Goodbye 2016

I certainly won’t miss you…

It has been a rollercoaster of a year, that’s for sure. Not all was bad, but a lot of things sucked very, very much. This year has taken more from us than we ever imagined, and I for my part am ready to see it go.

I’m looking forward to 2017. It’ll start with the launch of my very own LGBT Romance Deals Newsletter, continue with a release of a novella (Loving History) and the fourth book in the Unexpected Series and then see the release of a m-preg book I’m writing with Aria Grace. For my German readers, there are some books already with Main Verlag, so you can expect those, too. Oh, and I’m translating and doing covers, so I will definitely be busy in 2017. But I’m looking forward to it.

So, goodbye 2016. Welcome 2017. I hope you will be a better year for all of us.

 

Release day and a much needed break

 

Photo of small bridge entering the morning mist

Mate Me, Hate Me, Date Me, Love Me releases in a few hours and I wanted to write a celebration post. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am because I never believed this book would be finished. But it is. It will release. The ARCs are sent out, the book is uploaded to Amazon and ARe. Everything is ready to go.

 

BUT, while I’m happy, I’m more. I’m tired. So very tired. I’ve been pushing myself, writing three to four hours every day, at night, when the kids are in bed, in the mornings, before they get up. Whenever I had time. I know,  three to four hours doesn’t sound much, but it is when you have a household, two kids and a 30 hour work week. For me, it’s a lot. Too much.

I love it, don’t get me wrong, but lately, it’s become a burden. Mate Me, Hate Me, Date Me, Love Me drained me. I read it so many times, I couldn’t see the words anymore. I edited it to hell and back. I played around with the cover, with the content, with everything. This book has grown on me, I love it dearly, but while I’m ready to release it to the world (I couldn’t stop it now anyway), I’m not ready to move on. I can’t start a new book. Okay, truth to be told, my next story sits at 15k, but I can’t write it now. I can’t bring myself to open my document.

I need a break. I’m empty. Totally. Once, I breathed words, I lived them, I needed them. They filled my life, pouring out of me, onto the page. Now, there is silence (It’s scary when the voices are suddenly silent!). I won’t lie and tell you that I’m not afraid. I’m just starting out, I have so many stories to write, what if the voices won’t come back?

Deep down inside of me, I know they WILL be back. A few already whisper, but they are too quiet for me to really hear them. There are stories I want to write, need to write, but first, I’m going to take a break. A week, most likely two. No writing, just reading and playing stupid online games, but I won’t open a document for the next two weeks.

I might get cranky or bitchy because of my break, so please bear with me. Maybe I find my voice back in a few days and start again with the passion once inside of me.

Have you experienced the same? What did you do about it?

Yesterday, I learned a lesson

shutterstock_388981504I recently told my mum I’m writing romance. While I don’t hide my writing (anymore), I don’t broadcast it, since I’m living in a very, very small village and I have two kids in kindergarten. I have no idea how people here will react, but it will stir up some waves. Everything does.

A few months ago, I couldn’t even think of coming out of my hiding, but recently, I discovered I don’t care much anymore. If someone has a problem with me writing about love, then THEY have a serious problem. Not me.

Anyway, back to my lesson. My mom comes with my family to Euro Pride Con in June and she has to watch the kids when I go to Southampton for the GLBTQ Fiction Meet. That meant I had to tell her. Also, I’m very proud of my success and I don’t want to hide it from my family.

The talk went like: “Mom, I’m writing.”

“What are you doing? Writing? As in horror?”

“No, as in Romance. (In Germany, we say ‘Liebesroman’, which sounds 100 times worse. I cringe every time I have to use it.)

“You’re using a pen name?”

“Yes. Of course.”

“Good.”

 

That was it. Nothing bad, but then, I didn’t expect anything else. A couple of days later, she called to request a book. One of mine. And she told me a few times to NOT forget it when I visited her. So, being the good daughter I am, I brought her Small Steps. She gave me a M/F romance instead, so I could see she’s reading that stuff. (Note that I still haven’t told her it’s gay Romance)

So, I pressed my book into her hand and told her (I didn’t think she realized it from the cover) that it’s gay romance. She didn’t even react.

 

Imagine how short my fingernails were until I heard back. Especially since I saw the book once, with a bookmark just before the fist sex scene. While I’m old enough to do what I want, getting told by your mom she hates your writing or whatever would’ve sucked. She’s very open-minded, but I still didn’t know how she’d react.

