Monday, June 29, 2015

Writing Out of My Preferred Genre

So, I finished writing the detective story last Friday morning. I re-read it (countless times) edited, revised, re-wrote, and finally put The End on it. Actually, I wrote the end on it Wednesday, but I didn't like and tore it all apart on Thursday. Put it all back together on Friday. Called it done.

Don't get me wrong, I still have another round of edits (and probably ten more), but it's readable and I believe the story's tight. I also have to take a look at the structure. Some places it drags and don't you just hate that. But I have to say, after writing this book, I want to immediately start writing another one.

You know why, I'm having so much fun building these characters I don't want to stop. And I came to a major realization the other day.

I have absolutely no expectations of this story. 

I feel the same as I do when I finished THE LADY'S MASQUERADE. I had no idea what to expect, but I finished what I started. I wrote a detective story of 34K words. And I think it's pretty good.

I don't have a clue who my target audience is. I'm also having trouble with my keywords and BISAC category. Is it a thriller? Suspense? Murder? Police Procedural? Detective? Mystery?

I've been giving a lot of thought to options about this story, Should I query it? Should I submit it in a contest? Should I self-publish? Should I promote? Under which name should I publish? Should I get a new pen name? How much time do I want to invest in a "big" project? Is it worth it to continue writing in this genre, with these characters? (As well as the new Regency series = 2 big projects.)

Or do I not publish at all, put it in my drawer and hide it away.

I've given that some very serious consideration. Would you like to know why?

Because everything I write has been judged. People have expectations. Readers become fans if you do it right. Those fans have expectations of my writing.

If I publish under another pen name, who's going to know it's me? You won't if I don't tell you.

I can hear Anne R. Allen screaming at me from across the states. I don't need another pen name. I already have two. However, Anne, you said it yourself, unless you're writing in disparate genres, you don't need a pen name. And well, I am writing in three disparate genres now.

I'm too stupid to know I don't know what I'm doing. 

But here's the thing...I've been writing and publishing (formatting, marketing, editing, proofreading, revising, and watching the industry change and evolve) over the last six or seven years. I know EXACTLY what I'm doing. Kind of.

Whatever ideas I may have about publishing these stories, I won't know if they'll work, unless I try. Right?

If I do decide to publish any of the detective stories, it won't be for a long while yet. I'm enjoying the high from knowing I started and finished something. (I also painted my office in between the time I began and finished the story -- pics coming soon. June 1 - June 25. I think total writing days equaled 17.)

The only thing I do know for certain, is that I like the story. And I want to write more of them.

Stay tuned!


And yes, I changed the blog back to a more beachy feel. And also the name of it. SEO is what it is.


I hope you all have a safe and non-explosive 4th of July.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Uploading/Publishing to Google Play

I dropped this post in on a Saturday instead of waiting until Monday. And yes, I changed the title, and background in the header. I just can't stand not being on the water. More to come at a later date.


Yes, I finally figured out how to upload to Google Play. And let me tell you right now, if you're thinking about it, don't bother.

1. The dashboard/interface is an absolute NIGHTMARE. It is NOT user friendly at all.

2. You have to change the titles of all your files, but you can't do that until they give you the GG Key. Stupid. (I should say, that if you want to upload your series they give you a template, which then you can use the GGkey for. However, the template didn't work and I got confused as to what I was uploading, so I had to scrap that idea -- and then had to upload each title individually, which I didn't use the GG key for. It was such a pain in the ass, I only uploaded 3 books.)

3. I can't even tell you how hard it was to set up the banking account page. And then to actually have each book correspond to my bank. And then, to set up the book so that all the different countries' money will flow into that account. (Which, incidentally, you need to "refresh" otherwise you may get paid a lower denomination. Money fluctuates in the world as we all know, but YOU need to manually "refresh" your account instead of Google automatically doing it for you.)

4. I cannot seem to get their excel spreadsheet to work on ANY of my computers. I even have a Google Chromebook.

5. Your epub has to be PERFECT, which, on every other platform mine are. Except for this one. It kept telling me it was in error. I sent mine to a friend who checked it out for me. He said it was perfect, shouldn't have a problem. It still did. Finally, after repeated emails to Google, they said it was because my ORIGINAL WORD document was written on Word 2003, it wouldn't format correctly. What? Yeah. (I have no problem uploading original Word docs to Amazon or Smashwords.)

6. And the kicker to all of this -- My books are priced at $3.99 across all platforms. Google decided to discount the price to $3.03. And of course when the Amazon bots found out, they lowered their price. (So I'm earning less on Amazon.) And Google only pays 58% in royalties.(Which is only 2% less than what B&N pays @ 60%, but somehow just seeing that 58% makes me FEEL like it's so much less.)

So, there you have it. I've been published there for 5 months now and have still not sold a single copy even though I have embedded metadata in my files for the Search Engine Optimization that everyone talks about.

I've heard that Draft2Digital and Smashwords, and one other aggregate are trying to get Google Play into their fold, but I haven't seen anything in stone yet. And, from what I read a few weeks ago, Google Play stopped allowing new authors to upload. I can't remember why. (Probably because no one could figure out how to do it and crashed their stupid system. No, that's not the reason.)

