Monday, August 31, 2015

Picking Up The Slack



Weeks of drama are now behind us, and I'm starting to draw a breath.

The Hoard is slowly finding it's way out of my house, back into the Peddler's Mall booth #329.  A couple hours work tamed the mess inside the house and on the porch. We took a load to the flea market booth and made a bit more breathing room. There's much more that needs to go!

Something will need to be done about the studio, but not today.

There's been some interest in the little farm, not a serious offer, just a low-ball to see if I'm desperate. As much as I'd like to see the farm rented, it would have to be to people who can afford to keep the place up.

Dad is doing as well as can be expected. Dementia is a bitch, strokes make it worse.

The books are selling better now that I've switched from Smashwords to Draft 2 Digital. It's amazing the difference in just changing vendors.

I've got more mowing to do here at Jordan's Croft. The bush-hog is running VERY well.

Time to get back to it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I'm going to set aside the hurt and the shame to post this. My husband and I recently helped out a 'former soldier' and I'm going to post the results here.


Took me 6 weeks to get my truck back. Without this truck, I can't get hay and my horses starve. 

"Custom Painting" looks like a 2-year-old did it.

"I worked all night, but I got it done." Sure you did.



Red ceiling, yellow walls, green trim?

"Just need to touch up a couple spots."

For this, I was charged top dollar. Right now, I'm going let remain anonymous. He's got quite a bit of my property in his possession. But once that's gone...

Before Jeff French 'painted' the room.

After Jeff French 'painted' the room.
That's right, not only was his work sub-standard, but he helped himself to the contents of the barn, using my own truck to remove the contents.

This man professes to be a member of the Army Special Forces. He claims to be a medic with more than 30 years of service. He's also raising money for "charity" in Vine Grove, Kentucky -- a charity with a single beneficiary: himself.

This "charity" is based out of Arizona, and until this week there was quite a bit on Google about it. However, I'm not able to find it so I can't link to it. I suspect his cohorts have taken the sites down.

This charity scam is pretty convoluted. It involves a storefront, a thrift store (that I was supposed to run, giving him 40% of the proceeds for his 'charity.') An apartment over the storefront (I presume it's filled with my mother's possessions.) A derelict building two-doors down that he "purchased with cash" (the cash raised by selling my mother's possessions?) And an "Oxford House" transitional housing facility that he's going to buy a block up the street from the storefront where he's currently squatting.

He's threatened my husband and myself if we speak out against him. He's broken out a window in my truck, and thrown a metal chair at me.

This is all I can do to warn people about his scams. Perhaps it will be enough.

Jeff French Custom Painting

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Hoard - An Ongoing Project

Oh man, I wish there was a faster way to get rid of #TheHoard.

The majority of it is mid-way between "too useful to pitch" and "too valuable to pitch" so I'm putting a buck on the average item and stocking the booth with it.

I know, I could have an auction.

That's what normal people do.

But I don't know what's there, so I can't just let it all go. There are a few valuable items, somewhere in that mess. I wouldn't get anything for them at an auction.

Three months, I'm going to do this for 3 months. I should be able to dispose of hundreds of items in 3 months. Some of the stuff I'm offering for sale is mine. That's what's selling the fastest.

But I keep bringing in a load of stuff a week. Cleaning it up at the house and pricing it. And it's selling.

I'm taking another load to the booth today. Tomorrow I'm going to get another load from Talbot Hill. We finally put a dent in #TheHoard. I'm seeing progress as I go back to the farm and walk into the barn.


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Announcing: Book Stop Central

Got A Newsletter?

No? Join Our Newsletter Co-op

As writers, we're told that we need a mailing list with at least 1000 fans in order to be successful. Then we're told we need to send that newsletter out monthly or even (gasp!) weekly.

But most of us are woefully short of time and short of the magic number of fans for our list.

HOWEVER -- if enough authors band together and pool our precious mailing lists, we CAN produce a monthly newsletter than can be sent to enough people to make a difference for all of us.

