Monday, March 20, 2017

Blackstone Forever Update--

Aloha all--I am taking a self-imposed break from social media until the finale for my trilogy (Blackstone Forever) is completely wrapped. Burying my face in edits until. Thank you to all the authors and readers that have accepted or sent friend requests on twitter/FB--I am also having to delay my book stalking, but I am making my lists for when I return! Happy first day of spring everyone--


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Aftermath, and Other Silly Things

Well, I survived the disaster I made with my pre-order and my unpredictable life back in January.  I have some good thoughts to add to my assessment of KDP, and am very happy for authors that can take advantage of the pre-order function; sales were definitely affected, although I think that is mostly because the book is buried faster.  Without those pre-order numbers, you drop much quicker into obscurity.

In other news completely, look at this cover I made for my book LOUDER, back in... 2012?  Is that right?  Wow.

One interesting thing about KDP Select is how many readers are going back and checking out my older books.  Thank you folks!  If you are enjoying them please leave a review--even now, fans of #multicultural #romance would probably like to know how many books there are out there, even when the books themselves have gotten a little older.  Remember: all of my books are still free for members of Kindle Unlimited.  Go nuts!



This cover was replaced by the very talented ReneeRomanceBooks, who has made all of my covers (since I had the scrilla to pay for covers, anyway--the OG art you are looking at above was the highlight of my cover-making career... Assuming you think this is a highlight ;).

Check out that amazon page; I've published 15 books now, with number 16 still scheduled for 4/1/2017.  There's a lot there to look at, particularly if you are a fan of #BWWM #romance or looking for something with a little angst, a lot of angst, a mystery, an epic, a BDSM filled #BWAM story, or just your average really sweet, really ripped, really big male stripper.  Just sayin'.  Something for everyone.

On to March and more deadlines.  Aloha, imaginary friends--

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Blackstone Fever is OUT!

The great pre-order debacle is over and Blackstone Fever, the second book in the Blue Mountain Dynasty Trilogy is out today!  Please grab a copy, leave a review, and enjoy a FREE copy of HARDER at the end of the book!



NOTE: Please read my blog for updates regarding the PRE-ORDER prior to purchase! 

Armand Blackstone wants very little in life, and needs even less--he's a millionaire in his own right, and scion of the Blackstone Empire. He has everything at his fingertips, everything a man could want--except Jo Dawson. 

His borderline obsession has lasted for over a decade, and he manages it the same way he controls everything else around him: with icy perfection. Simultaneously distancing himself and yet staying constantly aware of her, he's managed to keep his dignity intact and stay away from the one woman that drives him past the point of control. 

But now she's at risk, his younger brother is locked in a grisly scandal involving Jo's younger sister Darcy, and the entire empire at stake. Armand realizes there's only one person that can help him keep it all together--assuming she's not the one responsible for tearing his life apart in the first place. 

Murder, mayhem and murky family histories collide--is she his prisoner now? Or his savior? 

Only time will tell. 

This is the second book in the Blue Mountain Dynasty trilogy, followed by the conclusion, Blackstone Forever, 4/1/2017. 

Genre: Multicultural romance with a BWWM pairing, romantic suspense, family dramas, sensual romance 
Heat Rating: 5 Flames (frequent and graphic acts with some alt content--in this case, light BDSM) 



Monday, February 13, 2017

Blackstone Fever--Please Read If You Pre-ordered!

I have cancelled the pre-order for Blackstone Fever.

I just can't take the chance that you are paying 2.99 for a first draft--further, I can't take the chance that someone else will stumble on the book and buy it while it's still in that form.  I think the responsible thing to do is to take my licks, cancel the pre-order, and do the following:

First: THE BOOK WILL BE PUBLISHED ON THE EXPECTED DAY.  Please don't worry about that--the book is coming out on 2/14/17.

Secondly: If you participated in the pre-order, please e-mail me a copy of the order explaining it's cancellation from Amazon and I will a) send you a copy of this book in e-pub or pdf format, or b) send you a copy of the final book, BLACKSTONE FOREVER, on its due date of 4/1/17.  Your choice, no problem either way.  There were only 29 actual pre-orders, so please send me that e-mail.  I hate to put any of the onus for correcting this on my readers, but Amazon doesn't give authors a preview or list of the buyers.  If you know someone who also ordered a copy, please tell them the same.

My email is jorjatabu@gmail.com.

I hate to do this, but I would hate to have you reading a rubbish draft even more.  Please forgive me, enjoy the book, and take care of yourselves--


Friday, February 10, 2017

A Broke-Ass Writer's Thoughts on Amazon's Pre-Order Feature, or How I Learned What True Disaster Feels Like

So.

