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Of Promos and Cons and Other Things — not necessarily in that order

Whew! There for a moment, I thought I’d lost my mind. I logged into the Dashboard for the blog and was greeted with a new interface. Worse, it went “Beep, Boop” and I’m only on my first cup of coffee this morning. Finally it loaded the new post page and OMG! it was different. Apparently, someone at WordPress took a page out of Facebook’s book and decided to fix something that wasn’t broken. Just as I was about to email Sarah and whine at her, I saw the button letting me revert to the old interface. Needless to say, I wasted no time doing just that. Now I can get on with the blog.

First things first. A major erotica publisher has announced it has released its freelance editors and cut staff because sales from Amazon have dropped dramatically over the last few months. Ellora’s Cave is a major digital first erotica publisher. Until the staff cut, it published something like 10 titles a month. As with so many publishers and authors, Amazon is its main outlet. So when there is a decline in sales there, especially if the decline is marked, it is a cause of concern. What has impressed me with the announcement from EC is that there is no blame being thrown at Amazon (despite the rather incendiary headline on this Publishers Weekly article). Instead, EC has taken steps to lessen their financial burden in the short run and is doing something unheard of with the Big Five — it is actually talking with Amazon to try to figure out what the problem might be. The suspicion is that it is due to a change in Amazon’s search algorithm and that very well may be it. Many of us have learned the hard way that you have to keep up with the current search terms to make sure our books come up not only when you search for title and author but also key words.

What I find ironic — or maybe just interesting — is the fact that there isn’t a big hue and cry going on on FB about how evil Amazon is killing EC. The usual suspects are silent. Perhaps it is because EC is an erotica publisher and below their notice. Perhaps it is because they haven’t heard — doubtful. My suspicion is that they are silent because EC isn’t jumping on the Amazon is Evil bandwagon. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks and I hope EC stays as communicative about what it finds as it has been in discussing the issue and their steps to deal with the drop in sales. If the cause is the change in search algorithms, it is something all of us need to keep in mind.

In other words, once we publish a book on Amazon — or any other outlet for that matter — we don’t just walk away and wait for the royalty payments to come rolling in. We need to revisit the blurb periodically and keep an eye on the tags we used when we first put the title up. It is amazing what there is to see — and correct — on a blurb after a bit of time has passed. I challenge each of you to do just that today for anything you’ve had published for more than six months. Look at your blurb — including its layout — and ask yourself if it looks and reads right. In other words, do you have a hard return (extra space) between paragraphs or does it look like you have one long paragraph as your blurb? Are there spelling or grammar problems in the blurb? How about a period at the end of the last sentence? It’s amazing the things that looked right when first published don’t look so wonderful after some time has passed.

Now, for the latest post to send me into near head-explosion land. I say near head-explosion because, unfortunately, this is the sort of crap I’ve come to expect from a certain segment of folks. The Daily Dot published an article about the “growing generation gap” and how it is changing fandom. It was readily apparent from the beginning of the article that the author has little use for those in sf/f who are over a certain age. If the classification of WorldCon as a “huge old dinosaur” didn’t tip the reader off, perhaps this did: “Younger fans would regularly cringe as Worldcon veterans stood up to make some kind of mildly offensive or irrelevant comment—or to steamroll young female panelists when they tried to talk.” Funny how the author doesn’t give any specifics to back up this comment. Not that I’d expect it.

Now, I will admit that we need to do something to reach out to younger fans. That’s a given. But in doing so, you don’t alienate those who helped make the genre what it is today. If you are one of the “new generation”, you don’t come in and push out those who have been there long before you. Instead, if you are smart, you sit back and you listen. You learn. They were once the new generation and, guess what, you might actually learn something from them. Sure, they might not play WoW or know that you can find slash fic online but they know how to reach readers. Their books are the ones still selling, years after being first published. How many of us will be able to name this year’s Hugo winners in five years? Heck, how many of us can name them now, only a week after the award?

