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The Final Days

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“Slip Drive” is on its final free days. I only had two days left on KDP Select so I decided to go ahead and use them up. I don’t have plans to renew my enrollment. I have other plans for “Slip Drive” and “Hiroko’s Tale.” I’ll make that announcement about mid April.

What is interesting so far is that “Slip Drive” hasn’t had the crazy upswing like it did originally. I wonder if I’ve hit a threshold and have had as movement on it as it will have. Which I’m not worried about. It’s all a test and I’ve been learning a lot.

Which brings me to something I want to clear up. I’m not expecting either “Slip Drive” or “Hiroko’s Tale” to start making a load of money. I never expected that. I released both of these stories as test runs for self-publishing and how to use KDP Select. Before I get into releasing any novels–which I’m still not convinced self-publishing is the de facto route to take–I wanted to start small.

And that was the right thing to do. Getting the word out there, just for a short story, was practically a second job. If this were a novel, I’d be working non-stop to get it into people’s faces.

This has been a great learning experience. I’m learning on what works, what doesn’t work, and how to leverage different social media outlets. At this point, I’ve even got myself a very outspoken critic. So I guess that means I’m doing something right. Though in their mind I’m doing horrible, terrible things and deserve to have my computer taken away.

Novel Update

I know that I haven’t given much detail as to what my novel is about. I’ve only mentioned that it is a YA Horror novel. It is my attempt to bring back the glory days of R. L. Stine’s Fear Street with a healthy dose of H. P. Lovecraft. The reason I haven’t dolled out the details is because I’m still early in the book and nailing down a lot of the details.

For instance, the main character’s name started out as Kevin Baxter. Moved to Louis Baxter and now has landed on Wilburt Nelson McEnroe. I think you can see why I haven’t brought it up much. I don’t want to confuse anyone more than I have to.

On that fact, I haven’t even nailed down an official title for the series or first book.

But I will say that it is coming along well. Chapter 7 is currently in the works. It has given me some trouble so I’ve had to start breaking down my timeline. Just so I can see how the stuff not happening on the page is working. Questions like, “What is the bad-guy doing right now?”, need to be answered. I have a lot of balls I’m juggling and getting them in the correct balance is troublesome at times.

Thanks for reading and keeping up with my goings on. Have a good weekend, and I’ll see you all on Monday. Right? Write.

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9 Comments

  1. Who is this very outspoken critic? I’d like to hear more about him/her.

    • It was an individual on Reddit. While promoting “Slip Drive” he mentioned that the science was “dumbed down.” After some back and forth on that it came out that he had not even read the story. He was basing it off the free sample (not even the entire first page). After calling him out on that fact he resorted to critiquing the sample and pointing out editing mistakes. Mistakes that had been fixed, but the sample page had not updated.

      After seeing other posts of his, I’ve determined he’s a very sinister type of troll. One that delights in getting people to argue with him. I had fallen for it hook, line, and sinker. I eventually let it go.

    • Alvaro says:

      Hey Matt, I’m the critic. I’m just a random redditor who finds the purported subject matter of Jeff’s book fascinating. I told him that the science he’s dealing with is actually much stranger and more wonderful than the summary of it one of his characters gave. You can find our first discussion here (I’m mesquinho):

      http://www.reddit.com/r/write/comments/pp5mm/happy_valentines_day_i_set_my_hard_scifi_story/c3st3hu?context=3

      Basically, after a discussion of the science he suggested that I read it in full before commenting. I told him I would once he’d found a decent editor, as there were many obvious typos in the work. The conversation continued here:

      http://www.reddit.com/r/write/comments/pp5mm/happy_valentines_day_i_set_my_hard_scifi_story/c3strxj

      I couldn’t believe he was blaming Amazon services and readers for his slow sales when his piece so obviously hadn’t been proofread. So I proofread the sample for him. He took to heart some of my suggestions. However, it seems he thinks that a few of the errors I identified are not actually errors, when they clearly are.

