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No, don't worry -- I wasn't in a car accident. Nor have I broken any expensive glassware.

This is just me pimping the fact that No Return is now available on, a site I hadn't even heard of before today. Basically, it's a storefront where indie and self-publishers can make their books available in a myriad of ebook formats (and when I say myriad, I mean it: html, javascript, mobipocket, epub, pdf, rtf, ltr [for Sony e-readers, although they also read epub], Palm Doc, and plain text). Best of all, it's only $4.95, which is far better than the sucky $19.95  list price for the paper version (what's even suckier is that I get about $1.67 of that cover price after Amazon, Lulu, and the IRS take their cuts). So if you thought you might like to have a copy of your own but were balking at that $20 cover price (and I don't blame you!), maybe $4.95 is a little more palatable.

Also, now that Sony has started offering e-readers for $199, those are a little more palatable as well, although it seems a lot of people are reading ebooks on their iPhones or their iPod Touches. I don't have any of those, but I'm always a late adopter of new technology, because I'm cheap. :-P (I'd be more likely to get a Touch than an iPhone, though...I absolutely refuse to sell my soul to AT&T just so I can have a cool phone.)

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Actually, this post has nothing to do with that. Or maybe it does on some quantum level, but since I'm not a physicist I can't really tell for sure.

I find it sort of funny that today I got reviews for two of my WIPs that I haven't updated in awhile...when I'm actually in the midst of writing updates for both of them. So for once those little "update soon" pleas won't be in vain. The Terminator fic update will probably go up tonight, and Refugees should follow in a few days. Not saying I've kicked writer's block to the curb, but I'm sort of forcing my way through it. I just try to tell myself that even 500 words is 500 more than I would have if I did nothing, and so far, so good. Slow progress is better than none at all.

Total non sequitur:

I should probably not bother reading reviews of No Return on Amazon, because if there's one thing I've learned it's that people on Amazon are nasty (and no, it's not just me being thin-skinned -- I've seen pro writers leave comments on various blogs that they don't bother looking at the reviews over there anymore because people on Amazon suck major ass). However, I can't resist making this comment for the latest person to crap on my book (and it's still got four stars, so I guess I shouldn't be too worried about the whole thing):

Dear bitch-tastic reviewer:

If, according to you, what makes the story of the Phantom of the Opera is the Opera house, the Parisian setting, the whole gothic Bel Age vibe, then WHY THE HELL DID YOU BUY A BOOK THAT IS CLEARLY LABELED AS A "CONTEMPORARY" PHANTOM STORY???!

Talk about setting yourself up for disappointment, dipshit.

No love,


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Just checked my Lulu revenues. After that wench left that completely bitchy review about No Return on Amazon, guess what happened to my sales? Plummeted! In September I sold 22 copies. In October...3. Yeah. I can understand not liking a book, but ripping it a new asshole while revealing so much about the plot that it's rendered basically useless to anyone else who might be on the fence about it? Not so great. I'd really like to track down that wench and send her a big box of flaming turds.

This has really made me feel like writing today...NOT!!!!!!!
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This is a rant.

Or maybe a small semi-rant on one thing, and a genuine rant on another.

Or it could just be me losing my mind (always a distinct possibility).

Ff.n's instituted a new ripple in its alert systems -- it now sends you an alert any time someone adds you to their author alerts or puts you on their favorites list. Fine and good, I suppose -- I never paid much attention to those stats, frankly. However, now that I get an alert each and every time someone does that, it brings to my attention the fact that way more people seem to have me on alert or on their favorites list than actually leave any reviews. OK...still not sure of the dynamic there, but it does make me think, Gee, if you liked it enough to make it a favorite, would it kill you to leave a review? Even an "OMG plz rite moar soon!!!111!!!!"? But whatever.

However, I guess I should be careful what I wish for, because today I got a review for No Return (it boggles me a little that I still do get a few reviews for NR every once in a while, considering how old it is, but OK), where the reviewer told me she loved the story and that she was its biggest fan but that she really, really wanted me to change Erik's age so he was only five to seven years older than Christine.

Uh...wut?? (Hence the use of the icon for this post.) I realize that the story is a contemporary POTO AU, but one of the main dynamics between those two characters, starting with the original book and continuing on to the musical, is that Erik is much, much older than Christine. The age difference contributes to the imbalance of power between the two. Changing Erik's age distorts that tremendously. I can only think that this reviewer must be someone who came into the fandom because of that godawful movie and therefore thinks Erik should be damn hot and in his early thirties. Le sigh.

And this has nothing to do with fandom or writing or anything else, but you know what really chaps my ass? People who say they're going to call you to set up an appointment and don't. I don't know many people who like the feeling of being left hanging forever. Call and say it's not going to work out, or if you're too chicken to do that, then send a bloody email. But limbo ain't no fun. (Unless it's a dance you're doing at someone's backyard luau.)



