Hard Knocks

I was lying in bed this morning going through Facebook.  OK, so I’m still lying in bed but now I’m writing.  I’m sort of working now! 

What I was seeing, though, made me a little sad.  You see, I’m a writer but I’m also an independent publisher. Which means I help other authors get their stories into your hands.  

This is a very tough business.  I’ll tell you why.  

Author sits at his/her desk and plots story.  This takes anywhere from hours to days and sometimes months.  From there, the author begins the task of making the outline stretch into a story.  

Characters become personalities, places become your hometown,  words become voices you hear spoken aloud in your head.  

Let’s say on average a novel is 70k words.  Then let’s say the average independent author, who still works a full time day job, squeezes out 1k words per day. We’re up to 70 days of writing.  Maybe they have 1 hour of uninterrupted writing time.  So that’s 70 hous of writing. 

Next step is editing.  The editor takes approximately 2 weeks to finish first pass.  One hour a day for two more weeks.  This is the hardest part of the procean because someone else is now tearing apart your work.  The work you labored over for 70 days.  The work you thought was perfect the way it was. The may be 1-2 more passes like this. ..3 more weeks of hell. 

This doesn’t include beta readers and proofers. 

Now comes the cover. 1 week of watching someone give life to the people in your book.  

And then it’s finally here!  

Launch day!  

You are so excited you can hardly contain yourself.  You sit and watch, willing the numbers to rise. It’s not about the fame. It’s about the story.  It’s always been about the story.  

Days and months of toiling.  Dollars invested in an editor, cover art and/or artist.  

You see the sales trickle in.  It’s slow like molasses.  It drains you emotionally asking people every day to read your work. And when they do, you must continue the cycle of asking them to review. 

All this for a portion of what your book is really worry.  Amazon takes a piece,  if you have a publisher we take our cut.  Who’s really making the money off our work? 

Publishers take considerable risks.  (The percentage of punlishers that go out of business is depressing). We pay for stock for the covers … they get industry standard pay.  We pay for Amazon to distribute … they also get industry standard. 

So watching readers who’ve become accustomed to getting a book for free or before industry standard pricing, only to turn around and not review, or sPreah the word, can be disheartening.  

Writers don’t go into this to get rich.  We do it for the craft,  for the love,  they do it for a place to exorcise demons.  

If you love what you’re reading, and you love the author, support them the best way you can.  Tell someone you loved the book, share the book with a friend or donate it,  leave a review so the next person will read about how amazing the story was. 

70 hours × 3.00 = 120$   now take out 20% and that’s what your author made.  (Average) 

NEW RELEASE! “The Unfleshed: Tale of the Autopsic Bride”

This is LIVE, NOW! Paperback is coming in a few days but it is live for ebook from these two links.

The first link will have universal carriers as they are added (but may take a little while)
http://www.books2read.com/unfleshed

The second is your typical Amazon link:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MR8L757

paperbackunfleshed

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot: Amazon We Have A Problem!

Image result for pink floyd the wall

In the pursuit of the American Dream, authors of the Indie persuasion are being held back and consumers are being censored.

Listen, I get it OK? One rotten apple ruins the bunch and people are going to do stupid things to get ahead. Like have fake reviews on their books, for a start.

Thank you Amazon.com but I think we got this!  We don’t need you to police our words or our readers. We’re quite certain that we’re capable of reading reviews and using your “Look Inside” feature. We don’t need you to put a bubble of protection around us and ensure we don’t get “hurt” by reading a book with 300, 5 star reviews we didn’t dig deeper on. It is on our own shoulders if we don’t use your features, already put into place, to see if this really is a book we’d enjoy.

Oh! And guess what else you’re doing? You’re effin’ up the algorithm! How? Well, it’s quite obvious (to a mind with an IQ over 25) – if you read a book that has 300, 5 stars and you come to realize it’s a sham you can (gasp) review it or return it.

I know, right? What is that all about! It’s ingenious!

Adults, adulting is amazing!

(rolling eyes)

OK. I think I’m breathing normally again. The point is this. All the readers who complain about getting a bad book should be reviewing it, and/or returning it. Amazon needs to keep their assumptions in a neat little locked box and stop messing with the algorithm of economy. They take down reviews of people who have the same address?? As if people can’t live in the same building (college dorm? shared house? roommates?) and review a product separately. I’d like to see this kind of behavior happening on a Harry Potter book. Four siblings and two parents and only one can review? Opinions aren’t “hive minded”.

How about the algorithm involved in the struggling small business?

You’re promoting monopolies. You’re adding a censor on what the public wants to read because we aren’t making you millions (yet) individually … but I’m afraid you’re missing out on the millions we make collectively for you (even the bad books). And because of that, I’ll be encouraging all my authors who self publish, all the Indie publishers who are ethical with their business and editing practices, and all my readers who truly love the authors they’ve discovered … to go someplace else. Heed my words. Readers are loyal. Very, very loyal.

Today it may only be five books. Tomorrow it’ll be 10. Eventually, the movement will catch on and you’ll be feeling the dent in your deep, Big Brother pockets.

