Friday, March 30, 2012

Lottery Insanity

It's another beautiful March day, and a Friday to boot! Cleaning the Breaktime windows today was a snap  compared to the last two times: not much direct sunlight and very light winds! Some people may not realize this, but large plate-glass windows that are affected by dry winds and direct sunlight are hard to clean :)

I stopped at 7 different Breaktime convenience stores today to clean windows and at every location people were buying "MegaMillions" lottery tickets: Lottery Insanity. So what is different about the March 30 2012 drawing compared to others? Basically, over $1 BILLION is up for grabs via tonight's contest!

But wait... should I call it a "contest"? Is it possible that someone MIGHT pick the exact numbers to win the jackpot? Sure, it's possible but only ONE ticket can be the WINNER. And what about runner-ups? NONE!

I was not at all tempted to use any of my dollars to pick a number today. But I was very tempted to tell all those people buying tickets at Breaktime today just to give me their dollar bills. Really! IF the winning ticket is matched tonight, all those people who don't win will be mad at the winner. And it will be someone they don't even know -- nor will they ever know! But by just giving me their dollars, they at least would be able to remember who they GAVE their money to.

On a Betrovia note: two Fridays ago the Kindle version was free and over 2000 copies were downloaded. Since then more than a few have been purchased but not that many this past week. Two days ago, it was free again, this time for two days. And only 50 or so were downloaded. So what was the difference in the two "free" sessions? On March 16, Ebook News Today, ENT for short, publicized that Betrovia was free on that day. This time, ENT was not able to run the "ad." So the difference is ADVERTISING!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

March Madness continued, etc.

So here we are... the second week of the Final Four NCAA basketball tournament and all but one of the top seeds (Michigan State) is still vying for the 2012 title. KU got a mild scare as they were up against a fiesty North Carolina State team last night, but the Jayhawks managed a 3-point win in a low-scoring game. KU now faces the team I picked at the beginning of the tourney to win it all (North Carolina). Do I have any mixed emotions? Not at all! I still fault Roy Williams, NC coach, for leaving Lawrence to take the NC job when Dean Smith retired. I would definitely like to see the Jayhawks send the Tarheels back home. But I don't seriously think the Jayhawks will win.

Someone posted in a writers' forum that I scan on a daily basis this quote from Confucius:

"Find something that you love to do, do it for a living, and you'll never work a day in your life."

I would have to say that I would love to write full-time, relying on the royalties, etc. for all my financial needs. Dozens of people have uploaded e-books to the Amazon servers and are making lots of money selling those e-books. More than a few of those people have spent and continue to spend hundreds of dollars to promote their books, hire cover artists to create dazzling covers, etc. I suppose this old saying is true here: "You gotta spend money to make money." I don't think I have spent even $100 to get Betrovia and the short stories onto Amazon. But what if I invested $300 or so to hire out a professionally-created cover? Would that net even more sales?

Hugh Howey uploaded a short story to Amazon last summer: Wool

Just by word-of-mouth (and not because of some slick marketing campaign and definitely not because of a dazzling cover), that story -- and many others that he has since published -- continue to sell very well.

Hugh's fiction sells because it is good writing.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Going Free... again!

It's another beautiful pre-Spring day! Actually, the weather of the last 10 days has been amazingly warm. Until last Thursday, it was getting a tad dry. Since then, the water has flowed from top to bottom quite readily. It would be nice for us to have a few dry days now to get a handle on the yard grass that is becoming a bit unruly.

Last Friday's "Betrovia for Free!" day as exciting. As of today, over 30 Kindle copies have been purchased and even 2 have been "borrowed" (which still nets me something per each borrow). The downside, if there must be one, is 2 copies have been returned (blast you, silly Amazon 7-day no-questions-asked return policy!).  Before the free day, only two Kindle copies were sold, so I guess it needs to be said that a good "free" day can lead to more than a few sales.

Betrovia will be free again this Friday, the 23rd, and it's hoped that there will be a few more additional sales after that free day ends.

Edit on March 23: Betrovia is NOT free today! I am planning something in April that I need to save the free days for!

The sequel to Betrovia is about 1/2 from "beta" state, and the plan is to recruit a dozen or so beta-readers and to incorporate their feedback before releasing the sequel to the general public. All this should be done before Sept. 21, 2012.

If anyone reading this would like to be a beta-reader, just leave a comment on this blog.

Oh, there will be a few more short stories between now and then... and maybe one of those will be an illustrated version!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

An image to go with Friday's Free Day

2012 March Madness and some Betrovia stuff

While I take what will hopefully be a short break from working on the sequel to Betrovia (which now consists of 30k words!). here's some commentary related to a few March Madness 2012 games that were played yesterday.

The MU Tigers, picked by many here in MidMO to at least make it to the Final Four, had the last shot in their game yesterday to take it to overtime. Phil Pressey's 3-pointer hit the rim and bounced off. The shot was rebounded by one of the Norfolk State players. And then the game was over! MU, a 2 seed, lost to a 15-seed. A 2 losing to a 15 had not occurred since 2001. MU lost because they relied on their long-range shooting instead of working the ball inside. They also allowed Norfolk State to shoot threes; the problem was Norfolk State made too many of those threes. Basically, if MU had put more pressure on the ball in the first half, they would have won that game.

The Duke Blue Devils, also a 2-seed, lost to a 15-seed yesterday as well. They can credit their loss to about the same playstyle as the MU Tigers: not enough pressure on the ball early in the game. Even though Lehigh was 3-15 to end the first half, they were only down by 2 points! Duke exiting the tournament in the first round is not that unusual; they were knocked out that early just a few years ago.

Now with Duke and MU out of the tournament, North Carolina, Syracuse and even KU appear to be the best bets for being in the Final Four. By the way, my brackets have North Carolina taking the trophy (beating the Blue Devils in the process).

Now, on to a few Betrovia details.

The novel, both Kindle version and paperback, sport new covers. A few weeks ago, I was searching the web for an image with which to build a new cover, I found a very nice artsy photo from Rachel Linder. I grabbed it from her blog and used it to put together a new Kindle cover. Then, after letting her know what I had done, I bought a hi-rez verssion of the image from Rachel and used it to construct the cover for the paperback. The original paperback cover was basically provided by Amazon via their Createspace division. So, I was treading in unchartered waters as I worked on that cover, The first one I submitted to Createspace was way too large (and I realized this a few hours after uploading it!) But the second one was formatted to the right size! I ordered a proof last Sunday, and it arrived the following Wednesday, Even though the overall tint of the cover is a bit "greener" than the image I uploaded, I ordered 20 copies which should arrive this Monday.

As you may know, Amazon has a program that allows authors to set their books as "free" for a certain number of days each year. Yesterday, the Kindle version was "free" on Amazon. By noon over 350 had been downloaded. I was pleasantly surprised by that number; when it was free last December, not more than 100 were downloaded on any of the 5 days when it went free. By midnight last night, when it went back to costing $2.99, over 2000 had been downloaded worldwide! I had read that 1000 downloads was pretty good, but am pleasantly shocked that twice that number were grabbed! As of 10:30 this morning, basically 10 hours after the "free" day ended, 3 copies have been purchased. None had been purchased at all this month before today!

I'm hoping that a few nice reviews will also trickle in due to the "free" day.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Betrovia's Shelfari page

It looks like the Betrovia Shelfari page is up and running! Now it needs some TLC!

I added a few things but what do I know about the book?  :)_