Jun. 6th, 2007 03:35 pm
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Wow, I sold 30 copies of No Return off Amazon last month! And they were bought by people who don't even know me! (Too bad I'm only making like $1.12 per book...sigh.) Still, another month like that and I'll at least break even on the production costs. :-P


Feb. 27th, 2007 10:44 am
christinex1001: (Default) dropped its price on No Return to reflect the adjusted MSRP. So now it's selling for $19.99 instead of the ridiculous $28.30 they had on there before. I know that sounds like a lot for a paperback, but that's just the way POD works -- printing costs are higher than they would be for books that have been ordered in runs of hundreds or thousands of copies. Sad to say, after everyone gets their cut and I pay taxes on the little bit I earn, I'm bringing home about a dollar a book. So it's not as if I'm trying to gouge anyone on this with maxed-out royalties.

The good news is that the book is eligible for Super Saver shipping, so you only need to add $5 more in products to get free shipping. Here's hoping that the reduced price and shipping advantages will result in some actual sales. (Not that I'm hoping to be the next JKR or something, but it would be nice to sell a couple.)

Here's the link, in case you were thinking about it. I do have one very nice review on there at least. :-)


Dec. 16th, 2006 05:34 pm
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Well, just got my second copy of No Return from lulu today, and luckily all of my corrections made it in (OK, one comma got left out, but it's not technically wrong without it, so I doubt anybody except me will care). So I went ahead and approved it, which means now it will go through the slow and laborious process of being added to the Amazon, etc. databases. I do have a storefront on Lulu now, so you can also buy it there if you're so inclined:

Other than that, it was a quiet day. Puttered around, went to Lowe's and got rained on (but I'm the sort of person who'll stand out in the rain for fun, so I didn't mind), and I got all my party invites for my HP party next month sent out. Halfway through licking all those envelopes I began to feel like George's fiancée from Seinfeld who croaked after ingesting too much toxic envelope paste, but luckily all I got out of it was the usual "ick" flavor in my mouth. But that's one more thing out of the way, thank God.

I think I'm going to go eat some chocolate now. ;-)
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OK, so I've got this mostly straightened out (I think).

No Return is now available directly through Lulu:

It probably won't be available through Amazon or B&N or other online retailers until about a month from now, since it takes time for these things to get into the pipeline. Also, because I did have to make some corrections after I got my first proof, I had to order ANOTHER proof (God, this is such a racket), and I can't give final approval until I receive it and look at it (which should be this Friday if they follow the same timeline they did w/the first proof). Frankly, at this point, unless I find a massive typo (which I doubt, since I only caught two in the whole book, and those have been fixed), I'm going to approve it. After a while you just have to let things go. Once it's approved it will be in Books in Print, and from there go on to the online retailers.

Unless you just have to have it now for Christmas or whatnot, I'd suggest waiting, since lulu's shipping is kind of expensive (and although trying to figure out the whole "retail pricing" versus "lulu pricing" versus online retailers' ACTUAL pricing made my head want to explode, as far as I can tell, it will probably be a few bucks cheaper once it finally shows up on Amazon et al.). I gave myself a fairly small royalty ($5 per book), but I refused to go any lower than that; writing a 108K-word novel takes some effort, and I designed the whole thing and did all the typesetting myself as well. I think that comes out to something like .00005 cents an hour by the time I'm done. ;-)

Anyway, just wanted to let everyone know, since some people did ask when it would be available.

Oh, and we got our Christmas tree yesterday. We wanted to take advantage of weather that actually felt like winter before SoCal betrayed us again. We had mulled wine whilst decorating it. Yummy.
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I was just thinking about all the things I've written over the past few years (and the stuff I still have ongoing), and it seems as if a lot of the time I hear a song and it just seems to fit whatever's going on in the story. Do you guys do that? So if someone made a movie out of my various fics and original works, these are the songs I'd like to play over the closing credits (this is in no particular order, BTW...and for some of my stuff I haven't really heard anything that fits):

No Return: Bring Me to Life (Evanescence)
Sympathy for the Devil: Like a Prayer (Madonna...ha-ha)
The Overlooked: Love Song (the Cure)
Absolution: I Will Remember You Still (I don't know the's off the Mists of Avalon soundtrack)
Only Eyes to See: Heaven's a Lie (Lacuna Coil)
Blood and Ashes: Heartache (Gene Loves Jezebel)

No Return update: I went ahead and bought the global distribution package off Lulu and ordered an approval copy, but it won't be completely ready until I receive the book and upload the final interior pdf (if nothing else, I have to correct the copyright page to add the ISBN they assigned me). It SHOULD be in my hands in about a week, so I think it will make it in just under the wire for Christmas ordering. I'm just letting everyone know because a couple people expressed interest in purchasing a copy. If you don't care about having it for Christmas, you might want to wait until it's available through Amazon, just because their shipping is cheaper than buying direct from Lulu. At any rate, I'll keep posting updates here as it moves through the pipeline.
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You know what's tough about self-publishing?

