Question the Editor?

There are some good writers in my group of writing friends, and we held our monthly Monday night.  For my part, I’ve been carrying pages from my current work, National Poison.  Everyone’s familiar with it by now, and most members are kind enough to “like” it.

My pages this month included one characters attempt to escape the clutches of some Secret Service enforcers.   In the narrative, I have this character expressing some thoughts and opinions.  I used italics for  his thoughts.  Our fearless leader disagreed with this, because as she said, we know he’s thinking this.

Naturally, me and several members disagreed with her opinion.  What I’ve seen in most novels I’ve read, (I think) is that italics are used, and often when they are, the he/she said is dropped, but not always.   That’s what I do, and I plan to leave the copy as is, and Rosemary knows this.  Any thoughts?

Meanwhile, I’m offering Blood on the Orchid free on Kindle over the weekend, in honor of Christopher Columbus’ birthday.  It will make a great gift or read if you haven’t downloaded it yet.  It’s also available in paperback for those, who like me, prefer to hold a book in their hands-one that can be folded back and marked on.

Next issue, I’ll have a cover for National Poison.  I’m looking forward to being able to post it.

Thanks for reading.
Raymond Harris Harrison

Rewriting National Poison

Holy cow!  Where has the time gone?  Seems like yesterday, maybe this morning, even, that I finished the first draft of my new novel, National Poison.  It’s been long enough now that I thought I would have had it ready for market by late summer.  Well, late summer just went bye-bye, and I haven’t finished the first edit.

In my defense, I’m a world-class procrastinator.  Work-I still do some graphic design and enough web management to kill off entire months.  Car shopping has also occupied some of my time this summer.  Then there’s always promotion efforts for my first book, Blood on the Orchid, and to avoid editing and rewriting, I have designed my new cover, but I’ve delayed buying one photograph I’ll need to finish it.  That means I can’t put it out there for comments.

But, I’ve started the work on National Poison again.  This time, I’m serious.  It will be done by Halloween, and maybe, I can have the book ready for publishing by Thanksgiving.  When I finish the rewrite, I have to send it for editing.  Fresh eyes.  Then changes and corrections.

And, I’m still searching for ways to successfully market them.  I’ve tried a new route this month, without a lot of success, but it’s still going.  I’m thinking of giving Google Adwords a shot.  I haven’t tried that, but I did get another promo from Google, so I think I’ll take em up on the offer.  I need to clean up my website.  I’ve had a glitch in it, and I need to talk to the fine folks at GoDaddy to see what I need to do on my end.  Something else I’ve been putting off!  Damn.  The list keeps growing.

Anyway.  Here we go.  The fall, my favorite time of year is here.  I need to get it in gear!

Thanks for reading.

Raymond Harris Harrison

ps:  My mother-in-law’s book for her brother, I Remember Reidsville, is doing very well.  It’s a short memoir of their childhood in Rockingham County, N.C.  during the roaring 20s!

Parties and Sales

My writing group is led by Rosemary Daniell, founder of Zona Rosa, and author of many acclaimed books, including Secrets of the Zona Rosa, Sleeping with Soldiers, and The Woman Who Spilled Words All Over Herself!  She leads her Zona Rosa groups, two here in Savannah, and others in Atlanta, and apparently some by computer.

So, she deserves to take a month off once in a while, and she chooses to do that every August.  And, she throws a party!  I had never been to one of her parties, but I decided to go this year.  Seems I’ve been missing a lot of fun.

Food and snacks were about the same as for a regular group, just more of it.  The group I don’t attend here is all women, and most of them were in attendance, plus at least one from as far away as Ann Arbor.  She felt obligated to take one of my books back to Michigan.  I even autographed it!  But I didn’t let her pay for it, because it was a “proof” copy–which brings me to the ‘sales’ part of the headline.

There haven’t been any sales this month!  Not one.  I did have a new promotion that started on the 19th.  I know.  Seems a strange day to start a promotion.  So far, nothing positive has shown up, which could add to the question of starting on Sunday afternoon.  There’s always the question of writing and content of said work!  Meanwhile, I’ve been helping my mother-in-law put together a memoir written by her older brother before he died.  Doing the print version was straight-forward.  And even, fun!  But then I decided to put it out in kindle format.

