Writing with Bees

Fellow Indies writers, and snobbish literati who give away your work to the paper-pushers for a measly ten percent, I’ve stumbled across a tremendous writing aid that I feel obliged to share with you.

If you’re like me, married with children, your biggest problem is finding time to write: kids yelling about their most recent light saber injury, the wife testing your fatherhood/manhood by asking you to pave the driveway with a rolling pin, etc., etc… You know the deal. To solve this problem I usually write from three to five in the morning, a time when children only wakeup to throw up, or scream about the family of Zombies living under their beds.

Well, I’m pleased to report; I recently stumbled upon a cure for this problem.

Bees! Yes. Bees.

I write in my basement, in a big office, in a big house, not paid for with my ebook royalties 🙂 This fall, about forty-five days ago, my office became infested with bees. Being an Irish bullshitter (See my previous post.) this means about ten to twenty bees. I’m sort of easy going about most things, including bees. So, I let the bees swirl about me. Two times bees got into my pants, but I smushed them before they reached my testicles. And, I got bit once, on the arm. No big deal.

It was all worth it, for the cohabitants of my dwelling, a.k.a. my family, are deathly afraid of bees. Accordingly, they did not come within thirty feet of my office. In short, they left me alone. I could write for a whole hour without interruption. It was a dream come true.

Sadly, last night, the temperature went down to forty in Western Massachusetts. So, as I am writing this blog, my bees are stationary at my feet. I considered attempting CPR, but I think my mouth is too big. Alas, it appears my bee gig is up. So, I think I need to move on… time to begin writing with snakes!

W4$

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Kiss Me! I’m…

I was working on my new web site (It’s going to be optimized for indie publishing – stay tuned…) when I noticed I had made a tremendous mistake. I had forgotten to include my nationality in my current bio. I write offensive comic fiction, in the hope of attracting hate mail, yet I had failed to provide the basic info required to inspire race-based hatred, which we all know is the force that keeps the world on its axis. My apologies. This blog corrects this terrible oversight.

Since I, Wright Forbucks, am the “bon” in bon vivant, I’m sure most of you have assumed I am a Frenchie or perhaps of Northern Italian descent. Worse, I’m certain others of you have assumed I was Eastern European, figuring my warped brain was the byproduct of a half a century of internment in a Soviet Gulag. Further, I’m certain the ten people that read EVEN STEVEN, my sci-sigh comic fiction masterpiece, assume that I am a Jew due to my Einstein-like understanding of particle physics. These are all good guesses, but the truth is I am Irishman. And, I am not the the average American-Irishman that’s twenty-five percent Irish, plus some of dis, and some of dat. I be a purebred, proof being a recent MRI which revealed my head was solid bone.

Since it tis what it tis, for those of you unfamiliar with a real Irishman, I offer the following characteristics and welcome you to use them as fodder against me should my fiction inspire a rant.

First of all, a real Irishman is a bullshitter. So, you’ll never be able to tell when we are telling you the truth. In fact, the only statement you should believe when talking to a real Irishman is “I got sh**faced last night.”

And speaking of drink… it’s advisable to never go drinking with a real irishman unless your health insurance is up to date, for even the frailest Irishman can drink his body weight in beer without fear of a hangover. In fact, we rather enjoy listening to our non-Irish “drinking buddies” heave about while we enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast, a can of corned beef hash and a warm Budweiser.

And speaking of health… a real Irishman never goes to the doctor unless we have a tumor that weighs more than a Volkswagen, or we have been shot more than three times. Doctors say bad things. Who needs them?

And speaking of death… a real Irishman is relentlessly fatalistic. In fact, when we answer the phone we do not say, “Hello.” We say, “Who died?”

Also, speaking of death again, it being our favorite topic… It’s the hope of any real Irishman to die of Irish Alzheimer’s Disease. This illness is characterized by a decade of sitting in a Lazy Boy Recliner (where you are occasionally spoon-fed boiled dinner by one of your thirty grandchildren). Symptoms of this disease also include the inability to remember the names of your spouse or children, but total recall of all grudges.