 

Yesterday, I saw her again. She told me she finished, she loved it and she wants to give the book to her friends! AND THEN SHE TOLD ME THERE WAS NOT ENOUGH SEX IN IT! She hated that there were only two sex scenes in there, and the other times, the bedroom door closes.

My own mum. I swear, I couldn’t say anything.

 

The lessons I learned: I shouldn’t be so nervous about telling people what I’m doing and I should never ask my mum if she thought there is enough sex in a book. She also wants to read another book (Two Ruined Christmas Eves) and since she noticed a typo, I named her to be my proofer from now on.

 

I love my family. (And if you’re reading this, mum: I love you! You’re the best! I don’t think I’ve told you that in a long time, but it’s the truth. )

 

The Tricks in KU

This post was published on a German Selfpublishing Blog and I asked the author for permission to translate it. The original post can be found here: Die Trickmaschen in KU

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Imagine you could create e-books that contain more than 3000 pages, with just a tiny bit of effort. With a single Kindle-Unlimited subscription, you can now click through the book and earn 9,90 € (3000 x 0,0033 €) (USD 10,84). With that, your abo is paid for, and if you have a free trial month, you already earned 9,90 €. If you create 100 of these books, you can already earn 990€ (USD 1084). If you find 10 people who click through your books (maybe for a bit of money), then you can earn real good money with these ebooks. We’re going to call these people *clickers*

*There’s definitely much more behind this method than we initially believed*

Authors are speechless and the complaints Amazon receives are getting more and more, but the giant is reacting slowly. A lot of books containing the so-called ‘click-method’ are still there, causing a lot of damage.

 

Method Number 1: Riddles

In this first case, more than 100 books were created with the so-called Riddle-method. Books with short content, that would only earn about 0,07 € (23 pages x 0,0033 €), earn now about 10 €. In the blurb speaks the publisher about a bonus. He included the same or nearly identical riddle in over 100 books already. If you want to read the actual story, then you can jump to it with the help of a link. KU counts the pages nevertheless.

 

Method 2: Space and Break

You buy a book with about 1400 words (only a couple of pages) and find a link inside that brings you to the story. In between: lots of spaces and page breaks. Again: KU counts the pages, which brings quite a bit of money to the publisher. With copy and paste it’s only work of a few minutes.

 

Method 3: External Text

Why not simply add e-book guidelines to the e-book? On the first glance, it doesn’t look like a trick that much, but the publisher generated a lot of pages with adding a lot of blank lines, who have a column numbering. Looks like shit, but no one reads that anyway. Maybe a reader or two will wonder, but then they’ll use the link to go to the actual story.

 

Method 4: Multilingual Method

Write a book, translate it in a lot of languages and then add all the translations to the e-book. Create a table of contents that shows that this story is available in all languages. To pick the right language, ask the reader to click on the right language. It’s—of course—the last language in the TOC. The reader jumps over all the other languages and KU counts the pages. The publisher earns 10 times as much as with the actual story. Another good point: You can publish the story in quite some languages, just make sure you have the story in the language you’re publishing in at the end of the book.

 

It’s probably safe to say that there’s a lot more system behind the method than you can see on the first glance. It’s definitively worth to pay others to buy a subscription and click through the books. The earnings are big and clicking through it doesn’t take long. It’s most likely not only readers who click through it, but hired subscribers. We found 6 All Star Winners in only 2 days who work with this method. This reduces the All Stars to a nonsense.

 

How much can you earn with such a system? Hard to say, but it must be a few thousand Euro every month. If you do the math, 100 novels with 3000 pages (KU doesn’t count more than 3000 pages), earn about 100 € (USD 109) with just one ‘clicker’. If you find 100 people who click for you, then you earn about 10.000 € (USD 10900). It’s the question whether you can organize that, but you make enough with just a couple of clicks as well. Also: the ‘normal’, curious reader clicks through the book as well.

We only researched in Germany, but we took a short look at KU Spain and USA. There exist the same methods. If you do a little math, you see how much damage is done every month. We’re talking millions here. That’s not peanuts, especially when you take into consideration that the whole KPD Direct Fund holds about 11 Million €. Please note, that’s only a suspicion. But it’s not absurd. It would explain why the royalties are dropping from month to month.