Another problem I have with the article is that it compares WorldCon with NineCon (iirc). They are two very different sorts of cons. WorldCon is not a huge fan con, not really. Oh, I know there will be those who say I’m wrong but think about it. It is a con that has been basically built around the awards. It is where authors and editors get together. It isn’t one that really reaches out to give fans a reason to spend thousands of dollars to attend. Admit it, the only reason many folks even knew about WorldCon this year was because of the controversy surrounding it.  WorldCon isn’t meant, at least in its current iteration, to celebrate things like graphic novels and video, much less video games. Comparing it to a con that does revolve around those formats is another case of the SJW/GHH crowd comparing apples and oranges.

I’d also suggest thinking before hitting the enter button if you want to be treated with respect. Comments like, ““It’s okay, because someday they’ll all be dead,” isn’t going to make those “dinosaurs” want to include you. Why should they when you show such derision for them and for what they did for the genre?

If you really want to have your head explode, read the comments to the article. If you ever had any doubts that there are folks out there who believe “boys bad, girls good” and no in-between, you’ll see them there. It’s all too much for me without more coffee — or maybe booze.

Finally, there are a number of indie and hybrid authors doing a Labor Day Weekend Promo. You can find a preview of participating authors and titles by clicking here. All titles will be $2.99 or less. Now, a couple of caveats. First, the promotion starts Friday. If you follow the links before then, you may find higher prices. Second, there are still authors asking to be included, so this isn’t the final list. It will be updated throughout the day today. Everything should be finalized by tomorrow afternoon. Finally, the titles are broken down by genre first and then by author within the genre.

And, on the promotion front, here are a few of my titles that will be included:

coverforvfaVengeance from Ashes

(written as Sam Schall)

First, they took away her command. Then they took away her freedom. But they couldn’t take away her duty and honor. Now they want her back.

Captain Ashlyn Shaw has survived two years in a brutal military prison. Now those who betrayed her are offering the chance for freedom. All she has to do is trust them not to betray her and her people again. If she can do that, and if she can survive the war that looms on the horizon, she can reclaim her life and get the vengeance she’s dreamed of for so long.

boxsetcover2Nocturnal Lives (Boxed Set – includes Nocturnal Origins, Nocturnal Serenade, Nocturnal Interlude)

(written as Amanda Green)

Special price of $2.99 though September 5th.

This “box set” includes the first three novels in the Nocturnal Lives series.

This is more than a 60% savings over what you’d pay if you bought Nocturnal Origins, Nocturnal Serenade and Nocturnal Interlude individually. The price will go up after the promo to $6.99 (iirc).

 

67 Comments
  1. https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A200PDGPEIQX41

    Hmm, I see they’ve added a few, and removed one I use regularly. And I also ought to check the blurbs, update any covers . . .

    August 26, 2014
    • Pam, it was checking the rankings on a couple of my books and finding them listed in new categories — who knew there was a category for shapeshifting detective mysteries — that had me realizing things had changed again. So I’ve been slowly working through my stuff and making sure the tags are what they need to be. Does it have books sometimes showing up in sub-genres I’d never expect? Sure, but it also gets some readers I’d never be hitting otherwise.

      August 26, 2014
  2. sanfordbegley #

    I have never been to a shouty old white man con. Is that limited to Worldcon or can I find one local or regional to me. I’ve never considered myself shouty but, it might be fun to try.

    August 26, 2014
    • You are a baaaaaaad man, Sanford. 😉

      August 26, 2014
    • SBP #

      In the highly unlikely event that I ever organize an SF convention, it’s going to be called “Trigger Warning”, with a scary-looking gun as the logo.

      August 26, 2014
      • jselvy #

        Awesome, that’s a Con I want to go to.

        August 26, 2014
      • sanfordbegley #

        I want to go to that one

        August 26, 2014
      • Oh, you’re going to have Larry as the logo? The SJWs and GHHers have already said he scares them. 😉

        August 26, 2014
        • Good. They can chose to stay away and the sane people can heave a sigh of relief as they hit the off switch on their terminology PC checker and have fun.

