Unexpected Joys. And Mailmunch.
This week brought some out-of-the-blue unexpected joys that I hope come in threes since there have been two and that would mean another might be hovering in the wings. But if not, no prob, because the two that popped up totally made up for the rest of the week.
This has been a week of very much stress and hair-tugging angst as I dealt with my usual Dys-brain issues involving techy things ranging from mailchimp to mailmunch to wordpress to taxes. And I really want somebody to help me with mailmunch, so if I mention and link to it enough, I wonder if it will catch the attention of somebody who actually can?
Then there has been the very standard bit of hair-pulling and angst as I fought with a short story that fought back. It’s because I don’t write enough short stories to master the idea of telling an entire story in very few words, and yet recently I’ve been wanting to write some set in the Fury Universe and an opportunity came up to use one as a promotion and I had this story I’ve been poking at for a couple of years off and on, and I thought oh yes I shall finish it and I will enter this promotion!
It’s a fun vignette, a sequence of events, but making it into an actual story was much more difficult than it should have been, or that’s the way it seems to me. I don’t have trouble hitting my marks in a 200,000 word novel and ending with a pow! so what is it about this story that took me to the mat? I don’t now. But I do love very much about it.
I offer special thanks to Linda and Mike [redacted to protect privacy] for answering questions for me, and reading bits and giving me some notes. And I am making sure I know how Mike spells Mahmoud/Mamoud before I finalize the short story because I want to make sure the acknowledgment is spelled correctly. And I also think it would be totally awesome if everybody named Mike spelled their name Mahmoud. For a day. Because, that amuses me. And today I am all about amusing the Pooks.
For those of you have have read This Crumbling Pageant, this tale is about Cosmo Fury, Persephone’s oldest brother. I decided to write something fun about his Oxford days. I blogged about it once but I don’t think that blog entry has been reposted from before the Great Hacking Incident [HACK YOU YOU MOTHER-HACKING HACKER] of a couple of months ago that ate my life, brain, and sanity. I think I’ll put it up before I post this just so I can link to it.
Anyway, I was begging for feedback and still writing up until midnight-thirty on the just-born-day the story needed to be available to all.
And I am just not going to mention taxes. Other than the fact that I’ve already mentioned them. But I will spare you any details which would only bore you and make you want to stab yourself in the knee with a spork.
And the next morning I discovered that almost 100 people had downloaded what they thought was my short story before I got the real one up. Instead they got copies of This Crumbling Pageant that I had uploaded as a placeholder. Which is a win-win for them, since I have now made certain they could also get the short story. But. Still. OMG. Always. Something. More.
Oh yeah and the short story still needs a title and if somebody comes up with a title that I use they will get a prize. I think I mentioned that before. Worth mentioning again.
But. Unexpected Joys!
First unexpected joy–and this one is kind of problematical to talk about for several reasons.
This Crumbling Pageant was mentioned on Smart Bitches Trashy Books as being on sale right now. This in itself is always happy-making. But this time was unexpected. My publisher tagged me and said, “There’s a bump in sales on TCP today; what did you do?”
Me? Nothing. At least, nothing I remember but my brain has been so ripped in shreds doing so many different things maybe I am forgetting something obvious? Then a friend tagged me with the link to SBTB.
There was a bit of conversation occurring in the comments. People who are wondering about The Dead Shall Live and when it is coming out. [Answer: later this year.] People who liked This Crumbling Pageant enough to be wondering about the next book prompted a bump in sales. And I am not sure what thrilled me the most–the conversation or the sales. Do I have to choose?
I mentioned problematical. See, here is why it’s problematical mentioning this.
ONE: Maybe I am supposed to be so accustomed to things like this happen that it doesn’t need mentioning. Maybe the fact that four or five readers liked my book in public should not be mentioned because it makes me look needy?
TWO: Maybe mentioning it and the bump in sales makes me look like I’m braggin?
THREE: Maybe these are writer-things that most of you are yawning over anyway?
FOUR: And this is the biggest. Maybe as an author is it rude for me to indicate that I am even aware of that conversation, which is taking place on a blog for readers. If you don’t understand this, I’ll explain. There are places where readers can share their loves and hates and everything between about books, even about authors. “I stopped reading her books after TITLE when CHARACTER did ACTION and I just closed the book and said, life is too short and picked up the latest by AUTHOR, because I can always trust her to give me my catnip.” Of course any reader should have a place and friends where they can dish and bitch and gush without worrying about it. This is what Goodreads is. This is what reviews on Amazon and elsewhere should be. As tough a learning curve as it has been for many authors, these are places where authors should back off and sit on their hands and not give into the urge to argue with a reader who clearly did not understand, because how can that reader have thought HORRIBLE THOUGHT about your character. They must have your book confused with another. And it’s not the place to dive in and defend a friend’s book. And it’s NEVER a place to send your readers to defend you. These things never end well.
NOR SHOULD THEY.
If I buy a gizmo and it doesn’t work for me, or I find it difficult to use, or I think the color is not what I expected and it clashes and I decide to mention that in a review in case it helps somebody else? That is my right. That is what reviews are for. And even though the other 40 reviews all loved it, I am not wrong. My experience was different. Or if I’m wrong, it’s up to the people who read reviews to determine that from looking at the general opinions of most of them. If a manufacturer responds at all, the only proper response is good customer service. It’s saying, “We’re sorry you had this experience; it is our policy to refund if you do this, or to replace if you like, or simply ignore.”
