Random Comments and Thoughts 20220428

The whole Twitter meltdown maybe for nothing this past week was interesting to watch. Everyone saying, “where are you going?” in hopes of not losing the connections they’d made on a third-party site. And the site I saw mentioned the most not even being one I’d heard of before.

I am a Luddite with my blog here and pretty much nothing else. I know that social media sells books because I’ve bought books from authors I saw on social media, but a lot of it seems like so much time and energy spent for not much result.

And I’ve also probably sworn off buying from as many authors because of social media so it ultimately comes to down to how likeable you are. Me, not so much, so I focus elsewhere.

I’m pretty sure I redid something like thirty covers this month. I got stuck on some of my writing projects and it always feels productive to redo covers even if it has no actual impact on my bottom line.

I do think the covers I redid were better. (I just redid the Office 2019 ones and like this new style much better, for example.) But I’m not sure they were so much better that it was worth the effort.

This is why I like to do most of my own covers, though. Because at least when I get the urge to rebrand it’s a fun design exercise for me and only costs time not lots of money.

I also saw that you can now do auto-narrated audiobooks on Google, but I’m thinking that’s a no for me.

I might have tried it with some of my older non-fiction if I didn’t already have that in audio, but overall I don’t think auto-generated anything can give the right inflection that fiction requires.

Plus, it wasn’t clear how much you could fix the pronunciation. I have Word read my cozies to me as a final check and the way it pronounces “grimaced” has made me almost stop using that word. (Almost. I really like to have characters grimace.)

I think sometimes with this business it’s a matter of knowing where not to spend your time as much as anything. (I paid for that PublishDrive AppSumo deal last year and did load some of my books there but I’d already covered the major stores so it was obscure stores only and…crickets. Should’ve probably passed on it, but FOMO.)

In non-writing things…

I think I’m going to move again, which is annoying and disruptive.

I have nine bookcases at the moment because I swapped out some shorter ones for six-footers. Packing and moving that many books is always a lot of effort.

But it turns out that even though I wasn’t here for the worst of the fire I get a little twitchy on windy days now.

We had some absurd extremely high fire danger day last week and instead of working I spent the day refreshing Twitter to see if a fire had started anywhere nearby in case we needed to evacuate since last time I wouldn’t have received a notice. (Climate change is real folks.)

Even knowing the difference now between “gee the sky looks grayish, I wonder if there’s a fire somewhere” and “something is definitely on fire nearby” doesn’t make me rest easy.

I should take comfort from the fact that so much burned here that it’s unlikely it’ll happen again. But the crazy thing about walking around this area is seeing how much didn’t burn. A thousand homes were lost but if you look at where the fire was and what could’ve burned it’s a miracle we didn’t lose twice as many homes. Fences and drainage areas between homes burned but the homes on either side were untouched.

It’s crazy to think about.

Of course every time I decide to move it’s this whole weighing of competing priorities and choices.

My family is here so I want to stay here for now. But that’s an expensive choice compared to moving to Smalltown, Wherever. I could go buy a cute little house with a cute little yard and ignore my neighbors but have the perfect home for me and my dog right now.

But then I’d feel bad about not being here for my 93-year-old grandma and my won’t-get-vaccinated-but-is-high-risk mom.

So trade-offs have to be made.

Of course, that means multiple conversations with my mom where she says things like, “Oh, so that new place you’re looking at doesn’t have a dog park?” and leaves the disapproving silence to speak for itself. Her belief that my dog needed a yard even though we’d only ever lived in apartments at that point is how I ended up buying a house eight years ago.

But I am not worrying about that this time around. My dog literally sleeps 22 hours of every day and sometimes refuses to leave the apartment more than twice in a day. I think she’ll be fine without the dog park.

Also, after two-plus years one of my inner circle finally caught COVID. I was one of those people who had somehow managed to have all of my immediate family and close friends not get it. (Helps when one of my best friends lives in New Zealand.)

Even the ones that were taking more risks than I’d be comfortable with somehow had stayed safe until now.

But that’s the thing. It’s a chance each time you’re out there, right? And for this person one of those chances went against them. They’re triple-vaxxed so hopefully okay, but they said they feel the worst they ever have in their life right now. And they have some risk factors, so here’s hoping it’s just a few unpleasant days.