It's not writing the damn thing.

It's not copy-editing it obsessively.

It's not laying it all out so it looks pretty, doesn't have an inordinate amount of widows/orphans, and has a page count that's divisible by four so the printer doesn't kick your ass.

It's not even designing a fun-looking front cover.

No, kids, it's coming up with the nifty blurbage/marketing crap for the BACK cover. Sigh. Publishing houses pay people to do this. I, on the other hand, the Publishing House of One, have been staring at the blank space where the catchy synopsis should be on the back cover for far longer than it should take me to write about 200 words, considering that I routinely crank out 1500-2500 in a day.

Thank God I have a couple of weeks to figure this all out....
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I think I drove my car to the closest it's ever run out of gas today. But I did manage to limp it into the Arco by work...only to have the #$@!! machine reject my ATM card. Thank God I actually had cash on me for once. (And no, the balance in my account had nothing to do with it...the stupid thing was just being ticky for some reason.) Normally I wouldn't have cared over-much, except that I had been hoarding my cash to go out tonight, and now I have to find an ATM somewhere around here before I head over to my friend Kim's for the evening.

It rained this morning...I love lying in bed and hearing the rain dripping off the eaves. Unfortunately this lovely cool weather is going to be replaced soon by nasty hot dry Santa Ana-ness, but I'm enjoying myself while it lasts. I was actually able to wear boots this morning. I never thought I'd get sick of seeing my toes, but I'm very tired of sandals. I want to wear REAL clothes again.

Strange dream last night. I went to see [personal profile] logospilgrim, whom I've actually never met, but she was out running an errand or something, so  her father and I started chatting about something or other. I thought I'd help out by doing some of the dishes (like I don't do enough in real life!), but then her father wanted to ask my advice on something and took me to a room in the back of the house where all these people were congregated. Turns out her father was a voice teacher, and he told me I'd been neglecting my voice for far too long and stuck me up on a little platform/stage with a karaoke machine and told me to have at it with some Phantom of the Opera music! Guess this is what happens when you go to bed w/o eating anything except a piece of bread because your stomach is acting up....

The funny thing is, I actually was researching karaoke machines on Ebay yesterday because I want one for my Harry Potter party. We really wanted to do karaoke at Worldcon, but oddly enough there are NO karaoke bars near the Anaheim Resort. Fascists. Renting the equipment is quite expensive, so I figured I'd just buy a halfway decent unit and start stocking up on some fun music. Come on, who doesn't want to see Professor Snape singing "Do You Think I'm Sexy?"?

Inner debate. Do I put an author photo on the back cover of No Return or not? This is tough for me because every freakin' photo I have of me is in costume. My friend Darren thinks I should use this one:

...but I think that's a bit much. It was taken ten years ago, and besides, how much of a Christine fangirl do I really want to look like? (Although I have to admit that's about my favorite picture I've ever had taken.)

Gack. One hour and I'm out of here.

I'm saved!

Sep. 13th, 2006 04:06 pm
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Kim finally got back to me and said she'd look over No Return, so [profile] elementalevil, you're off the hook! (Sorry, but you've got enough on your plate w/having to deal w/the Amazon's workload in addition to yours.) I'm hoping we can get together on Friday after work; she has the day off, so it's a good way for me to do Friday afternoon traffic avoidance (because even though it sucks the rest of the week, it's even worse on Fridays for some reason).

This is scaring me, because after all this time I think it's really going to happen. :-o
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I may have mentioned at some point that I was going to publish No Return through Lulu. (And if I didn't, well...I am. I have to do it this way, because I published a version of it on ff.n, thus destroying my first publication rights. Le sigh.)

Right now I'm printing out the final version that I put into InDesign and made pretty, and I'm about to go over it w/a fine-tooth comb. I asked a good friend of mine to give it a read-through, but I haven't heard back from her and am afraid I'm getting the blow-off. Oh, well. It's amazing how hard it is to get people to read your writing...RL people, that is. When I was putting the thing up on ff.n it seemed as if my dedicated readers were going to drop dead if I didn't update quickly enough, but that sort of frenzy does not seem to translate over to the real world, unfortunately. I'd really like another set of eyes to look at it, because, even though I am a copy editor by profession, it's far too easy to miss stuff in your own writing that would stick out like a neon sign in someone else's work. But I really want to get this off to Lulu and in the pipeline by the first of October so that it's available on Amazon by the holidays.

One problem I had was coming up with a cover design that I liked. For all my fics of course I just kype photos of celebs or models who look like my characters, but you can't do that with a book you're going to sell (not unless you want to get sued into oblivion, that is). Also, not being over-burdened with worldly wealth, I couldn't afford to hire an artist to do an original illustration. So I had to design something more generic but which would still fit the tone of the book. After fiddling and fiddling and fiddling until it felt as if my head was going to explode, I finally came up with something that I halfway liked. What do you guys think?


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