Also, most tragically, due to ancestors that include Joyce, Shaw, Wilde, Stoker, and similar riff raff… any real Irishman believes he can write. But, the truth is, when it comes to writing, most of us are hacks that have more ego than brains who think we are witty due to the cumulative effect the above mentioned attributes…

Hmmm, you might want to use that one against me…

W4$

Free Aint What it Used to Be

Fellow authors, FYI…

I just did a Amazon/KDP free giveaway for THE GENERAL STORE, my latest novel, another undiscovered comic fiction masterpiece. Over a three day period with one day of intense Twitter spam, 130 free downloads happened. Earlier in the month I gave away EVEN STEVEN for 2 days. It realized 78 downloads. I also did a 2-day freebie for THE WALKING MAN. 398 downloads happened. For both EVEN STEVEN and THE WALKING MAN I did zero pre-promotion, and maybe 1 tweet each during the free period.

Six months ago when I did a KDP giveaway, several thousand downloads would happen.

Follow-on sales for THE WALKING MAN were zippo. EVEN STEVEN sold 8 copies. The returns for THE GENERAL STORE are pending.

I think this data suggests readers are waiting for free. To me, it also suggests once a book has launched and received decent critical acclaim, like THE WALKING MAN, a free offer is not a good thing. It de-values the work.

I’m doing a combo of blogging and advertising moving forward. I’ll let you know how it goes…I’m not doing Twitter spam again. All my tests show it is super annoying and produces near zero return.

Sales were way down this month. Just enough to buy 2 tacos. Not enough to buy a super-sized Mountain Dew. Damn. Still have lots of fun being indie. It was a great first year. I released three novels and made lots of new friends. It has been a tremendously fun and positive experience.

I’m going to release a Christmas compendium along with some e-publishing advice next month. Look for WRIGHT FORBUCKS, THE EARLY YEAR.

And put 3 dollars in your 2013 budget for BILLY GRIST, my comic fiction masterpiece…

Regards,
W4$

Bless Me Father for I have Sinned.

I just finished my third novel, THE GENERAL STORE, and hit the publish button at Amazon.com. It is another work of comic fiction. This time an environmental/sex comedy set in the small town of Apple, Massachusetts. I wrote THE GENERAL STORE due to my subconscious desire to be excommunicated from the Catholic church. I’ve always wanted a bishop, or perhaps a cardinal, to knock on my door and yell at me like a home plate umpire, “You’re Outta here!”

I’m not sure how many sins THE GENERAL STORE commits because the sin-counter on my word processor has been disabled by a virus, but there is one chapter where every other word is mother f*!!*#* and another where an well-endowed young man does something improper with a Wendy’s chocolate Frosty.

I can’t say I’m proud about writing a book with no redeeming qualities, but I’m fairly certain it does contain a few scenes that will make most readers smash their Kindles on the ground and laugh until their sides hurt, and what’s wrong with that, especially if you got one of those new Fire tablets that constantly freezes and randomly shouts ‘redrum!” while you’re trying to read.

I also believe THE GENERAL STORE has a few noteworthy quotes, including the first rule of infidelity, “Don’t cheat with a woman that looks like an orangutang if your wife is a kick-boxer.” I also believe the book has one of the all-time great opening lines, but I’ll leave that to you to judge. (Go to Amazon and click on preview, if you’re too cheap to throw down the $2.99)

Now comes the hard part of writing a book, selling it.

With my last work, THE WALKING MAN (11/18 Five Star reviews) I did the twitter thing. This means I spent my time trying to sell my book to other authors who are generally too busy writing to read. I also did the Free Amazon.com KDP Select scam, giving away 10,000+ books to earn enough money to buy a pack of used condoms. This time around my plan is to advertise. Pure and simple. I’ve read there is no worse return than advertising an ebook, that readership must be earned by sending hand-signed letters to book bloggers, and begging literary rock stars for a retweet. My fear is this is true, but nonetheless I plan to advertise. Now I just have to find a web site with a million viewers that will accept an ad for a book about a man with a big one – a really big one.

Hmmm, maybe Funny or Die!

The General Store – A Naughty Novella.

I’m pleased to announce the publication of THE GENERAL STORE, my third ebook. It is now available at Amazon.com.

To recap my illustrious indie author career, my first book was EVEN STEVEN, a romantic comedy about particle physics. It is a book without a genre, and so far, not much of an audience. But, the few folks that have read it seem to love it. If you want to read something very very different, check it out.