It is a reminder, though, that the basic facts of what we’re facing haven’t changed. (If anything they’ve gotten worse over the last two years in terms of transmissibility.) But each time we take a risk and come out okay we mentally adjust our risk calculations to think we’re actually safer than we are because that thing didn’t happen to us.

In skydiving that’s why so many injuries happen to mid-level experienced skydivers.

You start out and you’re nervous because you’re jumping out of a frickin’ plane but you don’t really know what you’re risking.

And then you learn just how dangerous it can actually be and it’s like, “oh god, that idiot that was lighting his breath on fire last night could take me out and there’s nothing I could do about it” or “wait, you mean, I could actually survive a bad jump and be permanently injured instead? Ugh.”

But if you get past that stage then it’s like, “I’m a sky god who obviously isn’t facing the same odds as everyone else because I have safely jumped out of a plane 500 times now and see me swoop?”

Yes, right into the frickin’ ground because you thought the same rules don’t apply to you, dude. But they do.

It’s fascinating how mindset impacts risk. I’m sure there’s lots of research on it out there if only I went looking for it. But right now I’m reading up on chaos theory. From a book that was originally published like 40 years ago…

Too much information out there. Not enough time to absorb it all. Too bad we don’t get like 100 tries at this life just to see the possible outcomes, you know? Like playing through a video game with branching story lines more than once.

Ah well. We only get the one go. And my dog is due to be fed in this one, so…

Random Comments and Thoughts 20220419

First, on a non-writing front:

Just because you want something to be one way doesn’t mean it will be. This is true of so much in life. You can’t make that person love you. You can’t force that other person to treat you a certain way. You can’t make yourself be other than who you are wired to be.

And, in this case, you can’t just wish a virus away. COVID is not over. It’s maybe in a dip right now in some parts of the world, but we are way too interconnected these days for that to be something you can rely upon when making decisions about a life-altering illness.

So many people seem to have missed that the mitigations we put in place were protecting them from far worse outcomes. They see that X didn’t happen and they assume that’s because people were wrong about the possibility of X instead of realizing that A, B, C, and D are what kept X from happening.

I expect we have some “fun” times ahead as people throw out A, B, C, and D.

Also remember that the government is always going to be behind the ball in telling you when to protect yourself and will also probably act too soon in telling you it’s all clear.

(I saw that with the fire we had here in December. I decided to evacuate at about 12:30 because things just didn’t seem right. The evacuation order didn’t come through until 1. And chances are things were on fire right near me at noon.)

Anyway. Be careful out there. As the child of someone who had a long-term life-altering illness that eventually killed them forty years later, I assure you that death is not the only bad outcome to worry about.


One of the things I loved about CliftonStrengths was that it highlighted where your “superpowers” are. Those attributes that make you unique and capable of amazing accomplishments.

Lean into your Strengths and you can do things you’d never imagined were possible.

But one of the reasons I drifted away from the official coaching group on Facebook and general discussions around Strengths in other forums was because people seem to have this relentless need to diagnose what is wrong with them and others.

So instead of saying “This part of this Strength is what makes me shine” or “This is what makes you powerful,” they say, “This part of this Strength is what limits me and needs to be fixed” or “You are flawed because of this.”

Today it happened to be a post about Maximizer and depression and perfectionism. But I’ve seen it so many times in so many settings.

(For me personally, Maximizer, which is in my top ten, manifests as “this is a waste of my time, next”. My Maximizer lets me know when to quit. It doesn’t insist that I do everything to the max. I suspect that the quote I saw shared wasn’t even using maximizing in a Strengths context, but when you go looking for flaws, you find them.)

Here’s the deal.

No one is perfect. And, yes, that thing you have that no one else has is what can feel alienating or frustrating or challenging.

It is not easy to have some Strengths high. I saw that with coaching. For example, writers who were high in Empathy and high in Significance both struggled with it. For very different reasons.

But when they leaned into those Strengths and accepted them as Strengths, they were empowered by them.

You want to be center stage and that fact drives you to improve and keep trying and produce more than most people can? Great. Lean into that and you will make it to center stage.

