Category: Personal

Sataniasis and masturbosity

Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/herbal-tea-cup-tea-relaxation-4232777/

As you probably know, my physical book is no more. My guess is that someone reported it as inappropriate and Creative Space took it down. It baffles me why an overly sensitive reader would buy it since I clearly state in the description they will detest it, but go figure. Conservative types are usually all over inappropriate material faster than flies gather around a corpse. Perhaps they hope to save the rest of us innocent fools from the clutches of diabolical smut by reading it first. Or perhaps they have a metric system and the appropriate gadgets that measure masturbosity and sataniasis in a book. If the gadget starts singing hosannas, it’s safe to read. If the gadget screeches like a televangelist is having a colonoscopy sans anesthesia in a moving firetruck, toss that book into the fireplace and wash your eyes and hands with bleach. I mean, seriously now? Oh, I just don’t know, and it makes no real difference. The book was no more, period, and Amazon refused to give me the exact details why. Grrr.

Now, much as I wanted to mail to the Amazon KDP headquarters a bomb which would contain hordes of live roaches covered in glitter, I did not. I triple-facepalmed, yelled, fumed, cursed like a sailor, complained to my friends… and pretty much left it at that. It is sad, but one has to choose their battles wisely. So Amazon KDP does not want to re-print my book ever. So what. I’ll find another way, I said to myself.

I started looking for an affordable printing company and found one. I decided I’ll sell my book through my blog. The ebook is still available on Amazon. If someone wants to buy a physical copy, they will be buying it from me. They may as well ask for a signed copy; I won’t charge them extra. 😉 Nowadays everyone has Paypal, and so do I. Paypal protects the buyer if something is lost or not as described. Problem solved… or not.

You see, what I just described is a process. It’s not going to happen tomorrow. I hired a graphic designer to do a makeover of my physical book as soon as she has some time. While waiting for that to happen, it was a good opportunity to check the contents. After the graphic designer is done, I won’t be able to change the file again, so the stories should be in top-notch condition prior to the makeover. I was pretty certain they were in good shape, as I had hired an editor before publishing it. Right?

(Bit of advice here: never, and I mean never, let your guard down when it comes to checking and re-checking before publishing something. You may have hired an editor. You may have hired an entire team of them. I don’t care. Read the damn thing one more time before hitting the publish button. Do it for science. Do it for grandma. Just do it. You will thank me later).

So I re-read the contents, groaned, and decided to unpublish the book in order to make corrections. After three weekends of editing, reading, re-reading, re-editing, rubbing my sore eyes and wishing for death, the book was re-published. It’s much better than before, and it can be found here. If you want to check for yourself what this whole fuss was about and why anyone would go as far as to censor it, be my guest. Reviews have been very good on both Goodreads and Amazon so far, and now the book is even better!

Off to feed the cats. Be good to yourselves and have a lovely weekend!

Censorship at its most insidious

 

Let me tell you a story. I mean, that’s what writers do, right? They tell stories.

Back in 2014, when I started out my journey as a published writer, Amazon only published ebooks via its KDP service. KDP is short for Kindle Direct Publishing. If you wanted to also offer a physical version of your book, you had to use Amazon’s subsidiary company, Create Space. So I published my book, the Theater of Dusk, using both companies. KDP published the ebook. Create Space got the physical book. Good so far? 

I’ve paid for everything out of my pocket. By ‘everything’ I mean the cover, editing costs, the costs of organising giveaways and sending copies to the winners and so on and so forth. It was a large sum, and I don’t regret spending it. Other people spend the same money on shoes and the latest iPhone. I wanted to publish my book. Each to their own. Don’t judge me for my vices and I won’t judge you for yours. 

My book doesn’t sell, and it comes as no surprise. Since Amazon will publish even the manuscript of a monkey with basic IT skills, the floodgates were opened. Everyone hoping to make a quick buck or having delusions of grandeur jumped on the bandwagon. The market was and still is buried under tens of thousands of cheap, similar, awful books. Standing out became impossible, unless there was a team of professionals behind your book who used their knowledge and some serious money to promote and advertise you. Since I don’t have a big publishing house behind me, I had very little hope of getting noticed. In fact, I never stood a chance. This, by the way, does not mean I regret publishing my book. I will never regret that.  

About a month ago I made updates to both versions of my book and re-uploaded the manuscripts. Create Space contacted me shortly afterwards and told me they will stop publishing my physical book because it violated their standards. I sent several emails asking them to point out the exact problem, because they wouldn’t even tell me if it was a title, cover, description or content issue. My book just violated their standards, end of conversation. They refused to answer my emails and explain what the problem was. And of course the book remained out of print.

