Twilight. I was gifted the first book for this one too, and despite the purple-prosey writing style, it did keep me captivated enough to keep going through all 4.

Divergent. First one was awesome. Second one cool. Third one, bleh.

Seems like series have a habit of losing steam the further they go along. With the exception of Harry Potter.

Let’s look at a non-linear series. The Coldest Winter Ever was phenomenal. The long-after subsequent prequel Midnight offered a very different tale that I was sold on. I’m a sucker for Japanese culture blended into anything. The sequel to Midnight however, fell flat and unrealistic and lost my fandom. Whatever we forgave or gave a pass to in the first one, began to pile on as the outrageous elements became a Rollout. I recently learned there was another release in the non-linear series; A Deeper Love, which follows Winter’s sister apparently. It’s on my reading list because, of course, the commitment.

If potential readers can find the time to commit to Chaos (un)Controlled, just ONE standalone book, I’ll be happy. Whether many are jumping on the series bandwagon for the sake of sales, or love of an epic story-journey, I still say there’s a niche for the pleasant, self-contained book that the busy reader with time-commitment-issues can store on her shelf.

~Tael