The talk for the last year or so has been getting into foreign markets. Three quarters of the world speaks English, and we need to be seen. So far, the only major player is Google. Amazon has a few countries, but have problems in one form or another. However, Google is Android, and it seems the people who look at this stuff seem to think that these billions of English speaking people read books on their phones. Well, obviously no one wants to read mine. And yes, I do realize that I write Regency romance, and it's a niche market, but if I can sell books in Germany, New Zealand, South Africa, and India through various other aggregates, then why can't I sell books on Google Play? They must have found my books by searching for it. What is the largest search engine in the world? Uh, that would be Google. So why haven't I sold any books through them? (And no, this isn't sour grapes, it's just utter, blinding confusion.)

The whole Google Play experience was a nightmare, and the frustration wasn't worth it to get into English speaking foreign markets. Perhaps if I had sold a couple of books, but so far the till is empty. And with Amazon cutting my price because of them, I'm  not really sure if it's worth it to stay.

My advice to you -- wait until one of the other aggregates gets them in their corral and upload through them. In my opinion, Google Play isn't worth all the hype.

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

Writing is Hard "Work"

Good Morning. I've been thinking about my five year plan. I touched on it with this post in January. The Year of the Popcorn Kittens. Writing the Regency series took a lot out of me, in more ways than I ever thought. During my last blog break between March and June my brain just shut down. I didn't want to write anymore. Seriously, I thought about giving it all up. Actually, I just wanted to sleep until I decided to get up again.

However, writing is my JOB. I am (for the most part) an historical romance novelist. That's what I do to make money. Yet, after pushing out so many Regencies, (7 novels and 6 novellas in 4 years) I just didn't want to write another word. But as self-published authors, we're taught to write, write, write. To get it out, publish, rinse and repeat.

not all the books are here

What I had forgotten during the last two years, and what my blog break showed me was how much FUN I used to have while writing.  I always have five or six different WiP sitting on my hard drive. (If one gives me fits, I just go to the next.)

However, the guilt I felt for wanting to abandon my chosen genre was eating at me like a cancer. How could I disappoint my readers if I didn't churn out another series when I said I would write it? Would I lose my fan base? I had found success by publishing every four months or so. Would they wait for the next book? (To make a success of a series, readers don't LIKE to wait. They want to read them all from beginning to end. Write, write, write, publish, publish, publish.)

However, what I found when I sat down to write the next series was that I had no new ideas. I have six heroines I have to find plots for, and I had already pretty much done them all. Mistaken identity, brutish hero, war hero, lies, spies and country bumpkins and long-suffering women who waited for their man to come up to snuff. I had nothing left. And I couldn't bear to do any more research. (The timeline for the new series is set 5 years before the last one. Different wars, different people, different politics.)

So I said f*ck it. Yes, I did. I had written 5 chapters for the new Regency series first book and I stopped.

And let me tell you what a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Writing this detective novel has been like a breath of fresh air. New characters, minimal research, contemporary language. I feel as if I've been reborn. (Could I have any more cliches in that paragraph?)

Like that rhyme we used to sing at the end of the school year -- No more teachers, no more books, no more bully's dirty looks. Well my rhyme is now -- No more Dukes, no more Viscounts, I can write whatever I feel like. Yes, I know it doesn't rhyme, but I never said I was a poet. lol

I'm writing for FUN again and it feels so good. I don't feel guilty. I don't feel like I'm driven to the brink of madness doing research. I don't feel as if I'm wasting my time writing other things when I should be "WORKING".

And this, my friends, is the most important lesson I learned --

No matter WHAT I write, that means I AM working. 

Tell me -- Do you write for fun? Or are you writing as a job? Do you ever feel guilty if you write out of your chosen genre?

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015

Monday, June 1, 2015

I'm Back -- Kind Of

Well, it's been awhile. I got through my mid-life crisis intact. I guess. I'm not sure if that's what it was or not, but life has settled down and I'm feeling much better.

I cleaned my house, or at least straightend out the mess that was my dining room. Here are a few pics to show you the before and after...

the original dining room

note the bannister and the rug

the upper room is now my reading nook
front door entrance and new dining room

note the bannister is gone

the cabinet where I keep my treasures

the other side of the front door entrance

This is what it looks like now because I've started writing again

Yes, I've started writing again. I mean, I can't not write. It's encoded into my DNA. Life just threw me a bunch of curveballs in March and it took me until now to hit them out of the park. Now that I've straightened those out, I'm back to the grind.

I think part of the problem was that I wanted to write other projects and ditch the Regency stuff. It took me awhile to realize I could actually do both. I mean I wrote REMEMBERING YOU at the same time I wrote THE LADY'S FATE. It's all about scheduling and sticking to it.

So that's what I'm doing. Sort of. I'm still not sure about this blog. I hate to give it up completely, this is where my friends are. But I've noticed more and more of them are also giving up their blogs to devote more time to family and writing.

It's hard to keep it up after so many years. With so many other social media avenues to travel on, why keep on blogging. It's not like any one is here anymore anyway. However, on the off chance someone is, I'd like to keep in touch.

So I guess here I am. I'm thinking I'll post updates about once a month. Although, I tried that before and eventually that fell away too.

I do have the other blog, Anne Gallagher Writer but that's mostly for my readers. Although, if you want to stop by and say hey over there, I won't ignore you.

And if I don't see you, have a great summer!

Anne Gallagher (c) 2015