Everything went well, except getting the pictures to load.  I tried everything Amazon suggested on the website, then finally contacted them directly.  Proceeded to try step by step directions, all to no avail.  I tried all the steps many times, and they never worked.  I even sent everything to this computer wiz I know, who tried the same things.  No go!

I decide to try one more time, before going back to Amazon.  I did the exact same thing as before, but, lo and behold, this time it worked!!  What a relief.  I set up her book, I Remember Reidsville up on KDP.  Two free days have generated a surprising number of downloads.  Don’t know how many will actually read the book, but it is entertaining…I think!;-)

I emailed my son, to let him know that his “Green Grandma’s” book would be free if he wanted to grab a copy.  He answered back that he liked to pay for his books.  He said authors should be rewarded for their work!  I was proud, needless to say, but I say so!;-)

At any rate–writers throw fun parties, not that I’m much of a judge of that, sales are slow, but I’m still plugging away, and as usual, I thank you for reading!

Raymond Harris Harrison

ps:  Now that I’ve finished Lola’s book, I can finish National Poison.

Marketing vs Writing

Blood on the OrchidYears ago, when I was toying around with the idea of writing fiction, I attended a workshop with Lawrence Block.  Should give a hint as to how long I’ve been headed down this page of life.

Some of the things he said have stuck with me, as if he branded my memory with his insights/opinions.  Probably the most important was what he said about success: It’s about 90% hard work, and maybe 10% talent.  Another thing he talked about was how everyone wants to be a writer, but they just can’t get started…can’t come up with that first line, that first sentence.

He solved that part right away, by giving us a list of ten great opening lines.  We did an exercise, where we chose one of the ten, and wrote our opening scene.  I remember mine involved a downhill country road, intersecting another, and blond hair blowing in the breeze.

This is a long-winded way of saying I need to get on with marketing Blood on the Orchid, and start with National Poison, too.  I’ve been reading everything I can find on the subject, and recently came across a guest post by Rachel Thompson on Molly Green’s blog, molly-greene.com.

Rachel is a writer, and marketing professional, and she shared five great ways to promote our books.  It is not enough to write it, and wait for readers to find it.  So, to that end, I’m going to start my promotion effort, slowly, so I can see what works, when, and how well.  At least, I hope that’s the way it goes.

As I learn, and hopefully, it won’t take too long, or be to painful, I’ll pass on the information.  And, I’ll continue reading other writer’s blogs.  They have a lot of good ideas.

Thanks for reading.

Raymond Harris Harrison

The first thing I thought of, after hearing about the Aurora, Colorado shootings, and recovering from the insanity of it, was basically how the left was going to be foaming at the mouth for more gun controls.  Obviously, I wasn’t disappointed.  The usual suspects, Blowburg, the Brady bunch, et. al. were all over the media demanding more stringent controls.

Frankly, I thought there should be another law as well.  I think there should be a law that outlaws “gun-free” zones.  I understand this theatre complex was such a zone.  I’m pretty sure CO has a right to carry permit, and I even think one can carry openly in Colorado, I’m not sure.  I am sure, that had there been a law abiding citizen near the shooter, with his/her (just to be PC, and I know some great lady shooters{my wife, for one}) the carnage could have been greatly reduced, if not avoided all together.  I understand this shooter was some brilliant medical student, so had he known someone might be waiting to blow his sorry ass away, he may have reconsidered all together.  Of course, his brilliance may just be that attributed to all people of his ilk.  ie: he was abused as a child; his mother didn’t love him; his father forced him to play football when he wanted to take piano; someone stole his desert; his girl told him to take a hike; Obama didn’t forgive his student loans…

Maybe we could use one more law:  A law that says ALL OTHER LAWS MUST BE OBEYED!  That should take care of everything.  I’m pretty sure there is a law against killing someone, robbing people, raping, mugging, cheating, etc.  That simple law should solve all our problems.

Parents wouldn’t have to worry about instilling morals in their offspring.   We wouldn’t have to worry about the indoctrination going on in our schools.  We could reduce the size of police departments around the country.  If this were tried around the world, hey, we could cut back or eliminate our military.  Then all that money could go to something useful, like taking care of our elderly and ill.  We could eliminate most if not all of out politicians, because after all, they’re the lawmakers. They won’t have to make any more laws.  Best of all, we wouldn’t have to listen to all those blowhards like Bloomberg, Brady, Moore, Pelosi, Reid, Matthews, and some I can’t remember…fortunately.

