Must. Not. Kill. Amazon.

 

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No one ever said this indie author gig was going to be easy. But I want to take just a quick moment to whinge loudly about Amazon.

Now, I’m normally a proud supporter of Amazon and the Kindle platform. Frankly, I’d be out of a job if Amazon hadn’t launched a service that allowed indie authors like me to connect directly to readers. They pretty much single-handedly changed the book publishing industry, and arguably, in a good way. So gold star to Amazon.

The thing that boggles my mind is this, well actually, a little back story first . . .

Watcher is my first novel. Ever. So there’s a bit of a steep learning curve * in trying to figure out what the hell you’re doing, and how to do it well. I overestimated my abilities to pull the whole thing together by myself ** and ta da – I sent my dysfunctional spawn out into the universe.

No content editor. No copy editor. No professional formatter. Big mistake.

Shortly after giving birth to this thing, I decided that for everyone’s sake and my professional sanity, I’d yank it from the shelves and give it to a content editor, Bev Rosenbaum. Of course, this was after I’d already written 2/3rds of Protector, but hey, I don’t like to take the easy way! <sarcasm>

Bev had many good points and a lot of hard, home truths, so Watcher got a massive overhaul, something like cutting out 20,000 words. That’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears right there. But I didn’t stop at Bev. Oh no. Bev recommended that I go to a copy editor, someone who was going to help me “pretty up” my actual words, not just the concepts. Already burnt out and not relishing the impact it was going to have on Protector, I was worn down enough that I was like, “What the hell. It’s only my sanity, right?” In came Amanda Sumner and POOF! Another 10,000 words disappeared. Yep, what started out as 128K words dropped to 103K then a final trim to just under 80K. Ouch.

But hey for the greater good, right? And so what if I had to re-write all of Protector again and push it back by two years?

So anyhow, back to Amazon.

I’ve busted my ass to get everything ready for Protector‘s release this week. I mean I’ve been on fire and I’ve had some very talented people behind me to make this happen (thank you, Amanda and Guido). Everything should’ve been perfect – final files uploaded, covers tweaked, paperback proofs ordered, blog and author pages updated everywhere. I was riding the high of my life.

Except for one tiny issue. Amazon doesn’t automatically update a book file for a previous purchaser.

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Yep.

What that means is that everyone who was an early adopter of Watcher the first time around currently cannot download the new, revised edition of Watcher, which is actually a big deal because . . . THE ENTIRE ENDING HAS CHANGED. THERE ARE CHARACTERS THAT DON’T EVEN EXIST ANYMORE. KILL ME NOW.

All of my perfect planning and ramping up to Protector‘s release on Sunday goes crashing to the floor. If people try to read Protector without reading the new version of Watcher first they’re going to be like, “What the hell was that?” And frankly, I don’t blame them.

Because it makes no sense that Amazon, with all its capabilities, doesn’t automatically do the update or worse case scenario, let’s the author do it.

So my apologies in advance for those who are daze and confused by this entire post. The upshot is I’m waiting on Amazon to decide whether or not my changes warrant an update. Once they’ve made a decision, I’ll let you know if and when Watcher version 2.0 can be downloaded.

Now I need a drink.

 

* understatement of the year

** plus 3 beta readers

Shhh…

top-secret

I’m currently drowning in the color purple. And while that may seem nice if you’re a unicorn or a pack of Skittles, my eyes are like “Screw this, we’re going to the Bahamas. Where’s the spare suitcase?”

Purple dust jacket. Purple header. Purple namey thingy. Purple books all over the freakin’ blog.

God, so much purple.

That aside. Guess what? We’re almost there. Little tiny yay. In a whispery voice. Because I don’t want to jinx myself, and I don’t want a stampede on my Amazon page. Hahahaha. No, really. So close. Soooooo almost there that I can feel it.

As usual, ibooks is a pain in my ass, Amazon is doing a great job, my formatter, Guido, is on top of things, my copy editor, Amanda, is helping with the final back cover copy, and we’re just about ready to order proofs of the paperbacks.

Holy cow. It’s really happening.

Right now, you can pre-order Protector (ebook format) from Amazon here. Release date is Valentine’s Day. Yep, cheese-o-rama.

Watcher is back up as well, although it’s currently listed at 99 cents. It will be FREE as soon as I can get ibooks to sort itself out. It will also be available on iTunes if you really have to use Apple.

Paperbacks of both books will be available sometime around February 21st for everyone who goes old-school.

As a side note: ibooks really is horrible and Apple’s lack of support for indie authors is really irritating, therefore, Protector will only be available on Amazon for now.

Almost there.

protector_comingEverything is go, go, go in Watcherland today. Well, actually, it’s been all week. I’ve been bogged down in mobi and epub files, updating Amazon and goodreads like a madwoman, tweaking out of date stuff on the blog . . . just about everything that you forget about until it’s time to launch a book.

The good news is that we’re likely to be soft launching next week. The ebooks are pretty much done, paperbacks are still a work in progress, but it’s all coming together.

I have Guido Henkel to thank for all of this, really. Besides being an old mate of the husband’s and a videogame veteran, Guido has been involved in the indie publishing world for quite some time and is a master then it comes to putting things together nicely. In this case, he’s my Oz behind the curtain. He’s pulling and twisting knobs and levers all over the place to get Watcher and Protector formatted across all the major platforms. The days of me doing it myself are long over. Guido is the man. Oh, and he’s also another indie author, too.

Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep up a decent word count on Betrayer while starting to panic about book promotion, guest blogs, reviews, all those incredibly useful things that every author is loathe to do. If all we had to do was write then we’d all be best selling authors, right?

Anyhow, this blog will be transitioning over the next week or so and may have some confusing content as we ramp up to launch. It’s not official until an announcement goes out so disregard all the gribblies between now and then.

And thanks again to everyone who’s been so patient. Hopefully it’ll be worth the wait.

-Shawnee

Not Alan Rickman, too.

alan-rickmanThe universe is testing me. Or that’s what it feels like today. I’m a bit tired, stayed out too late at the Bowie tribute, woke up this morning with a slight edge, only to find out that Alan Rickman has died, too.

Of fucking cancer, too.

God damn it. Another one.

We can figure out how to grow meat in a petri dish, but we still can’t slay the monster that kills more than 1,500 people a day in the US. Cancer is the ultimate equalizer and while it may not be the Grim Reaper of the medical world, heart disease gets that slot, it comes a close second. If heart disease had a right hand man it would be cancer.

Fuck you, cancer. You’re a right ol’ bastard.

I’m tempted to continue to rant about cancer, but let’s talk about Alan Rickman instead.

There was a quality about Alan Rickman that is hard for me to describe – a certain gravitas about him that every time I heard his name, I couldn’t help but repeat, in a rather horrible English accent in my head, that he was an “actoooor.” He had that weighty, intellectual demeanor that spoke of his seriousness about his profession, that he could’ve just as easily fit in on the stage in Shakespeare’s time as he did in ours. If someone had told me that he was a time traveler from the 16th century, I would’ve been like, “Well, that explains it then.”

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Alan Rickman was that whole Renaissance package: an actor, a graphic artist, a worldly-conscious patron. His brooding looks, deeply-seated voice, and elegant poise captured his audience, making him the perfect thespian, whether as the deliciously evil character of Hans Gruber, the complicated, tortured soul that was Professor Snape, or as Harry, a cheater who you wanted to shake, yet you couldn’t help but be sympathetic towards anyway. He could wear many hats and bring his gravitas to all of them equally.

I’m sorry to see him go. He was 69 years old, just like Bowie, which seems so young in this day and age, when we boast of cutting-edge science and top-notch medicine, when we can do things like grow protein in a bowl, or put a spacecraft on Mars. Life can be full of horrible juxapositions and vicious oxymorons. Whatever way you look at it, Alan Rickman died way too soon.

Farewell to you, sir.

 

 

 

Saying Good-Bye to the Starman

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It took his death to pull me out of my writing frenzy and back here. I know. I’m terrible at keeping up this blog. My guilt has a lot to answer for. But it’s one of those things that had to be done. I wasn’t willing to let one of my heroes go without saying some things about the genius of a man who helped shaped me into who I am today.

I didn’t come to Bowie in the usual fashion. Even though I was a child in the ’70s, I wasn’t a child *of* the ’70s. Nope. Ziggy Stardust was released the year I was born and was Bowie’s 5th studio album. Fifth! Can you believe it? I wasn’t even a twinkle in my dad’s eye when Bowie started recording! It would be three years later after his self-titled debut before my parents even got married. That sort of stuff blows my mind. “Life on Mars” was released on Hunky Dory in 1973, a year after I was born. Finally, at least I existed by the time my favorite Bowie single came into being. Thank god.

But embarrassingly enough, while Hunky Dory and early Bowie is where my heart is, my gateway drug was probably Let’s Dance. I know. Don’t hate me. To be fair, I got Bowie on both ends during my teenagehood. “Little China Girl” was on MTV and I was starting to listen to the Smiths as a twelve year-old loner and then as I got to that awkward social outcast phase around fourteen or fifteen and starting to listen to the Cure then Bauhaus that’s when early Bowie came back on my radar. It was like, “Where did this odd, peculiar, yet-so-cool-I-can’t-stand-it man come from? Yeah, I went from Robert Smith to Pete Murphy to the original. It really happened that way. And of course, moving into the Goth scene from there, what Goth on the planet wasn’t a Bowie fan? It was a pre-requisite back in the day. No self-respecting goth band denied Bowie. It just wasn’t done. The man touched everything.

But that’s the thing about Bowie’s genius. It’s timeless, almost eternal. He speaks to you and by you, I mean all of us. Everyone I know has a Bowie story. And I mean everyone. Whether they liked him or thought he was just “okay”, my FB feed has been filled for days now with people sharing their truths about a man who undoubtedly is one of the biggest cultural influencers of our life time. Listened to Bowie while skinning up in the school parking lot? Check. Lost virginity to Bowie in the back of an old Impala? Check. Dated a girl in high school who wanted me to dress like Bowie? Check. Had a crush on him even when he was old enough to be my dad? Check.

Everyone has got a story. By the way, none of those are my story, ahem, just so we’re clear on that . . .

I’ve blathered on for a couple of paragraphs now and haven’t even touched on his acting career, or his videogame stint (really?), his partnerships with other greats like Eno and Lou. There is so much to this man that it would take more space than I’ve got here. And let’s be honest, Bowie isn’t definable. He defined.

In a couple of hours from now, I’ll be joining a rather eclectic horde of misfits in celebrating the life of David Bowie. It’s a last minute thing that includes musicians, actors, fans, artists, hippies, goths, clowns, old people on unicycles, jugglers, fire breathers, actually I might’ve made some of those up, but basically a hundred plus and a local camera crew. It’s going to prove to be an interesting night, I suspect, but I’m glad I’m going. I’m glad to go out into the darkness tonight and revel and make merry mischief in the name of a man who left this world much too soon, but left us a legacy to remember him by.

Good-bye Starman. It’s time for you to go home.