Blogging, Amazon, what I'm working on, and why apartments suck.

Just so you guys know, most writers check their Amazon rankings daily. We’re kind of weird like that. It is a kind of strange competitive trait.  Really, since Amazon updates by the hour on some strange, unknowable formula, it really doesn’t mean much, but being in the good number range is always nice for our egos.   Amazon is only one outlet, but it is a really big outlet. Plus it is the only place where author’s with self-esteem issues can be updated hourly.

MHI has hung in there really well for almost a year now.  I figure out of the 4 million books on Amazon, if you’re hanging out in the top 1,000 you’re kicking serious booty.  The highest I ever got was into the 500 range back at the release, which considering that includes non-fiction, politics, news, childrens books, Kindle, etc. I’ll take it with a smile.  Since then I’ve tapered off, (since ya’ll already bought it) and MHI will normally be hanging out in the 20,000-30,000 range, which is still good out of millions. That means it is still selling. (B&N is still restocking it too, which is even more awesome).

I have noticed a trend though. Whenever I do something on my blog that gets a slew of links and hits, I get an Amazon spike. This week I had two big ones, Tom Stranger and the punching of Ms. Magazine in the face.  Links went out, I made new folks laugh, (and was honorarily adopted into the Robert Downey Jr. Screaming FanGirl club! “Ms. Magazine made fun of Robert? KILL THEM ALL!”  Thank you, Julie, for the intro. )  and yesterday MHI is back up in the 5,000 range, #50 in Horror. (being in the top 100 of a genre is always sweet).  And even better, Monster Hunter Vendetta, which isn’t even released for a few more months has been right there with it too. (though Amazon hasn’t stuck it into genres yet).  This morning both are sitting around 10,000, which is pretty darn good. I do believe MHV is going to do well.

As a writer, if you want to be a success, it takes more than writing a really good book. There are lots of people who are far better writers than I am who fade into obscurity. I’ve always been told that one of the keys is building up a loyal fanbase who trust and like you enough to buy anything you put out.  For any of you who are aspiring writers, I’d recommend blogging.  It introduces your work, it lets your fans get to know you, it helps you network and make friends, and every now and then you can use it to crush your enemies and grind them to dust.

Originally I had some other writers warn me not get too political on the blog, since that ran the risk of offending potential readers. (I’ve noticed that advice is often only applied to those of us on the right)  But I’ve never been very good at that whole middle-ground thing. Nobody has ever accused me of being “moderate”.  I figure, why be mushy? Let people know how you really feel.  Unless you are a writer and a lunatic, because then you might want to keep anything that will hurt your sales out of the public eye.  So you may want to keep your conspiracy theory about the Reptoids from the Hollow Earth to yourself.  Unless there is a big potential fanbase in that community, because if it sells another 10,000 books, then I’m all about the fact that Rahm Emmanuel is actually a Reptoid in diguise.  

On the fiction front, Mike and I have been working hard on splicing together the two halves of Dead Six. Last Saturday consisted of the two of reading the book out loud and tweaking things as we went. (his iguana, Winston, was there as well. Winston, however, failed to provide any useful input into the editing process). My goal is to have the draft out the door and into the discerning hands of Reader Force Alpha by Monday morning.  For anybody who thinks that co-authoring a book would somehow be easier because you’re only doing half the work, you are so very wrong.  Co-writing is actually a whole lot harder. Sure, you can come out with a superior product because two brains are better than one, but you’ve also got to figure out how to mesh two brains together into a coherant mass, and you’ve got a lot more continuity issues and editing work. 

Once D6 is out the door, then I’ll jump back on Monster Hunter Alpha. The actual word count on Alpha is only 75K so far, so about half way through, but the first part is always the hardest, and then it goes faster and faster as I go.  I’ll have Alpha done and out to Toni this summer. 