Create Space is currently in the process of becoming one with KDP. The physical book was recently transferred to the new company. As soon as that happened, it was blocked there too. Wowsers! So I contacted KDP asking for help to solve this issue, hoping they’d be more professional and give me information. I mean, unless you tell me what the problem is, how in the blue blazes am I supposed to solve it? I waited and waited and got the same vague reply. That my book violated their standards, and consequently it would not be published.

At the time of writing this entry, only my ebook was available. I am surprised they haven’t taken that down too. Now, I would love to think I’m too shocking for the minds of common men, and my literary genius has scared them senseless and they cowered before my immense depravity. But believe me if I tell you I’ve both read and written some very extreme things, and my first book is nowhere near close. All things considered, it’s rather mild, it has a ton of trigger warnings in the description, and even the erotic scenes are few and in between.

How hypocritical is it to sell books like 50 Shades as Amazon and refuse to sell what doesn’t even qualify as porn?

How hypocritical is to sell mysteries and thrillers with excruciating details of gruesome murder and torture and refuse to print what can barely be labeled as violent?

I am disheartened, because it has been a non-stop uphill struggle for four years and it doesn’t look like it’s going to improve anytime soon. I also know why they won’t tell me what the problem is. If they did, and I had money, I could have taken legal action. By keeping the details vague, I can’t accuse them of something specific. So they get to do what they want, and I have no say in the matter. A meek, obedient, perfect little cog, keeping the Great Machine running.

A meek little cog with visions of cities burning, of angels mating with monsters and giving birth to abominations, of deepest darkness, the Night Without End. Of beauty inseparable from suffering, for all beauty leads to suffering. Of compassion, cruelty and despair, and everything forbidden and forgotten, desolate and alone, crying out under starless, empty skies.

Still want me to be your cog? Because I don’t think the shoe fits.

I don’t even know why I bother writing this entry, except for the fact I am too bitter to keep it inside. It’s not going to change anything and I know it. But I’m sick to my heart by constant adversity. And my only outlet is, unsurprisingly, writing. I mean, who would have thought.

Brain soup

The title is what happened to my grey matter while considering ways to override Goodreads’s system of giveaways. Their system doesn’t work for me. I give away books to possible reviewers only to discover that once they win my book, they abandon their accounts. Or fall sick. Or they habitually enter giveaways and have won hundreds of books they are supposed to review, but since their winnings are a three digit number, it might take them a couple of years (or ten). Or that they just won’t write a review, full stop. If everyone fell sick or abandoned their accounts after winning my book, I would be worried my writing is somehow responsible. You know, they read the book and suffered a stroke. Or were abducted by librarian demons. Or something.

So I am thinking about organising a giveaway through my blog. I am working out the details in my head. It’s a bit more complex than it seems, because I want to make sure participants have written a lot of reviews in Goodreads before entering my giveaway. Other than that, I am organising a new giveaway on Goodreads, too. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t. Wish me luck. The link is on the right upper corner of the blog and the giveaway will start on the 31st of October. Oh, and before I forget, happy Halloween!

Brutally honest

Ladies and gentlemen and non-binary sweethearts, good evening to you. I trust you are all good?

I haven’t been here in a while. Truth is, I have nothing noteworthy to write. I got news from the Binge Watching Cure, and though they enjoyed my short story, they won’t be publishing it. I was really disappointed, because it brought me back to square one. The problem is simple. I can’t promote my published book, the Theater of Dusk. Or rather, no matter how much I try, I see no results whatsoever. There are some logical reasons I know and can refer to. 

  • The  book is a collection of short stories. Readers prefer novels.
  • The short stories don’t belong to one genre but many. This makes it even more difficult to pitch it to an audience.
  • There are tens of thousands of new books published in Amazon every month, so mine is buried under the sheer bulk.
  • I don’t have money for advertisement.
  • I am self-published, so I don’t have a publishing house to take care of promotion and advertisement.

As a result of the above factors, I was hoping to publish my second book in order to help the first one too. But I don’t have the necessary money for editing, so that isn’t going to happen. The Binge Watching Cure collection would have helped me reach a wider audience, but they don’t want my story after all. And every other method I’ve tried so far has failed. Here are some examples:

  • I’ve contacted dozens of reviewing blogs. I haven’t heard back from any of them. Two blog owners who contacted me and said they were interested, were probably abducted by aliens because after that they vanished.
  • I have organised three giveaways in Goodreads, in which I gave away a total of ten books. Three were lost in the post and I had to post them to winners a second time. In the end, all I got was one review and two ratings. Oh wow.
  • I’ve paid for Facebook advertisements. As I said in my previous blog entry, when I do that I get sales before the advertisement, which renders the whole endeavour surreal and pretty much useless.