My second book is a romance/satire about quadriplegia called THE WALKING MAN. Several people have read THE WALKING MAN. Some folks love this book. It contains quite a few laughs and imparts some insights about immobility that make it a worthwhile read.

Now comes my third book, THE GENERAL STORE. In this book I am intentionally trying to attract a wider audience by  writing a flat out comedy about sex and betrayal in a small town. Meant to be read in one sitting. The main goal of this book is to make you laugh.

The opening line in THE GENERAL STORE sets the tone and goes downhill from there.

“Although Jebediah Jones was ninety-three years old, he could still remember his first erection like it was yesterday.”

Now available at Amazon.com. See blurb below.

The General Store

The small town of Apple, Massachusetts is falling apart. Mayor Happy Munson has betrayed another “friend.” This time an old man with the money and brains to get even. Jebediah Jones, the well-endowed the owner of the General Store, has been arrested for literally hanging out. And, Doris Keegle, the chairman of the Apple’s restoration committee, wants Rake Davis, the leader of the town’s biker club, to stop half burying his old Ford pick-up trucks. THE GENERAL STORE is an LOL comedy about what happens when small minded people start minding other people’s business. WICKED FUNNY! Available now in ebook format at Amazon.com. This naughty novella is Rated R due to crass language and sexual content.

Fiction. 31,000 words.

Price: $2.99 USD

Good Readahs are Ball Bustahs

Being a multi-tasker, a kinder term than ADD, I was watching the Red Sox tonight while Skyping some folks in China who are manufacturing/stealing one of my inventions (talk about that later) when a 2-Star Goodreads review for one of my books inspired me to compare Goodreads.com reviews to Amazon.com reviews. Seeking solace through numbers, versus an extra dry martini, I took a random sample of ten books and did a comparison. The results are presented below.

Title Author Amazon Goodreads
Great Gatsby Fitzgerald 4.1 3.7
Prisoner of Azkaban Rowling 4.8 4.4
Of Mice and Men Steinbeck 4.3 3.7
Interview with a Vampire Rice 4.3 3.8
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Twain 4.3 3.8
The Help Stockett 4.6 4.4
The Elements of Style Strunk 4.7 4.1
Lord of the Rings Tolkien 4.8 4.6
The Walking Man Forbucks 4.7 4
 Average 4.06 3.65

My conclusion is my 2-star is really a 2.2 star, which makes me feel about 10% better. Perfect. Now, back to the game, Red Sox 10, Twins 1, in the fifth. All is good in the world.

W4$

Too much FREE is bad.

I have tried the KDP Free Promotion a couple times. It has produced some interesting results. Most recently I did a 2-day giveaway of THE WALKING MAN. On Holy Thursday Jesus apparently intervened on my behalf and 8,000 free copies of THE WALKING MAN were downloaded making it the #2 “BestSeller” in the Free Humor category at Amazon.com. The following day, 2,600 free copies were downloaded, contributing to a grand total of 10,600 free downloads. In the two weeks following the promotion, 125 copies of THE WALKING MAN were sold at $0.99.

Frankly, I don’t know what to think of the whole experience, but I enjoyed watching the free downloads go viral. It made me feel like a real author for about five seconds.

Long-term, I am certain free ebooks are bad for authors. Assuming reading rates are constant and some free ebooks are actually read, free books have to hurt the sale of paid books. Thus, overall, my guess is they will decrease author income. This being said, free ebooks currently provide new authors with a chance to get some exposure which would otherwise be unavailable to them. I perhaps benefited from this free exposure, although, at this time, I am not sure.

Thus far, I have drawn one conclusion. I feel authors must petition Amazon.com to modify their free ebook policies, so they will not ultimately hurt the ebook market.

Here are my suggestions:

1. Limit Free Downloads.

Limit free downloads to 1,000 downloads per book. This would provide plenty of downloads for an author to get some feedback from readers and attract some follow-on sales.

2. Set a Mimimum eBook price

Set a $0.99 minimum price for an ebook and only allow 1,000 free downloads (See #1)

3. Reader Option to Pay

If reader enjoys a free ebook, give them the option to buy the book for $0.99. I’m sure many readers would be willing to pay $0.99 upon completing and liking a free ebook. I’m sure there must be an easy way to do this.