I read JA Konrath's thoughts on the pre-order feature for amazon, and for those among us that don't need long-winded, apologetic, partially-whiny rants (for that, please see below) (and believe me, I'm not talking about Konrath here), the short and long of it is this: there is no significant benefit to using the pre-order feature, for either Broke-Ass Writers (me) or very successful ones.  It may be enjoyable to see how many folks line up for a particular book before it's done, but chances are good that if you've got fans they will do that no matter what.

And the down-sides, unfortunately, are legion (please see whiny rant below).

For those wondering what the hell I'm talking about, the pre-order feature on Amazon is the neat idea where an author establishes a publishing date through enrollment in the KDP Select program and people are allowed to pre-order it, creating a queue for the finished book.  It contributes to your amazon ratings and can contribute to increased visibility leading up to publishing, which can be very useful.

But... Let me share my cautionary tale with you.

One of the things about this program that I'm not a huge fan of, having used it for two different books now, is that the book must be finished, polished, TOTALLY finalized 3 days before your publishing date.  So your actual deadline is not, say, February 14th, which is the day Blackstone Fever comes out; your deadline is actually February 10th, at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.  This shouldn't be a huge deal, right?  You've had months to plan this, and your book should be wrapped up, lock, stock, and barrel.  You know what you've signed up for.

But life happens sometimes.  It really does.

Something very bad happened in my family in January.  These things do.  It was the kind of thing, also, unfortunately, that didn't happen quickly and I reeled from it and gathered my loved ones and moved on after a hot minute--it was the kind of thing that spiraled into every other thing and just made life generally a hell of a lot harder for a lot longer than I could've prepared for--not that I got to plan for this.  This is not the kind of thing you plan for; like I said: life happens.  And sometimes it just keeps on happening.

I'd already messed up once and moved the date from the 1st to the 14th, which I did on a total whim because I forgot the penalty: banned for a year from participating in the pre-order feature (which, ha, don't worry about that buddy).  I just thought releasing on Valentine's would be cute.  It turns out, nothing about this process has been cute, but hey, that was my thinking at the time.  I was sad to be banned, and felt foolish.  However, because of what happened in my personal life, I am thanking the powers-that-be that I moved that deadline back.

There was no viable book on February 1st.

Sometimes, given strict deadlines, an author can crank out a ton of decent writing; I operate fairly well like this.  I had half of this book's first draft done by Christmas, when it opened for pre-order.  This gave me exactly 51 days to write a full novel and have it ready by February 14th, which required writing approximately 1500 to 2000 words a day, or 3000 if I wanted a reasonable amount of time to edit (which I prefer), in order to reach novel length.  If I have the resources and support, I can write roughly 2500 words an hour for about 3 hours at a time.  This looked like a very easy math problem, back in December.

But then January happened.

Sometimes you don't have the support, or the resources.  Sometimes you can't touch the damn thing until February, and then you've got two weeks, half a first draft, and a looming deadline.  You've got people counting on you (in my case, at last count, 28 of them).

So you write.

I am lucky in that I have a fully developed plot (and many sub-plots) already mapped out, and I did have that half a first draft.  I am unlucky in that I didn't like a lot of the first draft.

So I wrote.

On February 9th, I sighed, took a deep breath, and uploaded my final draft.  Thank god, I thought.  I am never doing this again.

On February 10th at around 10 am, I realized I had uploaded... The unfinished first draft.

No shit.

Now, the ins and outs of Amazon's publishing software are a bit of a mystery to me; I put this draft in and hit 'save and publish' on the bottom of the page, and the whole document went into lock-down.  The little button you click on the sidebar of each one of your books changes from Continue Setup to a greyed out label and you can no longer access your books details, manuscript, or pricing.  The review process for a change in manuscript such as this can take up to 72 hours.

When you're not using the pre-order function, this is inconvenient but not a big deal.  You just sigh at your own stupidity, wait for the changes to be approved and the button to go from greyed out to Promote and Advertise, and re-upload your ACTUAL final draft when the system is done processing your work.  It's not a problem, because there is no one that has pre-paid for your book; at most, it might move your actual publishing date back by a day.  I have never had a book take 72 hours to load, particularly if the changes are incremental.

But.

When you use the pre-order feature, your book goes into lock-down once that little clock reaches the 3 day deadline.  It gives no shits about what you're doing, what happened in January, or how many people will be disappointed if you just say screw the whole thing and unpublish.

I refreshed that page so many times I thought my finger was going to break.

Finally, at around 12.30, the damn thing re-published.  I had roughly an hour and a half to get my final draft in.

Okay, I thought.  Let's get this sucker in and make sure it's okay.

