Sunday, 25 July 2010

A fortuitous happenstance.

Apparently Lulu did something wrong and have apologised. I had noticed nothing amiss, but it seems their system didn't properly catalogue the short story book, Fears of the Old and the New. It was, I thought, very good of them to deal with this and very good indeed of them to give the book a 15% discount until the 15th of August. I am impressed by their professionality in this matter.

It will help with the practice promotion exercise. The business side of writing is extraordinarily difficult to master and makes me all the more appreciative of the work Jeani Rector puts in to promote The Horror Zine and its books. It was always obviously hard work, but the true scale of it is astounding. I can also, now, better understand why the Alien Queen Mother had had enough after eight years of it.

Well, since Lulu have provided me with this opportunity, I will have to make the best of it. The discount applies only to the print version, not the Ebook which is already cheap, nor, unsurprisingly, to the free download version.

Until August 15th, then, the book is 15% discounted. There have been a few sales but no reviews as yet. You can, of course, review and rate it based on the free download if you prefer not to spend money. Reader response is far more important to me than profit at this stage - I need to know whether I'm getting this whole thing right or wrong.

The book link is here, and should you choose to buy the print version before August 15th, you can use the following discount information, provided by Lulu. After the 15th it won't work any more but the download will still be free.


Use coupon code BEACHREAD305 at checkout and receive 15% off Fears of the old and the new.. Maximum savings with this promotion is $10. You can only use the code once per account, and you can't use this coupon in combination with other coupon codes. This great offer ends on August 15, 2010 at 11:59 PM so try not to procrastinate! While very unlikely we do reserve the right to change or revoke this offer at anytime, and of course we cannot offer this coupon where it is against the law to do so.


It would be around this time, too, that I would be considering an Alienskin article. It's become a habit and my typing fingers are getting twitchy.

Maybe I should write one anyway and put it here, in memory of the passing of Alienskin and also to keep myself in practice.

This is not a good time to get lazy.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010


A very strange man appeared at my door today. He said he was from the Water Board. I have read about this waterboard. it sounds very unpleasant indeed and not a hobby I plan to take up at all.

His proposal involved piping water into the castle, and me paying him to do it.

I was, naturally, perplexed by this. Why would anyone want their home full of water? Furthermore, why would anyone want to pay for it? It would make quite a mess, I think. It's possible he had confused me with a trout, although his experience of fish must have been limited because none of my oddities include fins.

His smile was too wide and too white to be trusted. 'Everyone needs water,' he said.

'Well, yes,' I said, 'but I live in a swamp. In Scotland. Water is not hard to come by. It drops out of the sky most days.'

'Ah,' he said, 'but we sell treated water. It's very nice. You should try it.'

The village homeopath, Avogadro McNothing, sells treated water. It tastes the same as the stuff that drops out of the sky. This is not surprising because that's where he gets his water too. I pointed this out and the Waterboard man laughed. A rattle followed by a wheeze. It sounded like Caligula shaking a puppy to death.

I wondered, aloud, why anyone would pay for water.

'We control all British water.' he said.

'Really? Could you perhaps arrange to drop rather less of it around here? I have water tanks on the roof but they've been full for a long time and I have enough to be going on with, thank you.'

'Oh, we don't control the rain. It only belongs to us when it hits the ground.'

Fortunately, having tanks on the roof means the rain doesn't hit the ground. I suppose that means it's still mine. The stuff that comes through the roof, however...

'You'd better come inside.' I said. 'There's some water that belongs to you on the floors of several downstairs rooms. It would be nice if you'd take it away.'

He looked confused. That white smile blurred with the shaking of his head. I led him inside and showed him the leak in Caligula's room without, naturally, going in myself.

The leak is still here, the water is still here, and so is he.

In spirit, at least. I hope Death calls again soon. It's time for a cleanup. This one is really far too noisy.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Fears of the old and the new.

Well, I have my practice volume prepared for marketing purposes. It won't be easy. Lulu prices are on the high side because of the nature of their business, and postage can be steep in some places.
Therefore I have prepared the same book as an Ebook, which is cheaper and naturally has no postage costs attached to it. The stories are all previously published apart from two. Those two are so intertwined with other stories that they won't sell on their own, not this long after the others came out. It made sense to put them next to their linked stories.
Now to see whether I can sell any.
These days, it's not enough to be a writer. You have to be a salesman too. Art for art's sake is all very fine and good but it pays no bills.
This book won't pay any bills either but if I can get the marketing side of things right, then one day, when a novel comes out, I'll know what to do.

Monday, 5 July 2010

A use for the old stuff.

The publisher I sent the book to hasn't responded yet. This could be a good thing or a bad thing. I can't interfere in the process for some time yet because you have to allow a publisher three months at least. It's not a speedy business, this writing.

While waiting, I have perused my collection of old short stories, those that have been published and are now offline. It's not really worth trying to sell them again - short stories earn little or nothing first time out, and it's much harder to sell second rights on them. Not really worth the effort.

So what to do with them? I thought I might put up a collection on Lulu. It'll cost me nothing and even if it doesn't sell, it's a handy backup for all those stories. Rather than have them only as bits on a disk, they could be tied together in one small book.

This naturally excludes any that are in real print. There's no point competing with myself by reprinting stories I've already had printed elsewhere.

I don't expect the anthology to be a blockbuster, I don't expect it to start the cash rolling. I don't even expect it to sell. It's just a useful way to store those old stories so I don't lose them.

For the real-publisher work, I'll need to learn a little about marketing. There will be mistakes at first. Well, let's be honest. There will be spectacular blunders at first. I'd rather not apply those blunders to any book that manages to get real-published.

So I'll use that anthology to practice on.

When I have at least some idea of what I'm doing, then a collection of the horror articles for AlienSkin could be the next Lulu project.

It's either that, or let them rot on a hard drive forever.