We reported 12 authors alone in Germany and over 300 books vanished, with 6 All Star Authors among them. A lot of e-books remain available, though. And if Amazon doesn’t react fast and suspends whole accounts, then the books will appear very fast again.

Amazon has to act fast, before the KU system is broken. These systems don’t only hurt other authors, who lose royalties, but readers and Amazon as well. In the beginning, we thought a couple of publishers don’t do much damage, but that’s definitely wrong.

So, please, if you see such a book, share it with others, and email Amazon about it!

 

Saying Goodbye

This week, we have to say goodbye to not one, but two outstanding persons. On Saturday, the funeral for Lemmy Kilmister took place, and today, we have to bid our farewells to David Bowie.

The world lost two outstanding musicans, two unique artists. They both moved the world with their music and were icons for so many of us. I grew up with David’s music, later I discovered Lemmy as well (somehow my parents were NOT thrilled). In their music, I found a home, a place where I could be myself. With singing what I couldn’t say out loud, with giving me the music to dream to, to cry to, to celebrate to, they’ll have a place in my heart forever. Now I’m crying again as I write these words. As always, I will find peace in Motörhead and David’s music, but it won’t ever be the same.

We say goodbye to two great men. You will be missed greatly, and we will never forget you.

Rock on, wherever you are. Thank you for giving your music to us. The world is a darker place now.

Depositphotos_4626065_original-2

Preorder Links and KU

A lot of preorder links went up today and yesterday, and instead of writing I decided to collect them and post them here (I’ve already written 33 000 words this month and I’m currently feeling bit drained).

First, Saving Alex and Small Steps are now on KU, so if you want to read them for free, now would be the time. 🙂

Also,here are the links:

Expanding Horizons:

Expanding Horizons100

Only up for preorder on ARe.

 

Maddy Christmas:

Design Concept 1 - b

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon DE
Amazon AUS
ARe

 

And our lovely Meg’s Secret Santa Billionaire:

Cover1b

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon DE
Amazon AUS
ARe

Looking forward to sharing all these amazing stories with you!!!

Back to the light

I’m not really comfortable talking about it. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to be remembered I suffer from it. I can’t run away, I can’t hide. The shadow is always there. It follows me, everywhere I go. It was present when I got married. When I had my kids, when I was on vacation. Every happy moment in the last years was tainted by it.

You might ask, what is the it? I’ll tell you. It’s depression. I know it’s something a lot of people suffer from, but this knowledge doesn’t make it easier.

I didn’t even realize when it started. I don’t know what caused it. If there’s a reason. I don’t think so. As long as I remember, I’ve been feeling down, my emotions muted. I was never truly happy. But, on the other hand, I was rarely truly sad as well. I was feeling down, yes. I was sad. Of course. But even when my dad died, I was devastated, but not for long. Then the layer of fog, which clouded my emotions, was back.

I didn’t realize it was a depression. I thought it was normal. I did my work, I got out of bed in the morning, I did what I needed to do. Until I stopped sleeping. I used to go to bed at nine, since I was too tired to keep my eyes open. Then, I was awake until four or five in the morning, only to get up at six. My days were completely wasted since I could barely function.

This was when I decided I needed help. I called a doctor, telling her about my insomnia and, what I thought was a depression. I got meds, some which help with sleeping and depression. The first weeks were hell since these things make it worse for a few days before they kick in. And believe me, I was miserable. I couldn’t stand myself.

And then, suddenly, I got better. I caught myself laughing with my husband. My mood improved a lot. And I wished I’d taken the step much, much earlier. I lost so much time since I couldn’t enjoy the days, the moments with my family, with me readers, with my friends.

Now, I’m back on top. My productivity is through the roof, and I’m having so much fun with writing, it’s frightening. My marriage is stronger than ever. My kids more relaxed since I’m not so moody anymore (I tried to keep it together with them around, but I’m only human). I loved meeting new people at Euro Pride Con (and I was really afraid of big crowds before). I love hanging out with friends on facebook or other social networks. I’m stronger than ever. And I’m feeling awesome!

Why am I telling you all this? Because I know how hard it is to take the step and get help. You don’t want to acknowledge you’re suffering from depression. BUT, you can get better. There are meds. There is help. Please, do yourself a favor, and get help. I wouldn’t have thought it, but life is so beautiful.