You honestly, truly feel others emotions as if they’re your own and that leads you to writing incredibly powerful character moments that have readers screaming for more? Awesome. Do it. Go there. Embrace that emotional depth. It will build you a loyal audience that keeps coming back for more.

You need to lean into what sets you apart, not try to tone it down or fix it to please others.

And, yes, there can be negative sides to every Strength. My #1 Strategic has made me less than accommodating at times. But the answer is not to suppress the Strength. Or to hate it.

If you hate one of your top three Strengths, that’s a problem that likely needs mental health counseling.

(And I don’t say that to be flippant. I say that because if you hate what makes you special and unique and capable of great things, that’s something that needs work. And it’s not something a Strengths coach is trained to deal with.)

So. My advice:

Accept that you have flaws, but still embrace what makes you capable of success, and don’t give that up just because it sets you apart in some way.

Should You Update?

This is a question that comes up on a regular basis in writer forums. You published a book four years ago and now you’re looking at it and wondering if you should update it with what you know now.

There are four general categories of updates that I can think of.


The first is the actual content of the book. The words on the page. This is the one that comes up probably the most.

A lot of times someone’s first book is not their best book, right? Maybe they didn’t have it edited and that really shows. Or maybe they’ve learned more about story structure and they can now see flaws in that book that they didn’t notice when they initially published. And with non-fiction the material can become outdated.

This one is the most complicated to decide on. I rewrote my first novel after I’d written a million words of other material. I’ve also rewritten one of my short story series and I’ve done second editions or new versions of some of my non-fiction. I also had a second in series book where I did a light editing pass to remove filter words like “she heard” that had snuck in there when I could’ve just said, “the shriek of the banshee filled the air.”

(An example. I have never written a story involving a banshee.)

Based on that experience…

If an early title is a standalone title and you think it is just not that good and are embarrassed to have others read it, unpublish it.

If you can do a light edit, like the one I did where I removed filter words as I was reading book two in preparation for writing book three, go for it. That’s probably just the time it takes to read the book and input the edits.

If you have based your entire writing career so far on a book with a lot of issues and there’s a whole series that comes after that, you probably should rewrite it. But. It will probably take just as long to do so as it would to write a brand new novel. And it’s probably not going to sit well with book two. Your best bet may be to unpublish the entire series and just start new with a brand new series, but chances are you won’t be willing to do that.

If the material for non-fiction has become outdated then it’s down to sales. Because it will likely take you just as long to write the updated book as it did to write the original. For my AMS books it actually took almost twice as long to write the revised edition as it took to write the original and it was also about 30% longer.

So for non-fiction I either update (because I don’t want a book out there with bad information and the book sells well enough to justify it) or I unpublish because I know updating that book will take as long as writing a new one on some other topic and I’d rather do that.

Editing an existing title is usually time intensive and often for fiction the flaws that need fixed are not something that can be fixed at the sentence or paragraph level.

If a fiction title sells well, no matter how much you hate it now, don’t touch it. You may well lose the magic that makes it sell because you wrote something in a raw state and now you think you’ve learned the rules and edits may just take what’s special away. Cash your checks, read your fan mail, and never look at that book again.

Blurbs, Ad Copy, and Categories

The second category of updates is your metadata. That’s your book description, your one-liner tagline, your book categories, your subtitle. All of the things that you have to include when you list a book for sale.

These I say change as often as you want. Experiment. Often times authors don’t know what they’ve written. I’ve even seen people mistake fiction for non-fiction. And if you learn that your book is not a book about X non-fiction topic but is instead a novel that involves that topic as a theme, you should definitely update your targeting and descriptions to reflect that.

My YA fantasy I targeted early on as a romantic fantasy. Readers did not agree, and I would’ve been a fool to keep targeting readers who wanted romantic fantasy when what I’d written was an adventure fantasy with romantic elements.

Your blurb, ad copy, and categories should all work together to target the correct group of readers. Which means they all need updated when you decide to change the audience you’re trying to reach.

That leads to the next category of updates.


I firmly believe in updating your covers. There are absolutely trends in covers and you don’t want to be left behind and look stale with an old cover design. Also, your eye improves over time. You have a better feel for what sells or what doesn’t if you’re watching your competition over the years.