I hear Google knocking and perhaps Barnes & Noble. I’m sure they’d be happy to pick up where you guys are lacking.

Sort your sh!t out, Amazon. Until then, my business will go elsewhere. I prefer to support small businesses and communities, not corporate monsters.

#smallbusiness #indiewriters #indiepublishers #amreading #amwriting #GoogleBooks #writers

Now That I Have Your Attention

That title always seems to draw people in.  It’s like a magnet. The piper leading the parade.  For some reason we all want to know, what is it that should hold your attention?  

Well duh! A new book! 

It’s already been on Amazon’s top 100! Congrats to everyone else featured, especially those debuting. 

A special thank you to the fans, and stalkers that boosted traffic, enabling the site to hit the top of the search engines, so others could see and buy my books.  It’s been a great week!  You guys rock! 

The Immortal Sols: A work in progress

When Darkness is infiltrated by a light it is up to Ladon, the Lord of the Dragons to seek out the source and destroy it. He soon learns that any attempt to damage the source becomes an attack on himself. The King tries to keep it a secret as the law states that any sovereign in a weakened state may be challenged in a match to the death.

Will Ladon learn how to destroy the source?
Or will his brethren learn of his secret and destroy him first?

Welcome to the Reign of the De Sols

Family Tree
https://www.wattpad.com/story/74573941-the-immortal-sols

Stop Putting Your Books On The Dollar Menu

There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing an author in so much angst to get readers, they price all their work for 99 cents.  All of it.  Or they price it for way below market value. 

I cannot stress this enough so please pay attention.

If you don’t put value in your own work, what do you think will happen? 

That one day you’ll become a big time writer and the .99 crowd will suddenly start paying retail?  No. It doesn’t work that way. 

If you want someone to take you seriously? Get paid what you’re worth.

You know your work is good.  Set the standard. 

Unless your serving 1 billion, stop putting your book on the dollar menu.

What’s in that dollar menu?  Gourmet burgers?  Gordon Ramsey chicken nuggets?  No! It’s over processed, beef (so we hope) filled with crap!  Is that what’s between your pages?  If so, by all means!  Sell it for a buck. 

But once you start getting better and your work is worthy, slap that price tag on and have no regrets.  Not one single doubt that your work is worth something.

So many authors fall into the trap of Facebook fandom. You got 2k followers?  Awesome. How engaged are all 2k of them? Are you seeing $2000 a month on New Release day? 

Stop. Just stop it.

A reader will pay for a good book.  A real reader will be happy to pay full price for a well edited, good story.  Oh, and while I’m ranting, a good reader will not refund the book after reading it.

That’s for you Mr. or Mrs. I-read-the-entire-book-and-refunded-it.  You just committed theft.  And it’s disgusting that Amazon allows this to go on. 

Pick your head up, author.  You are worth it but no one will believe that until you do. 

Work in Progress

The following is an unedited chapter to the book I’ve just started. THE UNFLESHED is nearly finished and should be out as soon as it is edited. In the meantime, I’ve been exercising my writing muscles and begun a new one. Hope you enjoy and as always, comments welcome!

 

All rights reserved
© 2016 Lisa Vasquez

 

CHAPTER ONE

793 A.D. Northumberland, England                   
Lindisfarne Monastery

 

                The morning bells of the monastery rang out penetrating the dense fog rolling in from the water that surrounded their coast. Alkuin was coming up the pathway from chores when something struck him as odd.

“There are no gulls.” He said to himself, aloud.

Raising his eyes toward the grey sky, he stared deeply into the overcast that snuffed out the sun. Behind the soft cadence of the church bell in the background, there was a drumming noise and he realized it was the sound of his heart.

The monk turned in a slow, careful manner to face the sea. Even though he was grown now, the haunting stories of his grandmother lingered on him whenever he watched the eerie fog roll in as it did now. He braced himself, expecting some manner of monster to emerge before chiding himself each time it pulled back leaving nothing except the icy waves and dancing gulls. But today – there were no gulls to speak of. The drumming of Alkuin’s heart grew louder and danger filled the air he breathed, expanding his lungs with its imminent warning.

He stared harder into the fog until his site caught what his senses were warning him of. A creeping head pushed through the clouds with eyes of fire. Towering above the water, flared nostrils billowed more smoke around it, carrying the stench of death. It did not pick up speed because there was no reason to. Like Alkuin, everything before it froze and trembled in its wake.

The monk dropped all that he was carrying, the fresh vegetables from the garden now lying in the dirt, and shut his eyes tight.

“Run, Alkin!” He tried to convince himself, “Run!”

As if his feet were suddenly free from invisible bonds, Alkuin ran as fast as he could to the safety of the monastery, shouting to everyone as he did so.

“Warship!” he cried, “Warship! Hurry!”

The other monks spun from their task and looked to the origin of the warning. The low tide was at hand and the ship was making its way straight toward them.

“Quickly! Into the shelters! Hide!” They all shouted.

The normal serenity of the monastery turned to chaos as clergy ran, shutting gates and corralling livestock. Many of the monks rolled whatever valuables they had into blankets, tossing them into their hiding places which were normally piles of hay or straw.