Yes, authors are manufacturers in this case and nothing good comes from any other action. Because even if the majority of people like that gizmo a lot, if they may feel a bit uneasy if not outright negative if the manufacturer doesn’t handle complaints in a classy manner. And in the case of books, which are totally subjective, that really 99.99% of the time means, don’t say a damned thing. Pull up your big girl pants and move on. Or [as many authors choose to do] pretend reviews don’t exist and don’t look at them. If they have the power to upset you and stop you from writing and make you second guess or at least need to dive into a box of chocolate and not come up for air? Ignore. Don’t respond.
But the other and sometimes harder part of the author-learning-curve when it comes to reviews is when people say nice things and you want to dive in and thank them or tell them more or… you know, be nice. Be polite.
DON’T DO THAT.
It can be incredibly awkward and even unsettling for people to be chatting away happily and talkind about somebody–even saying nice things about somebody–only to turn around and realize that this somebody has been standing their listening over their shoulders. Yes, they’re talking in a public place. But it’s still unsettling, and we must remember that these are reader places not author places and let readers either have their privacy of at least the ability to converse without the author butting in–even to say thank you.
So yeah, maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned this at all. But it was an incredibly nice thing to pop up out of the blue in a week of incredible stress, and for that, I thank you all. Here. Not there.
Oh and by the way, I love Goodreads and Smart Bitches and Dear Author and various other such sites because I go there are as a reader. I am looking to see what people who share my tastes are loving or hating or at least saying interesting things about.
KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK, Y’ALL!
But I mentioned two nice things, and the other was this. I already mentioned it on Facebook. A couple of months back I had a book come out that thrilled me to the bone, because it was a book of custom-written short stories written just for me, specifically to be the kind of tales that appeal to my own quirky desires. Wait, I never said that before? Well what else would it be? The idea exploded in my head, and I immediately began thining of writers who would do weird and wacky things with it and–I WANTED TO READ THOSE STORIES.
Debris & Detritus: The Lesser Gods Running Amok happened. I learned that being an editor wasn’t as easy as just coming up with the idea that I wanted to read about, and then sitting back while everybody else wrote it for me. [Although that is absolutely the best part about it, because I am so proud of that book, of the writers I chose who in some cases were not at all people who ordinarily would get invited into such an anthology.] And I was on a high for weeks as the reviews rolled in. Seriously. Wonderful reviews.
But then time passed, the first thrill was over, I had other projects screaming down the tracks at me, a hack-attack that was all my own fault, damn it–and this week kind of became a mini-storm of several things colliding at once.
And the last thing I expected was to find a new review — a review that has been up since March 7, no less–of Debris & Detritus by a reader/reviewer who totally gets my vibe, because she totally got this book and its stories. And it made me so happy. So very very happy because of its unexpected appearance on my radar this morning.
Momma on the Rocks is my new bestie! I am sure it is the most awesome blog ever. Okay, I’m a bit punch-drunk. But how could I not love this blog when I see drop down menus that include Wanderlust and [be still my heart] AN AMERICAN IN WALES.
This is one of the best blogs EVER and I am sure I will still think so after I actually read more than just this single review.
Oh, and she made her own pretty graphic for the book.
How did I miss this when it has been up since March 7???
OH! BECAUSE I NEEDED TO READ IT TODAY.
Thank you, universe!
I am not sure if I mentioned MAILMUNCH and the problems I am having with it. I have kind of beaten it into submission but since I have four more pages to hopefully build with it I would love it if somebody who knows how to build pages with it would help me figure out how it works so I don’t have to fight so hard, because four more? OMG. I need them, want them, will make them. But it sure would be easier if I had even a couple or three questions answered so that I could do what is necessary without all the drama.
Mailmunch is a program or app or site or something that lets me put together a very nice landing page that doesn’t look like a blog but looks like a very nice thing all its own.
Over. And over. And over.
And even more overs.
Before I finally got it to look like it does now, which isn’t the original thing I had planned.
I love Mailmunch for making it possible for me to create that page. I am very annoyed with Mailmunch and want to make it go sit in the corner because it is not nearly as easy and intutive as it thinks it is. Maybe it’s just me and my Dys-brain. But it annoys.
That page is for that short story promotion, for people who want to read my short story and are willing to sign up for my newsletter in order to do so. Also, if you are already subscribed to my newsletter, you can sign up again and all will be cool. You won’t get two of the same newsletter [though if you signed up when it had another name you might, but even that is easy to take care of so if you want to read the story, feel free to go sign up and read it.]
Also, I am not sure if the tagline is all that effective. Do you find the wand reference intriguing? Does it make you think, oh I shall click that! Or is that something I need to drop and come up with a better tagline next time? Is the irony too subtle? Or not ironical at all?
My brain, this week–I am not certain of anything any more.
Also, it’s weird about the short story, because all the time I was writing it I was thinking, “I hope people who haven’t read This Crumbling Pageant find it interesting, and how odd that the people who might be most delighted to read it aren’t the ones that are getting first shot it…”
Other than TeamFury. They got it yesterday. Heh.
Two unexpected joys that made me rattle on like a rattling-on thing this morning.
That’s enough rattling on for one day. Too much, actually. If I said anything worth comment, please do. Otherwise, know that next post will be shorter and possibly have content that is of more interest to you than me blathering on about my own stuff!
NOTE: I ONLY WANT MAILMUNCH TO HELP ME CREATE LANDING PAGES. I AM NOT AT ALL AT THE POINT WHERE I AM GOING TO ANNOY PEOPLE WITH THOSE FLOATING POPUPS THAT SAY SIGN UP FOR MY NEWSLETTER!!!!
These are famous last words. And I have learned never to say never.
So I won’t say never.
But that is nowhere on my radar.
I have so many better ways to annoy you.
Like rambling posts that may not have needed to be written.
Like this one.