And sometimes a new cover brings in new readers who didn’t really jive with your old cover but do with the new one.

But…I have also wasted money and time on cover updates. And if you’re buying nice covers that can add up.

Here are my two YA fantasy covers for my first in series:

I had the first image, the girl on the horse from 2015 to 2020. And then I had the second image with the moonstone necklace from 2020 to last month.

I do think going with the new cover refreshed the series, but I ended up switching the covers back to the original cover during a promo in March because I thought the first cover better conveyed adventure fantasy with a female protagonist.

The second cover would’ve worked beautifully if I were a known author. And it did sell, but I think people had to search for more information with the second cover. I can tell fantasy from it, but not YA, female protagonist, horse, etc.

Ideally I would’ve actually moved to a third set of covers for this one, but they’re expensive and they eat up all my profits for a while each time I switch them out so I just went back to the originals for the ebook. And these covers are beyond my ability to create myself, even the one on the right that seems simpler but is not.


That leads us to the last category of changes, which is the title. For fiction, unless the book just has not sold at all, I’d personally leave the title alone. Because you never know when someone will try to talk about your book to a new reader and tell them the title and then they can’t find it so they can’t buy it.

With my YA fantasy series someone published a very popular biker romance book using the exact same title two years or so after I published my book. But it just didn’t make sense at that point to switch things out even though that other author’s title is always the top search result for my title now. Sometimes it is what it is.

For non-fiction I have definitely changed up titles and been pleased to do so. Writing for Beginners and Budgeting for Beginners both started out with much more complicated titles that didn’t connect with readers and sold better after their title change.

Just recently I changed another one. I had a title, Data Principles for Beginners, and it had sold some copies–more than I realized–but not many.

I still believed in the content but I decided that the title didn’t convey what the book covered. So I went for a more wordy and direct title.

It’s too early to see if it will help, but now that book is How to Gather and Use Data for Business Analysis. I also changed the cover. Better, I think, yeah?

The issue with changes to your title is that Amazon now requires that you publish the book as a new title. It used to be that you could change an ebook and not have to republish, but now they want both ebook and print to be republished as new titles.

So you start over when you do that. And risk confusing readers who had bought the prior title and didn’t know there was a title change and buy it again because of the new ASIN/ISBN.

It’s not something I’d recommend for a best-selling series. But for one that never quite caught on, it can make all the difference.

In summary, I think there are times when making any of the above changes can really move the needle. And since often writing the title is the biggest time commitment a simple blurb or cover tweak can be a way to earn a lot more money out of something you already created.

It is never too late to save something that didn’t sell well originally. That’s why advertising can be a boon, too.

Assuming, of course, that the project wasn’t just fatally flawed, which can be the case. Sometimes there is no real audience for something and no amount of changing things up will fix that. Or the audience range is 50-100 people and you’re trying to change things up to get to an audience of 1000 that doesn’t exist.

So you have to weigh changes like this against spending that time on creating something new using everything you’ve learned.

I tend to alternate between creating something new and then stopping and consolidating and making changes to my old material and then creating more new material, but it will really come down to personality what makes the most sense for you.

In general, I’d say make easy fixes and skip the big ones. If it’s six weeks of re-writes? Write something new instead.

Oh, and just because I hadn’t shared them yet, here are the other new covers I did last week. All of the books were already available except for Sell That Book which used to be Achieve Writing Success.

If nothing else I was able to learn some new tricks for image manipulation. It’s all about the incremental improvement.

Do They Just Want the World to Burn?

Friday I submitted my courses to Udemy. Saturday I saw a sale on each of the three courses that had been approved. And I thought, “Oh, hey, that’s nice, someone needed that content and already found it. Cool. Surprised they did all three, but maybe they wanted to lock in that sale price. Nice.”

Today I woke up to no sales showing on those courses.

And I thought, “Hm. What are the odds that someone signed up for three brand new courses and then asked for a refund on all three within 24 hours?”

So I Googled. And, sure enough, someone had stolen the content and posted it on their own site, blatantly labeled as having come from Udemy.

Now, personally, I don’t think stealing any content is okay. Someone worked hard on that product and they deserve the right to be paid for that work and someone who takes their content is, in my opinion, a complete asshole. And thief.