As you can guess from the above, I got sick of struggling. I’ve been trying and pushing and racking my brains for three years now and haven’t achieved anything, so I will no longer bother. I’ll go back to writing and try to save money in order to publish my novel. If anyone needs to contact me, please use my Facebook page. I will update this blog when I have something book-related to say, which I hope will be sooner rather than later. Other than that, I really should devote my free time to writing rather than rambling.

I hope to have good news for you soon and thanks for reading this blog. I do appreciate every pageview I got. 

Magician

Art is a cruel mistress

Art is a cruel mistress… Source: http://brilandsurrounding.tumblr.com/image/153124857372

I don’t have the necessary money for editing my novel. So for the time being, it will be shelved, or rather, stored in my hard drive until further notice. I was hoping I’d be able to publish it in 2016. The editing costs are waaaay above my paycheck. This saddens me but there is nothing I can do. I need to accept it and move on with my life.

I have discovered a unique time/ space disturbance in relation to my published book. Every time I attempt to advertise it, I get sales before the advertisement runs. Not during, not after. Before. If the same thing happened to me with the lottery numbers before the draw, I would have solved my editing issues, together with most of my problems. It wouldn’t have made my heroes real so that I can have hot experimental sex with them (did I write that? Oh dear) meet them, but pretty much everything else would be covered.

Other than that, I submitted a story from my published book the Theater of Dusk to the Binge Watching Cure. If you read their very interesting disclaimer, they want to cure your Netflix (or Amazon, Google movie, or Hulu) addiction and help you return to your first love, reading books. The editor told me he liked my story and he is considering it for publication. I will know for certain around the beginning of next year. If someone keeps in mind they receive 20-30 stories per day, I am immensely proud for the fact they are even considering it. It means I am doing something right (hopefully).

I am no longer sure what I’m doing right. At least I haven’t given up. I want to write books and publish them, though it seems harder than ever. It reminds me of something I read in the book Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. The book is the correspondence Rilke kept with a young poet. In one letter, Rilke asks the poet to try and imagine his life without writing. Let me quote:

“Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple “I must,” then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.”

Well, I’ll go insane if I don’t write, so it is not a matter of choice. We do what we must, regardless of how difficult it may be.

Keep Calm and Drink Tequila

Murder doesn’t sound so bad

Spoke with two different editors concerning my finished SF Romance novel. Gave them the word count and details. Asked for an estimation for a full editing service. Both quoted the same amount: 1100 to 1200 British pounds. Which translates to eh, about 1500 euro? Which translates to a number of possible scenarios.

1) I murder someone and harvest their organs. Pay the editor and got money left for advertising the book too. I celebrate the publishing of my first novel behind bars.

2) I sell one of my kidneys. Humans can survive with one, right?

3) I start eating my cats to save money on food. Nah, I don’t think I can do that. I mean the hairs will be the end of me. Death by indigestion.

4) I feed my cats less to save money for editing. They eat me alive.

5) I summon a demon and offer my soul in exchange for money. The demon takes a look at it and leaves disgusted. He won’t even tell me why.

6) I summon Cthulhu. He eats me. Mission definitely not accomplished.

7) I ask for a raise. The population of the entire continent laughs so much that the tectonic plate wobbles violently, collides with its neighbouring one and is hurled into space. Finally it smashes on the moon that breaks in two. No more full moons, ever, and millions dead. The orbit of the Earth changes randomly. Days last for seconds or years. Future generations curse my name forever. I am named Lizbeth the Accursed One, Earth Destroyer, Bringer of Celestial Doom. I did dream of posterity, but not like that.

8) I hire a dock bruiser to make the editor take my manuscript for free. The editor obliges, but I am found beaten within an inch of my life when I attempt to pay the bruiser with cats due to lack of funds.

9) I study occult until my final days trying to discover a way to become disgustingly rich. I die as confused as ever, with ten different nonsensical honorific titles, an army of useless disciples and with the book still unedited.

10) I let scientists study me in exchange for $$$. They commit mass suicide. One of them is found having swallowed his own tongue, with both feet somehow firmly wedged inside his ears. He was the one I was reading my stories to. They lock me in a dungeon, throw away the key, and I gnaw my way towards freedom. Eventually I become a feral, if toothless, underground troll. Perhaps an improvement, but still unedited.

11) I persuade readers to buy my published book, the Theater of Dusk. I’ll only need to sway, let’s see, more than three thousand people in order to acquire the necessary money. I’ll probably have better luck farming cicadas. I think in some country they eat them. Not sure.

12) I shoot porn. With my cats. It consists of me in sexy lingerie rubbing my face on their tummies and blowing  raspberry. And getting my eyes clawed out. Probably wrong effect for porn. Damn.