      You can find our most recent correspondence here:

      http://www.reddit.com/r/write/comments/q33dq/how_do_you_describe_new_characters_without/c3ukgum

      Clearly, despite his suggestion otherwise, he hasn’t quite “let it go.” Which is good, because it alerted me to the errors in his description. Hopefully he’ll fix those, too, and have a slightly better chance at more sales.

      I summed up my position at the end of that thread:

      http://www.reddit.com/r/write/comments/q33dq/how_do_you_describe_new_characters_without/c3v031i

      So that’s it. I don’t think Jeff has any real respect for the craft of writing, nor, by extension, his readers, because if he did he would do the basic proofreading his work so sorely needs, or at least find someone to do it for him. Especially after the errors have been pointed out to him! But he won’t. Even after I explained compound adjectives, for instance, he apparently has yet to accept their proper punctuation. I’m not talking about the stylistic suggestions I made – that’s entirely a matter of taste. But readers do expect work to be proofread. Jeff’s sort of writing is very bad for the self-publishing industry as a whole, as exemplified in this popular post:

      http://www.reddit.com/r/writing/comments/pxrqm/why_i_dont_bother_picking_up_cheap_and_free/

      So that’s the state of things. I don’t know what your work is like but I’ll take a look at your blog. I’d guess you have much more respect for your readers than Jeff does for his.

      I’ve elaborated on my position here:

      http://www.reddit.com/r/write/comments/q60m7/an_offer_to_edit_your_short_works_for_free/

      I believe Jeff has mischaracterized me as a “troll.” I honestly do hope he proofreads his work someday, but given my experience with him, I’m not confident it will be soon.

      Peace. I’ll post this directly to your blog as I have a feeling Jeff might not want you to see it.

      • I’ll post this directly to your blog as I have a feeling Jeff might not want you to see it.

        You would be surprised.

        I’ll tell you this, Alvaro. In our initial discussion about the science, you did not come off as someone that wanted to discuss what was happening. Rather, you came off as a person attacking the story. I merely asked that you read it in its entirety before coming to me with you critiques.

        As for Amazon. I’ve actually been doing a lot of research on this. Between my own work and speaking with others about their experiences, I’ve drawn some interesting conclusions. I recommend you read through all my posts about it. However, it has been unanimous that short stories do not do well. Now, if they are within an anthology, sales pick up dramatically. If you look at the reviews of Slip Drive, you will see that as a complaint. Too short. There is actually zero proof that it is from typos and grammar errors.

        I’m sure now that I’ve pointed that out, you’ll run right onto Amazon and remedy that.

        But I will say this. I should, and am, thrilled that you are this enamored by me. You have spent quite a lot of energy to come after me and the small sample of my work. You’ve messaged me directly on Reddit. Taken the time to reply to a comment that wasn’t directed at you. And post a very lengthy response on my blog. Thank you so much for following my movements. I hope you continue the trend and follow my career as I grow and wade through the interesting world that is self-publishing.

        I expect to hear more from you in the future.

        Oh, and the reason I label you as a troll?

        So that’s the state of things. I don’t know what your work is like but I’ll take a look at your blog. I’d guess you have much more respect for your readers than Jeff does for his.

        Such a wonderful, subtle dig. Kudos to you, sir. You don’t have any clue as to who Matt is, but just through a few words of his, can make a guess (educated?) as to his ability. Bravo.

  2. Alvaro says:

    Not sure why I can’t reply directly to your comment, so here goes.

    Props for keeping it up. Still, though, nothing but misrepresentations. Not sure how to do the quote thing, but here goes.

    “In our initial discussion about the science, you did not come off as someone that wanted to discuss what was happening. Rather, you came off as a person attacking the story.”

    Notice how I constantly link to our discussions to prove my point? Do you have any citation for this? I was polite and respectful in our initial discussion. This will be clear to anyone who reads it. I didn’t “attack” your story at all.

    “I merely asked that you read it in its entirety before coming to me with you critiques.”

    And I merely asked you to proofread it before I read it. You seem to think this is too much to ask for. That’s ridiculous, and it still hasn’t happened.

    “Between my own work and speaking with others about their experiences, I’ve drawn some interesting conclusions.”