Because its the right thing to do, I spent the next hour and a half 1) uploading the final draft and 2) looking at it on the various previews to make sure it didn't have any strange formatting or glitches, particularly since there's an image towards the end of the book.

2 minutes left on the clock.

Okay, I thought, if I get locked out now at least the damn thing's as clean as I can get it... But I should look at it in phone mode one more time, just to be sure.

Phone mode loading... Scrolling through the document... Making sure everything looks okay... Yup.  Everything looks okay.  I click the button on the top left of the screen to go back to the actual document, and everything freezes.

This is alright, I think.  If it's going in pre-order mode (which I think it is) that's fine--the final draft is in, so no problem.  Whew!  What a nightmare.  I am never doing this again.

I get kicked out to the main Bookshelf page, and sure enough, my book is locked down in pre-order mode.  Okay, I say, getting ready to shut the site down and catch my breath... Wait a minute.  What's this?

PRE-ORDER LIVE with Unpublished Changes.  What the fuck is this?  I click on it, and the highlighted bubble says: You've entered new information about this pre-order title, but it's not published yet. A previous version of your pre-order title is live in the Kindle Store and is available for purchase. Click here to publish your changes.

I click to publish my changes.

I can't change anything; it's in pre-order lock-down.

I can see the page in dulled out grey beneath the window telling me I'm not able to change anything, and I see the title of my draft, which I never changed--no help there.  Is it the old one or the new?  Damnit!  There are 2 spelling errors.  Was that there with the new draft?  SH!TF@CKGODDA---

So.

I have no idea if the new draft made it through.  If, for reasons I'm not entirely clear on, it just didn't fully register my changes--and it looks that way--28 generous, risk-taking souls will be getting a ratty first draft instead of the finished product when the book debuts on Tuesday.  Happy Valentine's!  I feel like throwing up.

I could be wrong; like I said, I don't totally understand the inner workings of Amazon's programs.  Maybe I'm panicking over nothing; maybe I did have two spelling errors in my final draft... Maybe.  I really don't think so.

I have spent hours with customer service today; Amazon hires nice, helpful people.  None of them can get into the system and tell me if the changes went through, or how to make sure they go through, or anything useful, really.  So I might unpublish the book on Tuesday, after all of the pre-orders go through, and re-upload the changes, hoping everyone that took a chance will get an updated copy on their devices before they read it.  Otherwise, I can unpublish now and they'll get a re-fund, but the book won't be on their device.  Which is worse?  I'm not sure.  I'm really not--even approaching this as a reader, what would I prefer?  I don't know.

My verdict on the pre-order feature: unless the book is already written, completely, and you know you will never change anything about it ever again, and you have a good marketing plan that involves using pre-orders to drive up your amazon ranking, DO NOT DO THIS.  Even with these strategies, there's the chance that you, like me, will have some baffling, glitchy run-in at the last minute with the draft you send in--I don't think the risks are worth it at all.  But hey--there is a lot of human error in my story, as any tech will tell you.  You're smart.  You decide.

And good luck, imaginary friends, either way--



Friday, January 27, 2017

Blackstone Forever

I have some thoughts about how to introduce the final book in this series, but they're not confident ones.  Some questions for series writers who use cliffhangers and the readers who love them:

  • Do you want a preview of the action in the book description, or do you basically just want to make sure that the finale is really that--a finale?  No loose ends, everybody where they're supposed to be, and the details are better found inside the book?  I'm nervous about spoilers for the final book.
  • Do you like open-ended trilogies/series that can be re-visited later or a nice, tightly wrapped package?
  • How do you keep track of all the plots and sub-plots?
I'm just curious.  You know, for a friend.  A friend of a friend, actually.... ;)

Blackstone Fever will be out on Valentine's Day, 2017, followed by the series culmination (or finale, if you will) on April Fool's Day, 2017.  And if you're fiending for more of my weirdness in between, remember all of my books are now on Kindle Unlimited which means that if you're a member you can read them all for FREE.  Free!  Such a lovely word.





Tuesday, January 24, 2017

All (or most) Books Now on Kindle Unlimited

So I did something, mostly because people I respect have either been doing it or said it was a good idea--people who not only write books I really enjoy but who also have business sense that actually makes sense.  I put all my books up on KDP Select, which translates to: you will be able to read them for free if you are a Kindle Unlimited customer.

I don't like giving in to the monopoly of amazon, but I can't ignore the fact that the other two platforms I was using haven't had a sale in two months (while they've been daily, if low, on amazon).  So I'm going to try it out.  That is the beauty, I've been reminded, of being an indie.  If something doesn't work?  Do something else!

Please check out my titles--there's a lot of them.  If you are a multicultural romance fan, you should be able to find at least one that you enjoy, and if you do, please don't hesitate to review.