But setting aside that part of things…

Why? Why steal from someone who hasn’t even sold a copy yet.

The course could be awful. It could be worthless nonsense. If you’re going to steal things and you’re that type of person, why wouldn’t you, I don’t know, steal the popular courses? Where your blatant theft wouldn’t be so obvious?

I mean, pretty easy to tell who the student was who signed up for the course, took the content, and then asked for a frickin’ refund because they couldn’t even bother to pay $10 for the content they didn’t create that they posted to their site when there’s only one student.

So what’s the point? This site/person/whoever just steals everything off Udemy?

It’s like the dudes who’ve pirated my romance audiobook and put it up on Youtube. Why? No one has listened to it. You’ve made nothing. So you’re just a random thief from little creators for…kicks?

Weirdly enough, I think about ethics and honesty and how we treat one another a lot. Maybe it’s because of my regulatory background. Maybe it’s because I have too much free time. Maybe it’s because I come across those people who think it’s good to cheat more than I should and I try to figure out what makes them tick and how to argue them into being better people.

Altruism is not gonna cut it with those types. They don’t care about being nice or fair.

Because on the surface if you don’t believe in some punishment at the end of the years we get to live, it seems like the best life strategy is to take what you can and damn everyone, right?

Just cheat left, right, and center and hope you don’t get caught. Or at least not punished. Because that strategy will let you personally get the most out of your life. With that mindset morality is just a social construct that’s someone else’s attempt to hold you back from getting what you could.

I can see how that’s a shiny argument to some people.

But the reason that’s not the path I choose to take and not the path I think is the optimal one is because it results in a really shitty world. If everyone chooses that path, you get a really horrible place to live.

Why create anything of value or beauty if it’s just going to be taken or destroyed by someone else?

Why engage in acts of kindness if people are just going to exploit that kindness by lying or taking what they don’t need?

(It’s why I don’t trust Go Fund Me postings. If I was at the vet and someone was crying in the corner because their dog needed surgery and they couldn’t afford it, I’d help. But some sad story posted on the internet by a stranger that I’m supposed to trust because it sounds sad? Nope. Too many liars and cheats in this world.)

Every time someone cheats or steals or lies like that our overall world gets a little worse. It contracts a little more. We take a step towards a worse world because one more person gives a little less than they could.

The cheaters need the rest of us to be honest and trusting and hard-working or the whole system collapses. But with each theft and lie they take us all one step closer to that collapse.

I hate it. And I wish I had some super power where I could just push each one that revealed themselves into an alternate reality where they could fight over a trash heap with others like themselves.

Instead I get to watch someone steal something I worked hard on and my only available response is to send takedown notices and hope someone cares enough to do something about it. Good times.

Affinity Publisher Courses on Udemy

It looks like one person has already discovered this, but the Affinity Publisher courses are now available on Udemy. That means sometimes the better deal will be there when the courses are part of a promotion and sometimes the better deal will be on Teachable if you use the discount code MLH50.

They’re each about two hours long and mostly project-based except for the non-fiction one.

With the release of these courses to Udemy that means for each of the below topics you have an ebook, black and white print, color print, or video option to choose from. Description and links below each image.

Enjoy if that’s something that interests you:

Learn how to create a basic fiction layout from start to finish in Affinity Publisher.

Video Course:
Teachable, Udemy
Ebook: Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Nook, Universal Link
Print Black and White: ISBN 9781637440216
Print Color: ISBN 9781637440681
Learn more advanced fiction topics like tables of contents and merging multiple documents as well as non-fiction-specific topics like indexes, inserting images into your text, and having multiple columns in a text frame.

Video Course: Teachable, Udemy
Ebook: Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Nook, Universal Link
Print Black and White: ISBN 9781637440223
Print Color: ISBN 9781637440711
A project-based course that walks you through how to create two Facebook square ads, one Bookbub ad, a banner that can be used for Amazon A+ Content or a website, and how to prepare a book cover for use in an Amazon A+ Content comparison chart.