    Again, I would suggest you proofread your work before you draw any conclusions about this. As we’ve established, there’s a whole segment of people who just won’t pick up self-published work because it has a reputation for being poorly-proofread and -edited. You can’t draw any conclusions about how short stories do from your own sales until you eliminate this intervening factor.

    “There is actually zero proof that it is from typos and grammar errors.”

    Aside from the person who said the beginning and end weren’t well-written. Maybe they’re talking about typos. But again, this is just a ridiculous position. You’re perfectly happy selling a story that isn’t up to the standards most readers expect.

    “I should, and am, thrilled that you are this enamored by me”

    It takes two. You’ve repeatedly said things like, “I’m over it,” and “I won’t be conversing with you anymore,” but you just can’t keep yourself from coming back for more.

    “Taken the time to reply to a comment that wasn’t directed at you.”

    It was about me. How strange to respond!

    “You don’t have any clue as to who Matt is, but just through a few words of his, can make a guess (educated?) as to his ability.”

    What I meant was it would be very difficult to have less respect for readers than you do.

    You still can’t face the central question – why hasn’t your work, or the description, been adequately proofread?

    • It takes two. You’ve repeatedly said things like, “I’m over it,” and “I won’t be conversing with you anymore,” but you just can’t keep yourself from coming back for more.

      What can I say Alvaro. You’re a better man than I. I can’t stop because I do have the need to keep defending myself. I’ve tried. Believe me, I have. But you’re very good at drawing me back in. I guess all I can say is, “I wish I knew how to quit you.”

      At this time I can’t get on Reddit to give links to our initial conversation. I have a chrome extension that limits my time on the site in a given day. The extreme measures I have to go through in order to stay on task. Sad, I know.

      As for my research.

      You can’t draw any conclusions about how short stories do from your own sales until you eliminate this intervening factor.

      This is not from my sales alone. I have gathered this information through talking with other Redditors and bloggers on their experiences. Matching them against my own and then coming up with a hypothesis on why things are the way they are. You still seem to believe that I’m only basing this off my own work, which I’ve never said.

      For the central question. Drum roll please.

      I’m actually working on this. But it takes time. Going line by line. However, taking down the submission to Amazon would be worse for me in the long run as it has already gained some traction. I need to build off the momentum that is there. There are also future plans for the work that I cannot go into at this moment. But that is for a future announcement, once my KDP Select enrollment has ended.

      I do hope you keep checking in with my blog for that announcement. It should be sometime in April.

    • As per you request for citation.

      Citations of how you appear antagonistic.

      http://www.reddit.com/r/write/comments/pp5mm/happy_valentines_day_i_set_my_hard_scifi_story/c3stafq

      The statement, “‘Electrons exist in two places at once’ is so dumbed down it’s just wrong,” comes off as antagonistic. As I’ve said, we must be careful with our word choice over the internet.

      I wasn’t arguing the validity of your basis for the science. I was arguing whether it changed the story in any way.

      When you switched the argument from the science, to the grammar issues, you also turned into someone coming off as antagonistic. You changed the central topic of our discussion. This appears as someone who can’t come up with a rebuttal, so they resort to changing the topic in order to “win.”

      But we all know winning an internet argument is nearly impossible 🙂

      Citations for how you come off as arrogant and wanting to appear “better than me.”

      http://www.reddit.com/r/write/comments/q33dq/how_do_you_describe_new_characters_without/c3uzkv4

      This is entire is my example. Despite how you believe you’re writing it. The tone of it is perhaps not conveying what you mean. Two lines in particular instantly turn me off to you as a helpful source.

      “So I have plenty of legs to stand on (a cliche you should avoid in your writing).”

      As I had said below, an unnecessary dig. You are absolutely correct that we should avoid cliches. But cliches within our formal work. Not from informal discussions. Why even bring it up, unless you mean to take a jab.

      Secondly, this statement.

      “I’m offering to edit Slip Drive for free because you are clearly not up to the task”

      Why is this an arrogant sounding statement? Because you are essentially saying that you are, indeed, more qualified and better than me at this. And you may believe it and feel you have proof for it. However, it is still arrogant.