          August 27, 2014
  3. Angus Trim #

    The article kinda sounds like it was written by someone going to an event just to find something wrong so they could write about it with dramatic appeal to her own customer base.

    I found it funny for that reason. Probably as realistic as the one Larry panned last week, though that was a gaming convention and was supposed to be racist.

    Always someone trying to play an angle and dramatize it.

    August 26, 2014
    • So true. Not that they would admit it. After all, they are the conscience of the genre and of fandom and they would never, ever twist the facts to suit their purpose. Nope, not ever.

      Riiiiiiight.

      August 26, 2014
  4. celebran #

    I feel like I need to go kill, butcher and eat something after reading that article on the Daily Dot. Maybe the the problem she observed at the WorldCon is her as it seems like she really wants to push the “progressive” agenda. I did a quick search around the Dot site and there does seem to be a lot of “help, help, we’re being oppressed” type of articles.

    To each their own I guess.

    August 26, 2014
    • To each HIS own! Don’t be cowed by the Grammar Feminazis!

      August 26, 2014
  5. Okay, Amanda, but you missed the FUNNIEST part of this. The current crop of SJWs are in their late thirties, early forties, that is, about 10 years younger than I, but they class anyone ten years older than them as “old”. I could write an article about this, the problem being they were brought in ten years ago by the establishment and promo-ed as “new and vibrant” and promised the Earth. The Earth hasn’t materialized, so it must be someone’s fault.
    But the funny thing here is that they’re no spring chickens, and they don’t appeal to the young, either, who find their plaintive SJW cries annoying.

    August 26, 2014
    • SBP #

      The Nielsen Haydens are well into their fifties, and “progressive youth movement leaders” like Bill Ayers are pushing 70.

      Not to mention the bizarre notion that Marxism is something new and fresh. Marx died in 18-friggin’-83, guys. It’s been tried. It doesn’t work. Ever.

      August 26, 2014
      • Yep. That too. But in SF most of the “mean girls” are ten years younger than I, if that, and call me old, which is worth a laugh.

        August 26, 2014
        • Uncle Lar #

          It would seem that they also call people their own age old.
          It just doesn’t apply to them. Certainly not inside those pointy heads of theirs.
          As for “mean girls” it is to laugh. I’ve seen you wound up and in full attack mode and it is a sight to behold. Preferably on the sidelines and well away from ground zero.

          August 26, 2014
          • yes, but I’m not a “mean girl” in the sense of colluding with a group to ostracize/mock someone.

            August 26, 2014
            • Uncle Lar #

              Well of course not. You after all are good and kind, if somewhat twisted and devious. You being a writer and all. When you strike it’s because your target had it coming, “they needed killing,” so to speak, and even then your restraint is admirable. Or maybe that’s just Dan’s influence. He did after all manage to save the life of one particularly nasty individual at Liberty a year ago. May have saved you an assault charge as well, though we’d all have sworn it was some random stranger from off the street what done it.

              August 26, 2014
    • So true, as is the fact that many of the “mean girls” are actually guys who obviously hate their own manhood.

      August 26, 2014
  6. OK, I read the LonCon/WorldCon piece. I admire the organizers for trying to bring in more “tracks” to what really is more of a meeting than a fan con. And I agree with some of the commenters on the original piece: she’s comparing apples and oranges.

    That stuff about having “leave me alone” badges at a Con . . . I know it’s done, and why, but . . . I can imagine what the sensitive souls will want next, and there goes the Con.

    August 26, 2014
    • celebran #

      Being that sensitive I’m surprised they even go out into public. But, not only do they go out in public but the SJW’s demand the public conform to their “sensitivity”. I wonder if they had any colored pins relating to a persons phobia’s or allergies? Here’s a tan pin if your allergic to nuts, here’s a crystal one if you are sensitive to perfumes, wear the fence pin if you don’t like crowds and want to maintain space around you… blech.