4. Increase Royalty Rate on $0.99 ebooks

Increase the royalty rate from 35% to 70% on $0.99 ebooks, especially if an author participates in the KDP program. Giving away 10,000 ebooks to sell 100 seems unfair to me. The Kindle platform benefits by the addition of a mountain of valuable content, while the author earns peanuts. I say big Amazon needs to stop starving its $0.99 authors.

In conclusion, because it is in their best interests, Amazon.com appears to be looking for ways to help self published authors attract new readers. I think this is great, but in the interest of all authors, I suggest Amazon.com set limits on their Free Promotions while increasing its royalty rates on $0.99 ebooks. For ultimately, I believe too much free is bad and KDP authors deserve enough income to buy pizza for five one every three months.

Let me know your thoughts by commenting below.

Thanks,

W4$

How to write for bucks

I write, but I do not consider myself a writer. I have never dreamt of being a writer. In fact, as a young man I wanted to be a cartoonist. I was good but not great, so when that dream evaporated my main goal in life was to own a stereo and drink beer in the bleachers at Fenway Park – back when you could drink beer at Fenway Park. (The rumor persists that I poured a beer into a cop’s boot for bouncing a fellow fan. This is not true. It was my friend.)

Prior to becoming a self-pubber, I read a few books a year, mostly physics stuff because I have a hidden nerd thing going on that I’ll never understand. This nerd thing caused me to invent several items: a few sold very well which enabled me to barely make a living.  Eighteen months ago I read an article about self-pubbing and royalty rates offered by Amazon.com; I decided I had to get in on this action, thus Wright Forbucks was born.

I’ve been self-pubbing for 18 months now. I wrote my first book, Billy Grist, in four months. It totally sucked, but after I re-write it, it will be the best book I will ever write – for sure. It was inspired by the death of a dear friend on 9-11. My second book, Even Steven sucked too. But, I just rewrote it and now I think it is a masterpiece – if you’re a particle physicist with a sense of humor I think you will agree.

The Third Book I wrote is called The Walking Man. It is loosely based on my brief inability to walk courtesy of a rare and wimpy-ass disease I have called Myasthenia Gravis. The only thing I really have in common with the lead character in The Walking Man is MG did cause me to do a face plant in the bread aisle of a convenient mart, but it was a Cumberland Farms, not a 7-11. My response to paralysis was to laugh, which is basically my response to everything. Some people are reading The Walking Man and giving it 5-stars. Even better, some folks are buying it. It is currently generating enough income to feed a family of five a single taco twice a year.

Enough about me, time to get to my list. But first, in the interest of full disclosure, as you have probably already guessed, I am writing this baseless list to give the false impression that I am imparting wisdom when in fact I am simply shamelessly promoting the above mentioned books.

So here is my list…

HOW TO WRITE FOR BUCKS

#1: Dream the Wright Dream

You must have only one dream -> to get rich. Assuming you’ve had sex (with another person) several hundred times, this is the only dream left worth having. All other dreams are meaningless. Especially don’t dream about living forever. If you worry too much about exercise and a healthy diet you will not be able to write anything worth reading. My recommended author diet includes: Doritos, Mountain Dew and an occasional marshmallow Peep (season permitting.)

#2: Establish Idols

Joe Konrath is my idol. Why? The Mo-Fo made $100K in 3 weeks selling Kindle books. Joe is not a man. He is a God. The only comparable deity on earth is Billy Mitchell (the first man to get a perfect score on PacMan.)

#3:  Go into Massive Debt

The best way to force yourself to write daily, after you’ve convinced yourself that you’re going to be rich, is to go into massive debt. Needing money is the best inspiration for writing. Going into massive debt is the easiest step in the self-pub process, options include: divorce, drug habit, gambling, and misfortune. I suggest mixing it up; a little of each is good – all things in moderation.

#4:  Pay the Children

If your children start fighting when you are trying to write. Pay them off. When my kids start hitting each other instead of disciplining them I pay them to stop. Trust me. Nothing works better. All kids have stuff they want to buy. So when they get uppity, slap a five in their greasy little hands and tell em to browse Lego.com. Works every time, and it preserves your vocal cords.

#5:  Obsess

F outlines and all the other conventions real authors use. Instead think about your book obsessively. Write your story in your head and then blast it into a word doc. I didn’t know I was an author until I pre-paid for some gas and then drove away without filling my tank – because I was thinking about my stupid book!