Meanwhile, the Correias are still living in a crappy little apartment while our new house is being built.  It kind of sucks. I bought our first house seven years ago. It was great. In fact, it was so great that I forgot how much apartments suck. Then we sold our nice house in town in order to build a magnificent house in the mountains.  The only downside was this required living in an apartment. No problem. How hard could that be? We lived in an apartment before… Oh… but we’d forgotten. The years of bliss had faded our memory of being renters.  We’d forgotten that no matter how nice your apartment complex is, some of your neighbors will be crack whores and imbeciles. I don’t care if you pay five grand a month in rent, if you’re renting, one of your neighbors will be a hooker (or might as well be) and somebody else will leave cigarette butts all over your doorway.    

For example, yesterday. My apartment (which by apartment standards, is perfectly nice and sound) has a pool and a hot tub. Mrs. Correia suggested we go let the kids swim and we could sit in the hot tub. They seem to have a pretty good resistence to diseases that begin in the word “Crypto”. Okay. Great idea.  Until we got there, and there were literally 400 children stuck into a 6×10 tub.  Even if it hadn’t been filled with stinky, screaming kid flesh, I’m sure most of the water had been replaced by urine at that point, so Mrs. Correia and I sat on deck chairs while the kids swam in the pool. (98% urine free!)  There was another guy sitting there by us. 

So after twenty minutes, this lady shows up,  goes to the guy in the chair, and I kid you not, says; “I’m back. Thanks for watching my kids. What was your name again?”  She then gathered up approximately 11 of the 400 children from the kid-tub (creating space that was surely immediately filled with pee) and left.  Huh? What kind of person leaves their kids at the pool (and they were young too) with a dude who’s name you don’t even know?  “Excuse me, you don’t look too much like a serial killer. Would you watch my kids? I’ve got to go perform unmentionable acts in the parking lot in exchange for crack money”

The basement is done. The wood has been delivered. There is a porta-potty.  FRAME! FRAME! FRAME! Come on, baby, Correia wants to live in a house again!

Coming Monday, more Tom Stranger
Fun with PhotoShop

19 thoughts on “Blogging, Amazon, what I'm working on, and why apartments suck.”

  1. “I’ve always been told that one of the keys is building up a loyal fanbase who trust and like you enough to buy anything you put out. ”

    I think you’ve done that very well, Larry. In fact, I think the term “cult following” could even be applied. I’d certainly be proud to fall under that title. 🙂

  2. hey, you keep pumping out the awesome, and we’ll keep your ego boosted. even the silly things like Tom Stranger and The Christmas Noun. And for the record, by silly, I mean uber-wicked.

  3. “For any of you who are aspiring writers, I’d recommend blogging. It introduces your work, it lets your fans get to know you, it helps you network and make friends, and every now and then you can use it to crush your enemies and grind them to dust.”

    Thanks for the advice, Larry. I’ve been considering doing that myself, and will definitely be putting my first book up within the next few weeks – as soon as I finish it (It’s my MHI- FanFic, BTW, 76,000 words and counting…) Don’t worry, I’ll start writing original stuff as soon as that’s done.

    “there were literally 400 children stuck into a 6×10 tub. Even if it hadn’t been filled with stinky, screaming kid flesh, I’m sure most of the water had been replaced by urine at that point,”

    Sounds like the kiddie pool at the local YMCA, only that’s bigger, has more kids per square foot, and occasionally features splotches of, uh, child deification in addition to the urine. And people wonder why I don’t like pools…

  4. No cult following…. More like back up Hunters with an extra stash of weapons for him when needed and all on a nation wide scale.

    We are a pool of individuals with specific knowledge of the local Evil Bestiary united in the vocation of exterminating creatures that threaten the common folk. If we need help dealing with a new threat, we can count on our fellow Hunters to show up with powerful strange weapons and plenty ammo to raise some serious hell or sending the creature there in an expedited fashion. When it is over, we mourn and behead our dead (if necessary) celebrate their bravery and smile at our friendship renewed under the cannons of fire, lead & leftover monster body parts.

    That did sound like a weird cult, didn’t? 🙂

  5. The Reptoids from the Hollow Earth?
    Who told you?!? What do they know? What have they done with all my left socks and CD cases?