      That will be the next google glass app. You look at a person and a list of preferred behaviors, likes and dislikes will come up the same as a virtual business card or fb profile so people can appropriately interact with the person. It could even overlay a virtual distortion on people that don’t want to be viewed as objects so they aren’t stared at by strangers.

      August 26, 2014
      • And then someone will complain about other con-goers spending too much time looking at the complainant’s badges (and suits from people who walked into potted plants and pillars as they tried to page through the Con handbook trying to sort out what the four colors for interactions/allergies and string of symbols for preferred pronoun meant.) And why didn’t the military sci-fi panel with John Ringo, Tom Kratman, and Elizabeth Moon have trigger warnings on the door, on placards in the audience seats, and in at least four different languages on a banner above the speakers’ table? (Which would make for a great scene in Kate’s next Con book, with a demon or something mis-labeling certain panels to generate chaos in order to cover for something else . . .)

        August 26, 2014
        • Craig #

          Just try the politics panel @ DragonCon (from Mike Williamson’s blog):

          Title: Politics in Sci-fi Time: Sat 05:30 pm Location: Regency V – Hyatt (Length: 1) Description: How politics of today inform the writers of science fiction.(Tentative Panelists: Michael Z. Williamson, Lee Martindale, S. M. Stirling, John D. Ringo, Dr. Charles E. Gannon, Elizabeth Moon)

          August 26, 2014
          • Christopher M. Chupik #

            That’s better than the politics panel my local con did two years ago. The only author on the panel was a socialist.

            August 26, 2014
    • Uncle Lar #

      Years ago I was involved in putting on a Mensa Regional Gathering, think con with slightly less SFF involved. Our RG was noted for its hugging contest. There were awards given, and secret judges. What we did was offer colored dots at registration to put on your badge. I forget the code, but one color was “go for it,” another was “ask first,” and yet another meant “thanks but no thanks.” Worked quite well even amongst the less socially skilled attendees.
      Only complaint I recall was that we had failed to designate a color for “take me! take me now!!!” But my response was, “get a room you’re scaring the horses.”

      August 26, 2014
    • I don’t want to imagine what those oh-so-sensitive souls will want next. It scares me. Shudder. My question is why, if you want to be left alone, do you go to something where there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of people? It makes no sense to me.

      August 26, 2014
      • jselvy #

        I met my (now departed) wife at a con. They would be horrified that men like me use the opportunity to find women of similar interest for potential mates.

        August 26, 2014
  7. or for speaking out against racist subtext in a genre favorite like Firefly or Doctor Who.

    Wait, what? I could follow most of the rest of it. Different cons attract different people, so what? But that line stopped me in my tracks. (If I was making tracks, that is.)

    August 26, 2014
    • BobtheRegisterredFool #

      It is easy enough to show that Doctor Who is white supremacist. It apparently has strong themes against weapons and lethal violence. Or at least in some incarnations. (I recently read some in the Doctor Who RPG book.) Of course, any form of arms control is really white supremacist.

      Firefly was made by Joss Whedon, who probably voted for Obama, and hence is…

      Oh, wait, I take it you aren’t someone who enjoys anime by finding pro-Axis revisionist history in it?

      August 26, 2014
      • Jess #

        Dr. Who had Rocket-Propelled Grenades? Awesome! What season was that?

        August 26, 2014
        • BobtheRegisterredFool #

          Role Playing Game.

          August 26, 2014
        • Matthew #

          Tom Baker’s Doctor used a machine gun once. And he’s blown up any number of planets.

          August 27, 2014
    • celebran #

      I was wondering what the racist subtext was in Firefly… maybe that it’s the evil white people that are cast as villains, or that Mal, the white guy, is in charge.

      August 26, 2014
      • kali #

        It’s because Zoe always called Mal “sir”.

        August 26, 2014
        • This makes me wish to kidnap them and drop them into boot camp, but it probably shouldn’t surprise me they miss the whole war thing and what that means for how former soldiers talk to each other.

          August 26, 2014
          • Eamon J. Cole #

            I followed the link, and then drilled around trying to find the origins of the subtext in Firefly, found a link back to how it’s a “rape narrative” — squeezy vasculature.

            You’re right, but it’s not “former.” The author of that piece is immediately insulted that Zoe is taking orders from Mal in the midst of the WAR!

            You see, it’s not about the chain of command, it’s about a white man telling a black woman what to do.

            She rolls down through a whole series of “does she even understand humans?” observations. By the time she lands on the “homoerotic” nature of all of the interactions between male characters my fingers might have been tingling. Blood shunting, good times.

            I am left sad, education has failed her. It has taught her to evaluate every aspect of life via symbology, and only through the symbols unique to her particular sub-focus, denying all agency (hah!) to any individual that does not share such sub-focus and reducing all others to oppositional elements in her tightly choreographed life-script. Bug-nuts.

            As to the gender gap nonsense. Narcissistic twits. Oh, sure, blah-blah-blah you so edgy and hip. No young demographic has ever said such about an older demographic in the history of evah! 😐

            All I’ve got left on that: Don’t assume you’ll still be around for my death, kiddies. Sometimes life is mean.

            August 26, 2014
            • Christopher M. Chupik #

              Oh, dear Lord! I remember that nonsense. I hope Whedon just ignores the morons and keeps on doing what he does.

              August 26, 2014
              • Eamon J. Cole #

                Yep. We’re in sync on that one.

                August 26, 2014
            • “The Chain of Command is the one I beat you with til you understand who’s in command.”

              August 27, 2014
        • jselvy #

          Somebody doesn’t understand how ships must work.
          The Captain is ALWAYS ‘Sir’. The authority of the captain must be inviolate. If this changes, mutinies, sinkings and other bad things will ensue

          August 26, 2014
          • But, but, but that’s not fair! Sniffle. All crew should be equal, some — the glittery kind — more equal. How dare Firefly have a captain who was male and irreverent to boot!

            August 26, 2014
            • jselvy #

              The French navy tried that after the revolution. It really didn’t work, but there were often comical results. A committee is absolutely not what you want in command when Nelson is bearing down on you.

              August 26, 2014
          • kali #

            To be fair, I don’t remember any of the other crew members calling Mal “sir”, even if he was the captain.

            August 26, 2014
            • None of the other crew members served under him during the war.

              August 26, 2014
        • What was she supposed to call him?

          August 26, 2014
          • jselvy #

            Jive Honky?

            August 26, 2014
      • I’m still trying to come to grips with Thomas the Tank Engine being sexist. 😮

        August 26, 2014
        • jselvy #

          Well, early tanks had sexes why not locomotives?

          August 26, 2014
        • I can’t even begin to come to grips with that. The mind boggles.

          August 26, 2014
        • Christopher M. Chupik #

          You see, the engines are all long, thrusting objects, constantly going in and out of tunnels . . .

          August 26, 2014
          • BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD MAN!

            August 26, 2014
            • Christopher M. Chupik #

              Fourteen!

              August 27, 2014
          • … is this part of that Engineering Manual fanfic that was being discussed a few posts ago?

            *starts building the fire and spit to roast the incoming carp*

            What? I expect it to at least be as big as the fish that eats this shark:

            August 27, 2014
      • BobtheRegisterredFool #

        Firefly is white supremacist because Joss Whedon is white supremacist because Obama is white supremacist because of gun control, True Critical Race Theory, energy policy, et cetera…

        August 26, 2014
  8. robfornow #

    I once was an optimist, I really thought people had value; after meeting up with Liberals, SJW/GHH, I have had second thoughts. I now think that MOST people have value but, need protection from L-SJW/GHH. Those loonies are dangerous to anyone at any age. The gal on Dot is easy to explain, she is a entry into the hive and is try, trying with broken nails even to snuggle into the hive mind. From the comments, there are a lot of snookums holding out their blankies. This one will fade into the ooze soon, I think.