13) I pray feverishly to dark deities and sacrifice ice-creams. I develop carpet burns from kneeling and nothing changes, except for the aforesaid deities becoming sick of my nagging and making sure I die in a freak accident. They turn my head into a vase for frogathons. (Frogathons are similar to frogs, but they use them in, um, er, marathons and black metal bands. They are really nasty when they bloom. And when they gestribulate.)

Enough. I can go on all night. It’s in the description, really. Bloody writers. Fumbling with a keyboard a lot, accomplishing nothing. I need 1200 British pounds. Any ideas how to find that money while remaining alive and intact? (You do notice I didn’t say sane.)

Hot sex with Ian Somerhalder

Image: http://richestcelebrities.org/richest-actors/ian-somerhalder-net-worth/

So last night I am about to have sex with Ian Somerhalder. We are all over each other, kissing and fondling, and sweet baby Jesus and Buddha serene, he’s criminally handsome.  He’s got that evil twinkle in his unbelievable, transparent blue eyes, and he’s flashing me his bad boy sideways grin, turning me into a useless heap of hormones. He’s just amazing, caring and passionate and just as rough as he should be, and I am trembling and kissing him and pulling him in my embrace like a woman possessed. He is entirely focused on me, doing everything he can to make me melt, generous in the manner of an experienced lover who puts the other person’s pleasure before their own. I feel the luckiest woman in the world to have his full attention. He’s just, oh hell, his hands feel so good on me, his body feels so hot and alive writhing under my fingers. His face was made to destroy women (and some men, I’m sure) and it’s all mine to kiss and feel and feast upon. There is only one word to describe the situation: heaven.

So, just as things are about to get from hot to steamy and what little clothing we still had on is going to be hastily discarded to the floor, my waking mind together with my conscience seep though. So I turn and say to him, “Wait a minute. Aren’t you married? You should go and talk with your wife about this, and then come back to continue.” And naturally, he stopped and I woke up.

GAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! I want to shoot me dead! I want to take a hammer and pound me unconscious! I’ve been snapping at people since I woke up. Any ideas why? 😛

Does any of you know a fail safe way to have the same dream two nights in a row? I won’t open my mouth this time even if I have to tape it to make sure. I mean look at this. I said no to this face. It was the only chance I had and wasted it. I’m sure if I try to dream of him again tonight, I’ll dream of my surly school headmaster yelling at me. It will serve me right.

 

 

I feel as if an alien horde has rampaged me.

 


As I’ve said before, I need reviews for my book. As a result, I asked a friend if she knew any reviewing blogs. She gave me several google results. I took a look at them and experienced terror. Hundreds of blogs and sites that needed to be checked one by one. I closed the tabs and went away to eat some ice-cream. It’s typical reaction when I am overwhelmed. “Yikes!” followed by “Not me. I was just passing by. You are looking for someone else” and walking away.

 

Today I was struck by the mood to check some of them out. Necessary in order to get reviews, but my head hurts. Let me try and summarise this experience.

Let’s say you have a list of blogs. Every blog needs to be searched to locate the submission guidelines. After you find the link, you need to verify that the specific blog does accept the genre your book belongs to, and that the blog owner does accept submissions at this time (some blogs are temporarily closed to submissions). Some blogs accept only hard copies, which means they won’t do a review unless you mail them a physical book. Others don’t accept self-published authors (that’s me, hi there.) If you pass that stage, you have to compose an email with everything the blog owner needs in order to consider your book for a review. This usually includes your name, title of your work, synopsis/ blurb (that’s the description at the back of the book), book cover, publication date, price, your blog, Amazon page, Goodreads page, and your ebook in a specified format. Every blog has different requirements. Some may ask for all those, but more often than not, they will ask for some of those plus a different ebook format so that you don’t get bored by doing repetitive work. And needless to say, you have to accompany the above with a polite personal message to the blog owner, explaining who you are, what you want and why you think they would be interested in reading your work. It’s called “selling yourself”. And yes, if you want reviews (and believe me, if you are an independent publisher through amazon like I am, you desperately want them), then you have to work for it. And no, you are not doing the reviewers a favour, they are. With 260.000 new books coming out in the last three months alone, you need those reviews in order to stand out. You need all the publicity you can get, and then some.

With all that said and done, after a day of sending such emails, all I can do right now is dive into my bed face first and not stir until tomorrow. I will publish a list of reviewing blogs after I am done, to help more writers get a headache. Why not share? It’s similar to having a hangover, but without the “drink and make merry” part.

Image source: 
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=21690&picture=sleeping-in-the-car-seat&large=1