Video Course: Teachable, Udemy
Ebook: Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Nook, Universal Link
Print Black and White: ISBN 9781637440285
Print Color: ISBN ISBN 9781637440698
A project-based course that walks you through how to create three different basic cover designs, one with a central image (the bulldog example above), one that is text-heavy with a side image, and three variations on having an image for the entire cover (the two other examples above). Also walks through how to take an ebook image and turn it into an Amazon KDP and IngramSpark paperback as well as an IngramSpark case laminate hard cover.

Video Course: Teachable, Udemy
Ebook: Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Nook, Universal Link
Print Black and White: ISBN 9781637440292
Print Color: ISBN 9781637440704
Only available on Teachable. A video reference library related to Affinity Publisher for Fiction Layouts and Affinity Publisher for Non-Fiction. Includes short (usually under a minute) videos of one particular task or skill, such as enabling snapping. Meant to be a refresher how-to guide for those who already know how to use those skills.

Video Course: Teachable

An Interesting Development to Watch

I stumbled across this post on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AndrewMayne/status/1511827454536474626

Or maybe it was another one, but ultimately it led me to discussion about an AI tool that’s in development called DALL-E 2 which basically can take a text-based description and create an image from it.

For example, that link above is for an image that was generated based on “a raccoon astronaut with the cosmos reflecting on the glass of his helmet dreaming of the stars” and it absolutely nailed it.

I just backtracked and what led me down that rabbithole was a post on Chuck Wendig’s page where someone had asked for an image of “a rabbit detective sitting on a park bench and reading a newspaper in a victorian setting” and that one is amazing, too.

The context in which that was shared was talking about the implications for designers or illustrators. If someone can generate an image like that in a minute, where does that leave designers?

But for me as a self-published author who prefers to do my own covers the majority of the time, I see the possibility of having illustrated fantasy covers at a lower price point, which would be fantastic.

Imagine being able to pay for a software that lets you say “dragon in the sky breathing fire with mountains” and you have that in a minute instead of six weeks where you’re trying to track down the designer who flaked on you.

I’m sure there will be limitations. Some of the examples I saw from a similar tool that was making the rounds a while back were amazing but most were not.

And I have no idea what they’ll charge for the tool or if there will be limits on commercial use. But if you’re trying to keep an eye out for future industry developments, I’d say this is one to watch.

IngramSpark Code Update

Okay. Got clarification about IngramSpark code usage via the IBPA.

Per IBPA the actual policy is: “no more than five (5) uses p/month, with an annual maximum of 50 uses per IngramSpark account based on the anniversary date. The five uses include a combination of uses for both title set-ups and revisions.”

I interpret that as 50 code uses no matter the source. So not 50 IBPA, 50 ALLi, 50 NiNC, but just 50 total.

I’m SOL for a while because I didn’t have that language before.

I was a member of both IBPA and ALLi to have code access and was using my five codes from each every month and thought that was allowed. This new language makes it clear that IngramSpark had another restriction in the background.

So. If you are going to use IngramSpark for your books plan on only having 50 updates or revisions per year. That means, for example, that you do not want to keep your also by updated for each new release for a long series in multiple formats like I was doing. (30 code uses right there for my latest release.)

I mean, granted, you could still pay $25 to do so, but at that point I think the value of having up-to-date also by content is outweighed by the cost.

Had I known about the full policy I would’ve, for example, only updated the also by section of my first book when I published the last one. And maybe not even that, because that’s still six code uses across formats for each release.

Anyway. Not something that will impact many, but definitely something that impacted me so passing it along.

You Never Know

One of the authors I “follow” on Twitter (I say follow because I refuse to have an account there so just go to a select handful of author pages and read their latest Tweets) is Seanan McGuire.

Last week she was pushing a self-published title that was in KU called Legends & Lattes that she’d come across and really loved. And thanks to word of mouth and enthusiasm it got pretty high in the Amazon store.

Well, today she shared this link about how Tor UK just acquired the book and will be publishing it in December.

I don’t know if any of that was in the works before last week, but it highlights how finding that one enthusiastic reader can change everything for an author.

Another self-published author I know (Victoria Goddard) saw a significant jump in sales when author Alexandra Rowland started reading her books and tweeting about how much they loved them. Rowland even wrote a post about it for the Tor blog.