THEREFORE - We at Icy Road Publishing are inviting you to join our co-op list. 
HOW IT WORKS
Your book(s) will be added to our newsletter "Book Stop Central' for 3 months.

Each ad will require
  • $10 set up fee per book
  • your email addresses
  • a copy of the book's cover in JPEG format
  • the blurb for the book 
  • the vendor website links you want included in your ad
The $10 will cover the creation of the ad, adding the cover, text and links you send us. If your book is available as a paperback, provide us with that link, or the website of the books store where the book is available.

At the end of 3 months, you have the option of leaving our list, or you can sign up for 3 more months.

WHAT'S THE CATCH?
 
You will be required to add 10 emails to our list each quarter. You're welcome to keep copies of the addresses you collect. The success of this venture will depend on the number of email addresses we get. We need the addresses of readers, people who will want to buy our books. Random addresses are not going to give us the same results.

We ask each author contribute email addresses from your readers. Most of us don't collect email addresses because we don't have a newsletter. Remember, this is your newsletter, to your fans, let them know about it.


Feel free to forward this message to anyone who would be interested in joining us as a reader or a writer. 

GOT A RELEASE COMING?
If you would like us to send out a special Newsletter, we can do that if you send us the information, cover art and links. The price will reflect the time required to produce your press release: starting at $10.

If you provide services to authors, or run a bookstore, you can join us as well. We'll be sending out a quarterly newsletter to authors and will advertise your services.

READERS: To join our newsletter, just fill out the form to the left of this page.

WRITERS: If you want to join the newsletter co-op contact us at:
IcyRoadPublishing@gmail.com


Saturday, July 4, 2015

#The Hoard & the Hoarding Gene

I finally rented space in a consignment mall to help get rid of #TheHoard. A month of very busy yard sales didn't make a dent in it.

It took three of us to get the shelves and a load of stuff moved. I thought I was doing great, until the price tags went on and I had to take my hands off the items. 

Holy Hoarders Captain Marvel!

I cringe a bit every time I get a sales report. I've got to get a grip on this before I end up on AMC's TV show. This is NOT what I expected to feel.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Tale of Two Subscriptions - Kindle Unlimited and Scribd

There's been a pretty big shake up at Scribd. They've cut an estimated 90% of their best-selling Romance titles, according to this post on the Smashwords blog.
Mark of Smashwords had this to say: "It's ugly. The problem for Scribd is that romance readers are heavy readers, and Scribd pays publishers retailer-level margins for the books."
There's been a good bit of screaming going on, none of it screams of pleasure. (Sorry, couldn't help it.) Here's Selena Kitt's take on the subject:
"Look, if we don’t stop this ride now, we may never be able to get off. And this particular ride ends at welfare-ville. So let’s not go there. There are plenty of erotica authors who have made a nice living from writing. And we are satisfying a very voracious readership. Why shouldn’t they have books they want to read, too? And why shouldn’t we get paid for them?"
Selena points out that the Erotic Romance genre has taking a hell of a hit in the wallet.

What has just rung a big bell for me is this: the average Erotic Romance author is female. Their readers are also female. This means there are hundreds of women (readers and writers) who've just been cut off at the knees. And having been sliced and diced from two different directions in the same week, these women are truly reeling.

I could, but that's not what I think it really is. Both programs are suffering from too much success. Women are reading the erotic shorts as fast as the writers can churn them out. There's money changing hands at a faster rate than either Kindle or Scribd can handle.

In all honesty, I think erotica is going to go full circle, back to sites exclusive to the genre. We're gonna see a new book vendor, or two, or three pop up and the erotica writers are going to thumb their noses at Amazon and Scribd. Their going to take their lucrative business elsewhere, and both Amazon and Scribd are going to notice.