    Oh Larry, I so know your pain. Soon we may be having to move into a 5th wheel trailer for the summer. Oh the suckage. On the bright side, our neighbors, (home owners we will be mooching off) are not crack whores or chain smoking axe murderers. At least I think not.
    If they do prove to be the later, they are in for a rude awakening. Axe murderers and emotionally suppressed pyrotechnic enthusiast don’t mix well, except at holiday BBQs. It’s weird that way.

  6. someone tell you not get too political on blog because you offend potential readers. then i guess they not really potential readers! haha not everyone have potential!

  7. Larry, you have more balls than I do. I know and like too many liberals and somewhat-liberals to be out-and-out with my conservativism on my writer blog the way you are out-and-out. I still keep (most) of my political opinion on my other blog. Maybe when I have a whopper hit series from Baen, I’ll change my mind. (grin)

    Though, yes, there have been some times when I have made exceptions.

    As for apartment living, amen, amen, amen. It’s fun when you’re a late teens to early twenties couple, and have no kids and are out a lot anyway because you have friends and art partying. But living in an apartment, especially with kids in tow, is fairly taxing.

    And yes, there is always that neighbor to deal with. Although, in the suburbs, this seems to be true again as well, so it’s not all wine and roses.

    Best part about owning is that even if the neighbors suck, your wall and their wall are not necessarily the same, thin wall. That, and you can build fences, and get big scary dogs for the yard. (evil grin)

  8. One thing I learned about controlling bad neighbors is this: Act weirder than them. It works!

    1) Come out of the apartment one day and scream at the top of your lungs “I told you they would never find the bodies!” and then slam the door.
    2) Whenever you go by a group of neighbors on a hallway, make sure they hear you mumble “anal nathrak, uthvas bethud, do che-ol di-enve.”
    3) “Accidentally” drop a shopping list where it can be found. Make sure the list contains items like bread, milk, shovel, anti psychotic drugs, lime, pizza, etc
    4) Ask your most noisy and annoying neighbor “HAs the police been looking for me today?” They will answer no and if they ask why, just look at him with bug out eyes and leave.
    5) Test your homemade napalm in the parking lot.

    Stuff like that will make your neighbors give you a very wide berth or at least move to another building.

  9. Well Mister Correia, being blunt and out-front in your blogs has won you book sales…seriously. It’s kept your old fans loyal for not wavering back and forth/spewing moderate dribble.

    Even a few Liberals I’ve shown your blog and book, at least have mentioned (in honesty, not derisively), that at least you’re not holding back just to sell books.

    And Nightcrawler has an Iguana? I dunno why(I don’t care ofr Iguanas) , but he’s just notched upwards in coolness 8) (Much less one named Winston).

  10. Re: Co-authors. I recall an article on the subject (I think) Keith Laumer–maybe it was Harry Harrison–entitled “How to Collaborate Without Getting Your Head Shaved”…

  11. I can’t wait to have my own house. Backyard for the dogs, basement for workshop/storage, garage for reloading/workshop, hang pictures without getting charged 35 bucks per wall when we move out, etc, etc. Now if the Army will just leave me in one spot for more than a few years at a time….yeah, that’s gonna happen…sure. Heh.

    I thought Rahm was the reincarnation of the Nazi propaganda guy… Himmler, I think? Or was that Goebbles… Maybe their spirits all got tossed in a blender in the afterlive, and that’s what Rahm is… Hmm…

  12. You forgot the otherwise nice, large family that decides to have a BBQ outside on a lovely Sunday afternoon – using their car as a stereo. Cranked to 11. While you are trying madly to get work done because you couldn’t do it Friday and Saturday due to religious obligations. And they politely fuss because it is not the evening and so they have every right to blast their music and enjoy the lovely afternoon and why are you so uptight and quit harshing our mellow . . .

  13. Just so you guys know, most writers check their Amazon rankings daily.

    Oh, sure, go ahead and spill ALL the trade secrets, whydontcha.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *