Archive for the ‘Meta-Issues, Real Life, Out of Character, Etc.’ Category

13
Dec

My healthcare company review

   Posted by: amrath

So, after burning nearly an hour of my time on the phone with FloridaBlue, dealing with obstinate, ignorant reps who are itching for the chance to pass you off to someone else, I finally flung the phone at the wall, and at some point managed to get someone in their webchat who could actually resolve my issue.

And it’s not as if this was a difficult thing. I just wanted to know why I HADN’T RECEIVED A BILL IN MONTHS! I was only getting them paid on time because I was proactive enough to log into the website and find out my bill. I would have thought GETTING PAID would be high on the list of Important Things reps would be instructed to address, but apparently, it is not.

The worst thing, though, is they have the nerve to ask my opinion of their customer service after the fact, and if I was likely to recommend them to a friend. And I am thinking, “Well, this guy was ok, but he’s like the only one.”

So I wrote them this:

Your customer service is abysmal. We’re talking do-it-yourself dentistry levels of misery EVERY TIME I try to resolve anything by voice. After spending far too long on the phone, I finally dug around on how to get some help via chat and got the answers I needed.

Do-it-yourself dentistry, guys. Without novocaine. That’s what it’s like dealing with 99% of your agents. I FINALLY found someone knowledgeable, but it took entirely too much of my time. How am I supposed to earn money to pay your exorbitant rates, when you think nothing of wasting a half hour of my time just to figure out how to PAY YOU?

So, no, I would not recommend you to a friend, or even an enemy. I would not pay you at all if I had any alternative. You literally have me in a life-or-death hold.

I can’t even imagine what benefit you imagined this little survey would have. The IRS is more likely to get a positive review.

To the poor bastard who has to read these things: You’re welcome. It must be really dreary, slogging through this stuff. Yes, I had fun, too.

29
Nov

WGW coming along

   Posted by: amrath

Ok, so in theory I have 4 months to get this done before I hit my personal deadline. I think I am on target. I have a day job and a family that demands much of my time, but even so, I SHOULD be able to get a chapter a week finalized, and many are already written, though perhaps not to the quality I feel they should be currently. Sixteen weeks, and (currently, subject to change) sixteen chapters.

I can do this.

 

1
Sep

Anticipation

   Posted by: amrath

Hurricane inbound. Baby inbound. Could get ugly….

 

15
Aug

Baby coming soon

   Posted by: amrath

Welp, looks like the second wild girl will be making an entrance Real Soon Now. I am just hoping she waits until after Friday. My mom will be here to help out as of then, but man, if the baby comes before then, it’s going to be…complicated.

 

2
Aug

Ghouls

   Posted by: amrath

You know what really pisses me off? Ghouls. Not the D&D kind, but real life parasites that try to profit from the dead. My friend Paul Steed was buried four years ago. Love him or hate him, Paul contributed much to the games industry, and he personally convinced me to push on with my writing.

I never had the heart to take him off my Skype. I am furious that subhuman spammers have taken to sending me links on his account. It’s despicable.

Elgar take the people responsible. May their deaths be legendary, and recorded by a Knight of Fear.

28
Jul

How should I play this?

   Posted by: amrath

So, as it turns out, I also have what I consider to be a pretty nifty short that just happens to be final (i.e. with cover and everything) today. And I have to admit, I am uncertain how I should handle it. Should I release the short too, or maybe hold back on it a bit and use as a leader later?

Open to suggestions. I am still very much a neophyte when it comes to marketing strategy.

16
Jul

Advertising: I’d Prefer a Root Canal

   Posted by: amrath

It’s inevitable: you have to get the word out. I started this venture some years back with the foolish notion that somehow people would just find my work and if it was good enough, it would flourish. Yes, painfully naive, but there it is. I took the lack of success as “not good enough”, until the few people who had managed to stumble on my work corrected me.

So I began the year with a promise to myself that I would figure out how to do this. I have studied a lot of thoughts on promotion, and there are as many takes on what is best as there are which god or gun is superior, which is to say “not quite infinity, but almost”. (Asymtotically approaches infinity?) Wait, come back, I’ll stop with the math jokes right now.

So, I’ve tried free giveaways of “The Dead God’s Due” on KDP. Not all that successful, a handful of books downloaded, nothing more. It’s just hard to stand out, as there are lots of free books. You can pay to get the word out. I did that, and got around 2500 downloads. Sadly, I think the ‘free book junkies’ are more collectors than anything else. I would have thought I would have gotten a review or something, even a hate mail, out of so many downloads, but in truth, I wonder if anyone read the work at all. If they did, they certainly had nothing to say.

Finally, I tried Amazon’s pay-per-click ads, and it seems to actually generate some small interest. I decided to work on my blurb to perhaps attract more clicks, and cancelled the one ad to replace it.

Suddenly, the ad is rejected. “Your cover doesn’t meet our guidelines.” It did before, but suddenly it doesn’t. After a week and a half of wrangling back and forth with customer service trying to work what could possibly be the problem, I finally wring an explanation out of them:

“In this case, the ad was rejected because of the skull. I know that this might not be consider as violent as other objects that a cover may contain, however, Amazon’s priority is to respect our customers and readers as much as possible, so the policies regarding what an ad can contain are based on what a person consider offensive. Since our customers involve adults and children, with different beliefs and tolerance of what they consider offensive, we take this matter very seriously and that why images like this can’t be advertise.”

Yes, that’s right, a freakin’ skull, you know, the same symbol even Disney has no problem using in children’s shows. The universal symbol for poisoning. The cover of many editions of Gray’s anatomy. The thing you see plastered on billboards and filling the shelves in October. It’s verboten. It might offend someone. (I couldn’t care less about the opinion of a hypothetical quivering pool of jello who would be offended by a skull. I don’t even believe such a person exists.)

Okay, what is acceptable in an attempt to depict an evil god? Dunno. Spend another hundred bucks or so on your cover and we’ll arbitrarily reject it again if we want.

Ok, maybe I can advertise my cowboy exorcist story instead. Nope. No guns, either, and I am guessing a demon would also be “offensive”. My vampire-zombie-soldier story? Nope, no blood, even if it’s just a tiny spatter on the title. Apparently, anything that suggests tension, conflict, or that not everything is warm and fuzzy unicorns farting rainbows has the potential to be offensive, which shoots pretty much any honest cover for horror, war, or non-unicorn fantasy right in the face. It’s nearly impossible to commission a cover I know will pass muster because the interpretation of what is acceptable is completely arbitrary. Oh, you have a jar of peanut butter on your cover. Clearly that would offend people with peanut allergies, cover denied.

Still debating whether I will change the cover for DGD, or gouge out my own eyes with a spoon over the madness of it all. While I am deciding, I guess I’ll see how Goodread’s ads work for me. Of course, I’ve been awaiting an approval on that campaign since Thursday. (bangs head on desk)

It’s absolutely mind numbing how risk averse the publishing industry has become. In a business where free speech should, by rights, be held in the highest esteem, lawyers and crybullies have boxed us in to the point we can barely create at all. I feel like I am in the Death Star garbage compactor. (Ad rejected, the word “death” may offend some audiences).

Could we please just shut down all the garbage smashers on the detention level?

12
Jul

It’s done

   Posted by: amrath

“The Mad God’s Muse” is ready to go. I will do one final pass to make sure I haven’t done anything stupid to break things, like I did yesterday. I did an automatic replace of all double spaces to single, and somehow managed to replace them with zero spaces instead, introducing a lot of unintentional types. And, yeah, this was after I had the book proofread. (facepalm)

Oh, it doesn’t end there. I decided it would be a good idea to update “The Dead God’s Due” as well, in prep for releasing MGM. I discovered this morning that I had released DGD with a ton of missing space typos, and set to work fixing it, with much gnashing of teeth, tearing of hair, and wailing. See, it doesn’t end there, either. (double facepalm)

Did I mention I was running an ad for DGD today? No? Well, I am, and anyone who actually buys a copy today will get a typo-filled mess. It takes many hours for Amazon to actually update the book after I upload the fix, so I am sitting here agonizing, hoping no one will buy any copies until it updates. (triple facepalm)

I guess it is what it is. At least I caught it soon.

Now to get the createspace version in place.

22
Jun

   Posted by: amrath

I am in the home stretch for the second book in the series. It’s finished, but I want to make sure it’s the best I can possibly do with the time I have. I can’t take a pass through and not find something I hate, some thud I want to change, some passive voice tossed in that could be excised. It will never really be ‘done’, in that I can no longer find fault with it. It will only be ‘done’ in the sense that I must let it go and move on.

Since I actually set up the preorder page on Amazon, I hard a hard time limit, and that’s probably for the best.

 

9
Jun

   Posted by: amrath

Did well enough yesterday to get featured in ebookdaily. Thanks for helping spread the word, guys!

Ebookdaily125

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