Both of them might heave sighs of relief. (rolling eyes)

I know that Smashwords and Mark Coker are ready, willing and able to pick up the slack. The site will handle the traffic. It will need a nicer interface. Readers need to know the site exists and will cater to their reading habits.
Fortunately, none of this has any impact on my e-books.

My e-books are still up on Scribd, and haven't been in Select in two years, or Unlimited ever. Three of Mom's short stories are in both programs on Amazon. 'The Secret of Aleworthy Acres' is free today and tomorrow on Select. 'Character Flaw' was supposed to come out, not sure how I missed that. 'Shelter from the Storm' was free two weeks ago. It had a pathetic free run of 12 downloads in two days.

'The Secret of Aleworthy Acres' had 11 d/ls already today. So it's doing a bit better than the other two.

I'm not sure where I'm going to release the next short story. I've put a lot of time and effort into it. It's a sweet, senior romance, and I've been toying with the idea of putting it up on Smashwords as a pre-order.

Ninety days is too long when my main markets are somewhere else.

PS - Please buy my Mom's e-books. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Scribd Shoots Off Own Foot?

This just came off the Smashwords blog:
Scribd, the fast-growing ebook subscription service, today announced dramatic cuts to their catalog of romance and erotica titles.

Effective immediately, I (Mark Coker) estimate 80-90 percent of Smashwords romance and erotica titles will be dropped by Scribd, including nearly all of our most popular romance titles.  Books priced at free are safe and will remain in their catalog.

Based on what I've been able to glean, the lower the price and the higher the word count, the better the odds the book will remain.  Few books priced $3.99 and above will remain.  Scribd is not publicly revealing the formulas for what stays and what goes, probably because much of this is still in flux. They're cutting all publishers and distributors with the same blunt knife.

It's ugly.  The problem for Scribd is that romance readers are heavy readers, and Scribd pays publishers retailer-level margins for the books.  In a letter to publishers and distributors delivered earlier today, Scribd said:
Dear Publisher

As you know, in starting Scribd, we bore the majority of the risk when establishing a business model that paid publishers the same amount as the retail model for each book read by a Scribd subscriber. Now, nearly two years later, the Scribd catalog has grown from 100,000 titles to more than one million. We’re proud of the service we’ve built and we’re constantly working to expand the selection across genres to give our readers the broadest possible list of books for $8.99 per month.

We’ve grown to a point where we are beginning to adjust the proportion of titles across genres to ensure that we can continue to expand the overall size and variety of our service. We will be making some adjustments, particularly to romance, and as a result some previously available titles may no longer be available.

We look forward to continuing to grow subscribers, increase overall reading, and increase total publisher payouts in a way that works for everyone over the long term. We of course want to keep as many of your authors and titles on Scribd as we can, so we’d love to discuss our plans and how we can best work with you going forward.

Thank you for your business.

Bottom line, romance readers - readers we love dearly at Smashwords - are reading Scribd out of house and home.  Scribd's business model, as it's set up now, simply can't sustain the high readership of romance readers.  They're not facing the same problem with readers of other genres.
WoW! Read the rest HERE

Never thought I would see this.

Okay, I admit I've never been a fan of Erotica. I've slammed them as pornographers and rolled my eyes when Erotic authors brag about their earnings.

I've already noted that B&N weighs the rank of Smashwords titles by about 100k points. They've done that for years now.

But I never, ever thought I was going to see this.

I don't know if Swallow The Moon and Let's Do Lunch will be affected. Both are short and under $3.99. Neither of them is going to Scribd via Smashwords. (*Which doesn't matter, D2D sent out a similar notice. The difference is they aren't looking at 90% of their catalog.)

I'm going to test the links. Yes, the books are still up.

Perhaps I will get a few more sales because of this. But I'm not going to hold my breath. This is a very, very strange thing to watch happen.

****

There have been rumors that the purge is aimed at the content, but I've also been told that Erotica has never been part of the subscription service. So I raise an eyebrow at Mark's assertion that the Erotica titles are going too.

Perhaps we will never know why this is happening.