Nope, that fire’s not a mirage

If anyone ever says writing is easy, laugh in their face and walk away. They’re insane and should be shunned like the delusional miscreant they are. While writing can be a joyful, fulfilling experience, it can also be filled with enough despair and self-doubt to make anyone go running for the hills.

I reached that point over a year ago. And, while it wasn’t the first time I’d reached that point, it was certainly the most extensive. Writing requires dedication and drive. But, somewhere along the way, I lost the fire. I felt like a hack. A pretender. Someone who just wanted to be a writer, but who lacked wherewithal to actually do what was necessary to be one. This, after having already published 3 novels. I just didn’t feel like it was in me.

I stopped reading. I essentially walked away from my writing. Even when I attended my writers group meetings, I felt like a sham. Just going through the motions in order to not expose the reality of where I was. Absolutely lost.

A few months ago, I started a new job. It’s been great and creatively challenging. And, despite working hours that would make writing a challenge, I started to feel the fire building again. I decided not to push it too hard. I started reading again. I jotted notes down. I reassessed some of my old writing. I started looking at the unfinished business of my trilogies. I checked my social media accounts. I looked at my Amazon reviews for the first time in forever. 5 new 5-stars for my first book. I nearly cried. People like what I write. I started a story and I owe them, at the very least, a conclusion to that story. And I know I have more in me. Most importantly, I started writing again. Nothing consequential. Still taking small steps. But, the fire is there. I just have to keep stoking it.

Amazon Offers Author Advertising Option


A new option for advertising your books in the Select program.


Amazon recently announced the release of a pay-per-click advertising program for authors with books enrolled in Kindle Select. On your bookshelf, you’ll see a new option next to your Select books called, Promote and Advertise. The program, which had been rumored to be in beta months ago, is similar to other pay-per-click programs I’ve seen on sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. You can target your advertising by product or interest. From Amazon:

Product-targeted ads appear on when shoppers browse for the products you select and similar products. Targeting by product may yield fewer impressions but more interested buyers.

Interest-targeted ads appear on to shoppers who have demonstrated an interest in the categories you select. Because you’re casting a wider net, targeting by interest may yield more impressions.

You set your bid amount, but be forewarned that your minimum budget amount is $100. This is certainly different from other systems, where you can usually set your budget to whatever amount you want, allowing you to run short, inexpensive campaigns. Strange that Amazon would do this, as it might limit the number of folks throwing their hat into the advertising ring. Which might also be a good thing.

Also, I’ve heard talk from some of the beta testers and the results are bland at best, horrible at worst, with a very poor return on investment. As with any new marketing venture, I recommend looking around for hands-on experience (try this thread in the Writer’s cafe over at There is no such thing as a sure thing when it comes to advertising.

I’m sure I’ll give it a shot at some point, but I’m not quite in a position to drop $100 at the moment. When I do, I’ll be sure to report the results.

Do you have experience with this new program? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by! 🙂

Get a Book for a Buck ($1)


My young adult fantasy novel, Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon (UK edition) is on a Kindle Countdown sale for the next week (12/5 to 12/12) for just $0.99/£0.99. That’s 1/3 of a cup of coffee… and lasts much longer! 😉

Sometimes You Just Need to Read Your 5-Star Reviews


Ok, I’m contradicting myself here, but hey… we all contradict ourselves sometimes. Right? I’ve written in the past how I’ve stopped reading reviews of my books. How, the 1-star reviews are usually too harsh and the 5-star reviews too glowing. Well, I read a new review today. In fairness, it’s for my new YA fantasy, which had all of 2 reviews up until yesterday, when I discovered there was now a third. It was 5 stars and I broke down and read it. I was happy I did. I needed it.

Being a writer often comes with a certain lack of self esteem. Often self-deprecating and sometimes introverted, we’re the last one’s to want to shout about our work from the rooftops, no matter how good it might be. We’re all just waiting for some bubble to burst. That being said, sometimes you just need someone to say something nice about your stuff. You need that pat on the back. Well, I needed one at least. It’s not like my ego is going to explode. I’m not suddenly thinking I’m the next Rick Riordan. But my writing touched someone so much that they wrote some very nice things about my book. That, for me, is what being a writer is all about.

So, go ahead. You have my permission again. If you’re having a bad day, or feel like your writing isn’t what it should be, go ahead and read those 5-star reviews. Remember that you’ve reached a few readers and you’ve touched a few lives in a positive manner. Ok, now knock it off and get back to work on that sequel. 😉

What are your thoughts on reviews? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

Amazon and Hachette Come to Terms


Remember that weary battle between Amazon and Hachette? Tried to forget about it? Well, it’s back with an underwhelming vengeance. They settled… and they’re keeping the details to themselves and essentially each side is claiming victory or something like that. Makes you sort of wonder why they couldn’t have settled months ago. Still, leave it to Doug Preston to try and have the last words, which are pretty much, “You haven’t heard the end of this!” Can we vote to end his 15 minutes of “fame”? It’s running a bit long.

Listen, as I mentioned briefly in my post yesterday, I’m all for competition. As authors and readers, it would be healthy for Amazon to get some strong competition, especially with regard to the ebook market. Problem is, there isn’t anything that’s on the same level and that’s probably because no one cares about it as much. That is, until the one place that does care starts trying to throw its weight around.

I’m kinda glad the whole thing is over and I hope to never hear about the Authors Guild and Authors United. When your group consists of the top 1% of earners in a field, it doesn’t sound like unity and leadership. It sounds like privilege and whining.

Tally Up Twitter Tuesday – 10/27



Been a while since I’ve posted this feature, so figured I’d dust it off with a fresh look. These are some of the more interesting things I’ve shared over on Twitter in the last week. Enjoy!


As always, you can get these links first hand by following me over on Twitter. 🙂

Kindle Scout


Planning on publishing your Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Science Fiction, or Fantasy novel with Amazon soon? Not in a rush? Well, you might want to consider submitting to Kindle Scout. Amazon’s new crowd-sourced publishing arm has put out a call for work. Check out the home page and eligibility requirements.

Per the site,

If we select your book for publication, you will be entitled to a $1,500 advance and royalties on net revenues at a rate of 50% for eBooks, 25% for audio editions and 20% for translations.

If you do not earn at least $25,000 during any 5-year term, you’ll have six months after the end of that 5-year period in which you can choose to stop publishing with us and request your rights back.

Be sure to read the fine print before you submit. Another way Amazon is trying to become the publisher of choice. They are certainly dangling another carrot here.

UPDATE (11/4/14): The reader portion of Kindle Scout is now active and you may nominate books for selection. Having seen some of the choices, I wonder if Amazon might help authors with their covers prior to publication. Some are pretty awful. :-/

What do you think? Would you/will you submit? Let us know in the comments and thanks for stopping by!

Last Day for My Kindle Countdown!

Just a quick note that today is the last day to pick up Danny Dirks and the Heir of Pendragon for just $0.99 over at Amazon.