As long as I’m on guns, I have a post I received that I’m going to post over here.  It shows what has happened in countries where the government has taken away the peoples right to protect themselves.  I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy and 9-1-1 takes too long…

I’m just saying…

Thanks for reading.

Raymond Harris Harrison

E-book vs Paperback

I mentioned lately, the pricing (low) of e-books, mine included.   I’ve had Blood on the Orchid priced  at 2.99 and at .99.  Several bloggers have written that they think pricing a book at .99 is basically the new “Free.”  That may be.

I do understand the philosophy of pricing a book at .99 to take advantage of any momentum achieved during a Free Day promo on Kindle.  But I also agree with those who have decided to put a little more value on their work.  I’ve decided that $2.99 is a good price for my book, so that’s where I’ll keep it priced.  At that price, I think most readers will look at the preview before buying, and they’ll be more likely to read it, afterwards…afterward?  Anyway, once they purchase the book.

That being said, I find it interesting that the paperback version is finally selling.  Truth be told, it’s selling as well as the e-book, right now.  I wonder if that’s because fewer folks are downloading the e-version since the price is higher, or are there just more readers who (like me) prefer having a real book in their hands.  Wonder if I could get a big-buck-grant to do a study on that?

I keep looking for a way to promote the books.  National Poison is getting to the point that I should start promoting it a bit, I think, but so far, I haven’t discovered the secret.  There are a few sites I’ve used, and paid for, but so far, I can’t really tell that they’ve been beneficial.  Since I was an art director in my first life, I know it’s hard to tell what does work…like the famous marketing expert said, “I know half my budget is wasted, I just don’t know which half.”  I forget who said that, and while I could go find out, I’m too lazy.

As for National Poison, I’ve just about finished the cover.  Maybe I’ll be able to load it in a week or so.  Meanwhile, back at the library, don’t forget to send your friends to check out Blood on the Orchid.

Thanks for reading.

Raymond Harris Harrison

Reviews vs Reviews

There’s not much like getting a review of one’s work, especially for writers.  I’ve been fortunate to get a few, and I stress that word, but at least I’ve had a few.  Mostly good.  In fact, very good.

However, I did get one that could cancel all the good reviews in one acrimonious attack.  And, although I added a comment to his comment, it doesn’t show up when you go to comments…just the comment from someone calling themselves to_ottawa.  At first, I was stung pretty hard.  But, I rationalized it away, blaming it on formatting glitches I had for a few days.  In hindsight, I should have taken it down, but I didn’t.

Regardless, I happened by there today, and reread that comment.  You can’t miss it.  It pops up right next to one of the best.  When I re-read it, I had to wonder if the person had even read any of the book.  The only problem was a drop cap that floated, rather than dropping, as I’ve mentioned before.  This person talked about missing copy, and misspelled words.  I checked the preview Amazon put up, and the only fault was the drop cap.  So, why am I still writing about this?Blood on the Orchid

Beats me.  I have sold more books since that review, so I guess readers are making up their own minds.  They tend to be that way thankfully.

Enough.  I’m putting out a call to my family, which is not small, for pictures of a young lady I can use on the cover of National Poison.  That’s the next Wolfgang adventure.  I need a blonde, or at least a light-haired lass.  That’s to provide a little contrast on the cover.  The main illustration is dark, and that will let her image show up.  Hope to have it ready for release by September.

Meanwhile, Blood on the Orchid is slowly picking up steam.  If you haven’t checked it out, please take a look.  It’s available in e-book or paperback.

Thanks for reading.

Raymond Harris Harrison

I’m getting ready for the last of the free day promotions on my Kindle account.  July 4th will be the day, and now, the savings will be significant!;-)  I’ve gone back to the $2.99 price for the e-book, up from .99.  I read an article about the latter price being the new “Free.”   I tend to agree.  Then I read another article, after I had decided to change, by the way, agreeing that pricing one’s work at .99 was not really giving value to one’s time, effort and talent.  And it leads to what may have happened in the upcoming paragraph.