Alkuin ran directly to the chapel and was met with Father Aidan.

“What is it?” He asked.

The look of panic on Alkuin’s features made the other monk uneasy and the two rushed inside closing the doors behind them. The large wooden board was eased into the brackets across the entrance, and Aidan slid the reinforced iron rod across as well.

Once Alkuin was assured the lock was engaged he turned to the other man to explain, “There is a warship approaching. It sits barely a stone’s throw off the shore.”

Aidan’s eyes widened and he turned toward the altar. On the outside it looked normal. A chalice flanked by two large candles, and behind it a large crucifix. Aidan and Alkuin were the only two that knew what hid underneath.

“What do we do?” Aidan asked.

“We wait. It is a last resort, you know that!”

“People could die Alkuin!” The younger monk cried out.

“Hold your tongue Aidan,” Alkuin snapped, “We all took the vow.”

Aidan turned his eyes down conceding in silence.

“Now go through the back and bring the brotherhood inside. Those that tarry seal their own fate.”

“Yes, Father.” Aidan bowed and ran to his task.

When the younger monk had gone, Alkuin looked down at his hands which were trembling with the surge of adrenaline. The secret contained inside the chapel was worth dying for, and he was prepared to see that mission through. Curling his fingers into his palms, he made fists with both hands driving in his conviction to the cause. He pulled in a deep breath and lifted his chin to inhale the air. Alkuin then closed his eyes to focus on separating the incoming smells.

The fragrant incense was pushed back allowing the salty ocean breeze to filter through. Northmen, his thoughts said, and he released the breath from his lungs. The Alkuin’s lungs expanded again, filling with the air. At least twenty distinct smells gave away the number of passengers that he could readily identify. Concentrate, he thought to himself then growled and pushed himself harder.

Once more Alkuin took in a deep breath, forcing the air through his flared nostrils until his chest expanded and ached. The smell of burning bodies was acrid and thick, almost choking him.

Women! It was distinct. He could smell the bodies and the fear rolling off the women they were holding on board. Rage boiled deep inside his chest and his jaw trembled as he tried to keep control of it.

Another low, rasping growl welled up from deep within his belly pushing its way into his throat. Alkuin hunched over and grabbed at his hair trying to keep himself from the transformation.

“No.” He snarled, “Not…now.”

His eyes were burning and his skin was crawling as he forced himself to breathe and slow his heart rate. He willed himself to focus on the crucifix behind the altar and prayed for the strength to keep the monster inside but he could feel its claws tearing behind his ribcage. His eyes were tearing and he his entire body shook with the inner war going on but after a few minutes, the monk was able to gain control again. The effort exerted brought him down to a knee just before the rush of the brothers came in through the secret door in the back. They stood around him now in silence in what they was ardent prayer for their safety. They were half right.

Alkuin stood up and turned to face them, “Brothers, we have gone many years without the interruption of another human but our own clergy. We have discussed what would be our action if we were in the face of invasion. Our own complacency has led us to the belief that we would never have to practice those actions.”

He paused and let their sin sink in before continuing, “Today we shall reap what we have sown. It is in God’s hands now.”

The brothers turned to one another and there was a rush of whispers. Alkuin broke it up as he went on.

“We are under invasion and it is time for us to do what it necessary to save ourselves! Brothers, please. Listen to me, now, for there is not much time.”

The men hushed and faced him once again in silence.

“There will be blood. There will be sights you have never seen before in our peaceful life but do not falter, and do not hesitate to save yourself or your brother by any means necessary against the Evil that comes today.”

“Now, let us pray.” Alkuin turned and kneeled again before the altar and made the sign of the cross.

The others followed his lead and went down to their knees to offer their prayers for safety and guidance, others to eradicate the fear from their hearts. The shouts from outside began to subside as the ship grew closer and the other monks found places to hide. Alkuin could hear the oars push the water and the sound of the ship slicing through the waves on approach. The danger threatened to elevate his heartrate again but he controlled his breathing. Unleashing the rage meant he would unleash the monster within. It had been many years since it was free, he had no idea if he’d be able to reign it in once more.

Please dear Lord, offer your strength to me. Allow me to use this …thing…inside of me for your will. Even if it condemns me to Hell for eternity, I seek to do thy bidding while here on earth. Place your hand upon the head of my inner demon and command it, as you are creator of all things. I pray you allow me to be your humble servant and protector of these people who love you and serve you all their days with all their actions, and all their words.

The sound of the boat on land stopped Alkuin’s prayers and he could feel his breath rasping and he realized he was panting now. In his hand, his rosary was embedded into his palm and a slow trickle of blood was creeping down the wooden beads to the floor. The movement below the floorboards caused him to stand up in slow motion. Any sudden move and he could agitate it more.

“Brothers, stand up. Get into position. It is time.”

The friars all stood up slowly and turned. Each one with their back to the others’. None of them brandished any weapons but their bare hands. Alkuin stood in the center of the other men and lowered his head. He needed to concentrate if he was to keep his rage under control. If the invaders got past the other men, then he would have no other recourse but to fight. In a circle of plain brown robes, they stood there in silence for nearly an hour. Waiting.