      A little bit of humility goes a long way.

  3. Alvaro says:

    If you wouldn’t mind telling me how to do the quotation thing, that’d be great, thanks.

    “You’re a better man than I.”

    No I’m not, and that’s the point! You keep saying nonsense about how I’m enamored with you etc, and I pointed out that it takes two, not that you’re worse than me in this regard! So quit pretending I said things I didn’t!

    “I have a chrome extension that limits my time on the site in a given day.”

    This is a very sorry excuse. Use a different browser. Shut the extension off (I’ve seen them and I know you can). I’ll look forward to your citation tomorrow, anyway, of how unreasonably hostile I was before I realized you didn’t care about your readers.

    “You still seem to believe that I’m only basing this off my own work, which I’ve never said.”

    No, what I’m saying is that your work shouldn’t factor in at all. I also wonder how careful your studies have been, given how shoddy your proofreading is.

    “But it takes time.”

    No, it doesn’t. Not a month. Not a month for a paragraph description, or a sample page, or a thirteen-page story. That’s ridiculous, and you know it. You just haven’t done the work.

    “However, taking down the submission to Amazon would be worse for me in the long run as it has already gained some traction. I need to build off the momentum that is there.”

    And here we see the lack of respect for your readers in all its glory. Instead of giving them a polished work, which is better for them but worse for you, you keep it up because it’s better for you but worse for them. I think that’s exactly what I’ve been saying this whole time. You’re more concerned with the marketing, the traction, the momentum, than quality writing. And it shows.

    • It appears as if the block-quote ability is only on my side. It is a function button on the back-end.

      I make the, “You’re a better man than I,” joke as a way to illustrate how you come off through your written word. Your word choice is one that demonstrates arrogance. Whether you mean to or not. That is how it comes off. That is why I highlighted you saying, “…it took me only five-minutes to do that.” The unfortunate side-effect of the internet is that we can’t hear tone and inflection. This is why I prefer in person critique groups.

      I will grab this specific example tomorrow, but it perfectly illustrates my point. I had used the phrase, “no leg to stand on.” You replied that you have many legs to stand on. But you couldn’t leave it there. You had to add in this aside (and I paraphrase for now), “…(which is a cliche and as writers we should avoid them).” Is your statement correct? Absolutely. Was it necessary? Absolutely not. It is a dig. A chance to be pedantic. We are having an informal discussion. Not writing ground breaking new works.

      So read over what you write and double-check on how you are coming off. I probably have made similar mistakes. But I try very hard to make sure I am clear in everything I type. If something sounds like a dig, then it should probably be removed.

      This is a very sorry excuse. Use a different browser. Shut the extension off (I’ve seen them and I know you can). I’ll look forward to your citation tomorrow, anyway, of how unreasonably hostile I was before I realized you didn’t care about your readers.

      I’m not sure how using a different browser is meant to fix this problem. Perhaps I didn’t explain it clearly. The extension on Chrome limits my Reddit usage to ten-minutes per day. I have an unfortunate habit of getting sucked into the site for hours at a time. In order to curb this, I have used the extension as a way to remind myself that I have other things I should be doing. It is the procrastinator and habit forming side of me. So I’ve realized the weakness and have made necessary steps to fix it.

      No, it doesn’t. Not a month. Not a month for a paragraph description, or a sample page, or a thirteen-page story. That’s ridiculous, and you know it. You just haven’t done the work.

      This is an assumption that I have only have one job. And that job is writing. I wish that were the case. Unfortunately I have a very busy life. I squeeze in writing when I can. So yes, it will take me a bit to get the full story edited.

      And here we see the lack of respect for your readers in all its glory. Instead of giving them a polished work, which is better for them but worse for you, you keep it up because it’s better for you but worse for them. I think that’s exactly what I’ve been saying this whole time. You’re more concerned with the marketing, the traction, the momentum, than quality writing. And it shows.

      And if this is how you feel about me, then write me off. Why even bother coming here to talk about it? You make it sound as if I’m someone you detest. The worst of the worst when it comes to self-publishing. Why spend your time and energy on me? That is why I am most curious.

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