#6: Establish a Viral Alert System.

It’s important to know when your ebook goes viral, so you can buy a gold-plated toilet and begin shopping for a better spouse. I recommend getting a bell and then writing a computer program that links your bell to kdp.amazon.com. Further, I advise all serious authors to quit your “real” jobs, so you’re not performing some demeaning task on the day when your bell chimes ten times per minute to signal that you have officially written for bucks.

W4$

More 5-Star Reviews for The Walking Man

What an awesome story! I found it tough to put down and wished it was longer when it was over. There were real feelings in this story about relationships, guilt, anger, sadness, acceptance, love and commitment. I’ll be watching for this author to continue with future books. 5-Stars Miss Trixie

I don’t always download a book promoted to me in a Twitter direct message, but the price was right, so I thought, what the heck, I’ll put it on my Kindle. I am so glad I did! It was a wonderfully written, witty, and poignant tale of a quadriplegic and his adjustment to life as well as his quest for a cure and for love. The characters are rich and colorful; the story well-paced. Although the novella does not take long to finish, you may be sad when it’s over–it’s that good. I highly recommend “The Walking Man” to others. 5-Stars CRubin

This is a quirky read and it draws you in. It could have been a pity party anywhere along the way but it’s not. There is a real depth of character, complete with warts and blemishes, that makes this a real treasure. There is often an attempt to brush over our flaws, to airbrush out the things in our life that make us seem immature or petty; not so in this story. From an outraged, self-centered teenage (and not without reason) who is incapable of seeing beyond himself to a grown man who comes to understand his place in a larger world, the ride is well worth it. Every now and again, the person you were meant to be, really wins. This story proves it and with humor to boot!

The subject material, in lesser hands, could have been really depressing but not in this story. The writing is on point with the characters with no extraneous tangents to distract you.

No obvious typos or formatting issues which is always a big plus. Do yourself a favor and grab this one. You’ll see what the rave reviews are all about. 5-Stars Reader4Life

The Walking Man – Reviews

The Walking Man

“A story of inspiration, self-discovery, and remarkable achievement in the face of great odds, THE WALKING MAN had my attention from page one. In spite of the dark nature of this story, I found myself laughing out loud at the stark, no-holds-barred style of this novella’s narrator. The author states that the book is loosely based on a true story, and the characters are too bizarre to be anything but completely drawn from real life.

A fast, very enjoyable read that I highly recommend.”

5 Stars – Gae-Lynn Woods

“Largely based on factual experience, this story immediately captivated my interest, regardless of my reservation that the subject matter would have sufficient body. But it certainly does, and the blithe and darkly humorous narrative voice carries the story along amid lovable yet dysfunctional characters – of which there are a fully furnished complement. I never spoil plots, so you’ll have to take my word that this is a book you will surely finish, once hooked after a few chapters. Be prepared to laugh out loud…”

5 Stars – @writeintoprint

“I probably see 10-20 “read my book” messages a day from/by indie authors. I ignore them for the most part, because I have so little disposable time. I picked up this book on an impulse and read it. It cost me a day when I should have been writing, but it was worth it. The story is a sort of modern fable, a tale of persistence, self-discovery and redemption. It’s a novella (42,000 words) and I found it easy to read and quite enjoyable. I gave it 5 stars for the quality of the writing and the directness of the story. Part of the story reminded me of “Flowers for Algernon.”

5 Stars – JJ Toner

“As a paid beta-reader for this book I really couldn’t find anything that needed to be changed. If there was anything that needed to be changed I was simply too engaged by the story to find it. The story itself was engaging, fun, and really made me appreciate the simple ability to walk. I rarely give anything five out of five stars, but this one moved me to such an extent that it is worth re-reading. The most interesting aspect of this book was the way the author only states the lead character’s name twice; both times at the end of the book. It seemed to pull me in as though I was the lead character to a degree; a quality that is very rare for any book. Funny in many places, and sad in others, this is truly a fantastic and insightful look into the life of a quadriplegic. It moved me in ways that only a few of the world’s best-selling books ever have; therefore, I give it a five star review. Enough said, quit reading this review and read The Walking Man! It is well worth your time and can be finished in a day; it may even change the way you view the simplest ability we have: the ability to move.”

5 Stars – Taylor