    August 26, 2014
    • Uncle Lar #

      Two sorts of people in the world. Those who lust after power over others, and those who have no such desire. That first bunch may be hard left, extreme right, or middle road. In just about every case they use a belief system seriously at odds with reality to attempt to take control.
      Personally I find the left the easiest to deal with as they tend to espouse the most ridiculous positions. Doesn’t mean they are not dangerous, just that it’s easier to make fun of them.

      August 26, 2014
  9. Okay. I stop by here for a dose of sanity on a semi-regular basis. I caught the early posts that defined GHH as Glittery Hoo-Haws, and remember the description had me giggling into my tea (even if I can’t remember the details now. I must be one of those “older” folks that are getting in the way of the young’uns, and my mind isn’t what it used to be). But I totally missed the SJW post, and I can’t come up with the definition from the context. I was hoping for a “search” function, or a glossary, or a secret decoder ring in my cereal box. (There are Cheerios all over my kitchen floor now.) Saintly Joyous Women? Semi-Jewish Wingnuts? Surreal Josh Whedon? Simple Jealous Whiners? Help me…

    August 26, 2014
    • Eamon J. Cole #

      Well, Simple Jealous Whiners is now part of the lexicon.

      Originally: Social Justice Warriors. Subsequently: Any suitable snarky take on the theme.

      August 26, 2014
      • 🙂 Thanks for the help, Eamon!

        August 27, 2014
        • Eamon J. Cole #

          Certainly. Thanks for the new definition!

          August 27, 2014
  10. tkanthonyauthor #

    Ah! Social Justice Warriors! Finally found it on an slang dictionary…right after the link to the San Jose Water Company, which was a bit of a red herring. But if I’m ever in San Jose, I’m good to go…

    August 26, 2014
    • If you’re going to San Jose, be sure to wear a Social Justice Warrior in your hair…

      I’m not sure, but it does have a nice beat.

      August 27, 2014
      • I believe SJWs can often be found in one’s hair. Or on one’s back. But I’m not sure I know the way to San Jose…

        August 27, 2014
  11. In regards to the top of the article, the EC thing. Some of the people at Amazon, the gate-keepers let us say, have problems with erotica. Serious problems. And they’re trying to get rid of it. If you’re an indy publishing erotica on Amazon, you will find the standards have changed quite a bit from last year. Quite a bit.
    Now, I write PNR and Erotica under a pen name. I write it 1) because I like money, and 2) because it’s really good practice at dialoguing and writing characters and plots in a very small space (10K to 12K words). Women can be a very tough audience and they are the ones who buy the vast majority of those works.
    I have had works rejected for no apparent reason from Amazon, and had to re-submit numerous times, sometimes I changed a word in the title, until they were published. Amazon maintains a strict ‘we will never tell you what we don’t like’ policy, so you have to guess at what their reasons were.
    I also had a work not only rejected, but it was -banned-. Banned so hard that they locked the submission and won’t even delete it from my dashboard. So I just took the paperback version I had on createspace and had them publish it as an ebook on Amazon. Sailed right by the censors and sells rather merrily.
    That was when I realized that Amazon is actively censoring indy writers, and I suspect over time, they will censor first the small publishers, then even the bigger ones. Unless of course whoever it is that is dead set against Erotica gets removed.
    Now Barnes & Noble on the other hand, well I sell ten times as much PNR and Erotica on B&N than on Amazon. More on a good day. It seems that a lot of the people who bought those things on Amazon are moving to B&N and Smashwords, because that’s where the stories are going. I would tell the people at EC to concentrate on those booksellers. The readers are still out there. They’re just not at Amazon so much anymore.

    August 28, 2014

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