Up, Down, And Spun Around

Feels like it, anyway.

So here we are, a few days away from the final two months of 2020. January 1 of this year feels like a lifetime ago. January 1, 2021 feels like a hundred years from now.

Keep on truckin’. Showing my age, there.

Nervous about the election? Me too. For the first time, I didn’t go to my polling place. I voted early. And dropped my vote into the ballot box. No shade on the Postal Service, but what with that asshole jacking around with mail boxes and such, I wasn’t taking any chances. I haven’t heard about any shenanigans around my way. Just because I haven’t heard doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, though. That Barrett woman has been confirmed to the Supreme Court. Like there was any doubt. It’s the height of hypocrisy. Four years ago, it’s “oh, we can’t confirm a new Justice before the election!” This time, it’s “we gotta get somebody in stat!” Last night, I dreamt Court was in session, and that woman was trying to explain something or other. Justice O’Connor was still on the bench, and rolling her eyes like Judge Judy. I was sitting behind the bar with my housemate. I leaned over and whispered, “the one time in my life I wish Scalia was here. He’d shut that bitch down in a New York second.” I still don’t understand what the hell is the matter with the Trumpers. They call the rest of us “sheeple.” They think themselves woke, all while they’re being fed a diet of the vilest lies. I can understand some of it. Being fed up with the liberal elites because they think the elites look down on them. I’ll admit, that’s not altogether untrue. Their racism, believing that “they’re trying to take our country away from us.” But one thing I don’t understand, is their persistent beliefs and attitudes toward COVID-19. And their “freedumbs”–the idea that mandating wearing masks is some kind of slavery. It made me laugh. Hun, if having to wear a mask is slavery, you obviously don’t know jack about slavery. What really confounds me is that there are 225,000 Americans dead–and counting–and they’re well aware of it. Yet they persist, even if they’ve been affected. I saw a shot of a woman–maskless–at some kind of rally. On the back of her shirt was a message: “My son died from COVID-19, and I’m still voting for Trump.” Incredible. Her baby died because of this man and his cronies’ gross, callous, criminal incompetence, and she knows it. If that’s not cult behavior, I don’t know what is.

Well, whatever happens, I’ll still have Randy Rainbow. Stay safe, Randy.

The ramping up continues. I’ve signed to do a virtual tour a week after release–five weeks, 30 blog stops. I’m writing up the blog posts, character interviews, and whatever else now. Some of the essays are more serious than others. One is on the long, long period of ideating that resulted in The Moreva of Astoreth. Another will concentrate on her bigotry, and my use of the romance genre to make my point. I’d like to do something on melding science fiction and romance, but I’ll have to think about how to approach it. At any rate, 30 blog stops is no joke. I’ve done a couple of tours, but never that many. Granted, some will be author interviews and others will be excerpts–not much work, there–but some bloggers want the author to write a specific something on a theme, and don’t give a lot of time to turn it around. And some will just want to review the book. Definitely no work, there. I’ve 10 ARC reviewers at the moment. I want to recruit more, though. The good news is, I still have two months. In exchange for a free book, ARC reviewers post their reviews on the platform (Amazon, Apple, wherever) on the day the book is released. I’m also submitting to ARC review sites. I’m on Booksprout and Book Sirens. The Underground and Invasion are on both. I admit my results with those two haven’t been great. I suspect it’s the content–paranormals and aliens. I’ve had people laugh in my face after telling them what they’re about. Then, if they decide to take a chance, they read them–and the tune changes. The Moreva of Astoreth, I think, is a lot more accessible. It’s a romance blanketed in science fiction. The romance part is great–huge market there. That it’s science fiction will turn some people off, though. Somebody who’s into regency romances isn’t going to be interested in reading a romance with a setting on another planet. Anyway, what ARCs are about is marketing. The more reviews you have on release day, the more the sales platform’s algorithms take notice. If that happens, your book gets ranked higher, which means more visibility to potential buyers. Oh, let’s not forget advertising. Haven’t had a whole lot of luck with that, so far. I’ve gotten 27 pre-orders. On the other hand, I started back in August–actually mid-July. I hope I’ll have better results in the next two months. For an author like me–pretty much unknown–readers tend to want it now rather than later. In the six weeks or so before I released the new (and last) version of The Underground, I had 49 pre-orders. That pushed my ranking up–Amazon doesn’t count pre-orders as sales until release–but I didn’t have the reviews, so my rank didn’t go as high as it could have. But ads are necessary. I just wish they weren’t so damned expensive. The kicker, though? Loss leader. The book’s intro price is .99. Even if I have 100 sales recorded on day 1, I’ll have made less than $35 in income. Oh, sure–the price will go up. I’m thinking 4, maybe 5 bucks. But going back to advertising, since July I’ve spent over $1K on all platforms for a .99 cent book. And even after the price goes up, I’ll still have to keep advertising to generate sales, including running discounts, and maybe freebies along the way.

This, my friends, is what it means to be an unknown indie author who’s trying to get known. It damn sure ain’t cheap.

On the family front, my mother is so cute and absolutely a hoot. So we’re zooming in an Important Family Meeting, and my father turns to my mother and asks what she thinks about the plans we’re making. Mommy kind of stares off in the distance and says, “Lavender. I think I’ll put down lavender tile in the foyer. I need color.” Of course, the rest of us burst into laughter, and she gives us one of her small, secret smiles. We’ll take care of everything, and she knows it. That leaves her free to concentrate on other important things, like lavender tile in the foyer. Still, the darkness continues. This past Sunday, we were zooming with all the family–you know, seeing the grandkids and all–and during the course of the conversation, I realized one of my nephews, who lives in NYC, had moved to San Francisco. Listening further, I realized this hadn’t happened just a few weeks ago. More like a few months, or even longer. Nobody thought to tell me, and I didn’t know to ask. I admit I could do a better job of keeping up, but it seems something this momentous…never mind. Kept in the dark, expected to drop everything and jump when someone beckons a finger, not taking into consideration my limitations when it comes to family gatherings. You’d think after decades, I’d have gotten used to it.

I haven’t.


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