I got my first really bad review on Amazon.  The only bad one I’ve had for Blood on the Orchid.  The reader said basically that it couldn’t be read, all the copy couldn’t be found, some was missing, etc…called my baby “garbage.”   I couldn’t find a way to communicate with the reader directly, so I left a comment to the comment, saying I’d be glad to refund the .99 or send a format-glitch-free version.  Point is, if the book had been priced at a higher amount, the reader may have taken the time to look before buying.  I was aware of the formatting glitch, as I’ve written about here, but all I ever saw was that my “drop caps” didn’t drop.  They “floated” above the first line of copy.  It was a pain, but not unreadable.  I didn’t see where any copy was missing, but I didn’t look a the entire book, and I doubt seriously that this reader did either.

Anyway, if anyone out there got a bad issue, let me know, and I’ll make sure you get a clean version.  It will be free again on Wednesday, July 4, so it can be downloaded,  but I’ll be glad to send one.

On a brighter note, the paperback version has finally begun to sell.  Albeit slowly, but progress is progress, and I certainly appreciate the sales.  When I learn more about Createspace, I think I’ll be able to do specials over there, too.

Have a Great Fourth, everybody.  Stay cool, and as always,

Thanks for reading!

Raymond Harris Harrison

Kindle Kapers, Jr.

Since I was last here, things have improved, if only slightly.  But, that’s moving in the right direction.  For anyone who may have picked up a copy of Blood on the Orchid with the formatting glitch, just let me know, and I’ll make sure you get a good copy.  Even with the glitch, it’s readable.  Probably worse for me, just knowing it’s there, than for the reader.  I think I’m going to have a Free Day on July Fourth.  That’ll be a good time to grab a clean copy if you need one.

There are more hoops to jump through now, than when I first loaded the book.  I must say, I finally emailed Amazon Kindle support, and they did get back to me.  They gave me a couple of hints, one being that drop caps aren’t going to work!  They did send some code I could try, which I did, with no luck.  Probably the coder, not the code. I was under the impression the code would load the drop cap, but it just made the lead copy repeat itself!

But, I did get good info from the Kindle site…on formatting, so if you’re working on your own GAN, don’t pass up the hints and tips they provide.  I could have saved myself some angst!  I just changed tobold copy on the first few words of a chapter.  I guess that’s the graphic artist in me.  I like the way it works, and it gave me something to do;-), as if I didn’t have enough already.

My next challenge is getting a short family memoir formatted and loaded.  It contains a few pictures which presents another set of challenges.  But, what the hey!  I love a challenge.  It’s a little book my mother-in-law did from the notes of her older brother when they were kids in Reidsville, NC.  He didn’t write them when he was a kid–he wrote them in his waning years.  It’s quite fun and funny.

Another thing I learned, is there is supposed to be a connect between Kindle and Createspace.  I don’t know if it’s always been there, but it’s good to know.  Although, likes and reviews don’t seem to crossover.

An important thing this has taught me, I hope–don’t try to wing it.  Ask for directions.  There’s a lot of help out there, and much of it can be found at the source-in my case Amazon Kindle!

Thanks for reading.

Raymond H Harrison

ps:  If you’ve read my book, and enjoyed it, I would appreciate a short review…as all writers do!;-)

The Kindle Kaper

Ha!  I’ve been trying to get into Kindle since I noticed the formatting glitch in my little novel, Blood on the Orchid.  I haven’t been able to get past the first page, due to “maintenance” going on at Kindle.  I wonder if that has anything at all to do with my formatting issues.

Not likely, but I sure hope they will finish up soon.  I want to reload the file, just to see if that takes care of the problem.  I used the exact same file as before, with the two page addition at the end.  I know computers are sometimes quite persnickety, but this seems a bit much, even for computers.  The book is still readable, but readers shouldn’t have to put up with even a small glitch.  I trust Amazon will exchange it, assuming we can fix the problem, and I don’t see why that can’t be done.

If they won’t, I’ll have another free day, and folks can reload.  Meanwhile, don’t download it, in case you were thinking about it.  Or, look at the preview on Amazon.  If the drop cap is right, it’s good to go!

Again, I apologize for the mess.  I’m working to correct it, and I haven’t made the change to the paperback version.  Afraid to, till I get this worked out.

Thanks for reading.

Ray Harrison

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