You just never know when you’ll connect with that right reader in that right way and things will take off.

Interestingly, yesterday I re-read a book I’d written a few years back that I’d then unpublished because no one really bought it and I figured maybe I’d written it too soon for anyone to take seriously.

I’d decided I’d re-release it because I was having fun doing new covers and that let me do one more for that series.

The book (now titled Sell That Book, formerly called Achieve Writing Success) was for those who’d written a novel or maybe two novels and now wanted to make money from their writing.

What’s ironic, funny, interesting is that there is a chapter in there that touches in a way on this very thing.

The chapter before that talks about how if trade publishing is your dream then self-publishing should not be the “well, I guess I failed at trade pub, let me self-pub” alternative. Because self-pub requires mastering five times as many skills as trade pub.

But the chapter this made me think about is the chapter after that which basically talks about “why let someone else keep you from your dream?” If trade pub is saying no to what you want to write, why not take a chance on yourself and self-publish it?

I am a firm advocate for making your own path if others aren’t going to make it for you. So if you have this thing you’re passionate about creating, then create it. Get it out there into the world.

Maybe (and probably likely) nothing comes of it. Hundreds or thousands of new books are published daily that don’t sell.

But at least you’ll have tried. You’ll have created something that no one but you could put out into the world.

And, you never know. Maybe that thing you created succeeds…

(Don’t do it with the expectation that will happen, because, yeah, no, sorry, not likely. But don’t let someone else’s no stop you from what you feel in your gut either.)

Anyway. Nice to see those little moments of good fortune in the world. And if you love a book, let others know. You never know what magic you might create for that author.

More IngramSpark Shenanigans

This probably won’t impact many authors, but it sure does impact me. I went to use my IngramSpark codes today for IBPA and ALLi and neither one worked because it turns out that on top of the monthly limit IngramSpark has put on code usage they also decided to put an annual limit.

ALLi’s language now reflects that (although I swear it did not before or else I would’ve approached things differently), but IBPA’s does not yet.

So, whatever option you do, know that you have 50 updates across all codes it looks like for a year regardless of that 5 codes a month thing.

(I’d been maxing my code uses out per month because might as well get the value out of them, so yeah, now I’m kinda screwed for who knows how long on more updates, because I can guarantee you the one thing I will not be doing is paying $25 to update an also by listing or fix a one-off typo. Same with new covers. I guess that’s what they want, less updates. So be it.)

27 Years

27 years ago today my dad passed away. And to this day he is still the single-most important influence on my life.

I think the people who are there for us during our formative years have some sort of special power in our lives that no one else can touch.

Who we are raised to be as children influences everything that comes after. My life has taken some very interesting turns over the years, but that core sense of self was set when I was a kid.

And I think in a large part my values as well. I can be influenced by my environment sometimes, but there is a range in which I exist that I think is fixed and that range came from my dad who no matter how hard life was remained kind and honest.

He had this quiet confidence in his kids that I can’t adequately describe. And an acceptance, too. We were great just as we were and he loved us completely without reservation.

He didn’t sit around giving us rah-rah, you can do it speeches, he just…believed in us.

He was an example to me, too, of how you can keep going and somehow make it all work no matter how bad it gets.

He grew up under a basic death sentence, because at the time there was no state-provided medical care for dialysis patients so he knew when he lost his kidneys he’d die because he couldn’t afford the treatment.

But then the law changed and he was able to keep going. A life expectancy of twenty-some years turned into 45.

That doesn’t mean it was easy. There was never a point in my childhood where we knew what the next year would bring. My dad had two failed transplants,two spinal fusions, lost part of a lung, had pericarditis, and all sorts of other medical surprises on top of business and other life upsets.

But he always landed on his feet. And did it with grace and compassion and love. I don’t think I ever heard him complain about how life wasn’t fair, it just was what it was and that’s what he had to deal with.

So many people focus on being famous or having the most money. Acquiring the best things. Winning.

But I have to tell you, we’d live in a helluva lot better world if more people were like my dad and focused instead on loving and caring for the people in their immediate life.

I was absolutely blessed to have him for a dad and am grateful every day for the years I did have with him. And I hope by the time my life is over I will have done a tenth as much as he did to make the world a better place.