Plodding through, and deep pondering.

I know I’ve been quiet this week. Part of that has been due to me working on Raven and June. The first two chapters of the rough draft are done, and the third has a good start. I expected to be further along at this point, because I was planning on reusing material from my old Raven and June short stories. So far “Merry Fucking Christmas” has been the template for chapters 2 & 3, but I haven’t reused nearly as much material as I expected to. As with “The Goldilocks Saga,” I’m finding that a sentence in the short story is translating into paragraphs in the novel. Not always, but often enough.

Some of that is due to the nature if short stories compared to novels: You just have more room to play. But a lot is due to the fact that my writing style has evolved a lot since I wrote MFC. I expect more of “Happy Fucking Birthday” will be incorporated into the novel when I get to that one. “Raven For Lunch” will probably end up being a template, just like MFC is, since it’s nearly as old.

Another reason you haven’t seen a lot of updates is that I’m trying to get back into the swing of things after a busy holiday season. That’s taking some time, but it’s happening.

The last reason you haven’t been seeing a lot here is that I’ve been thinking a lot about an old and unresolved problem: Lack of feedback from my readers. And I know I have readers because I see the sales numbers.

This isn’t my problem alone. Not by a fair amount. I look at good books by other authors on Smashwords, Amazon, and other sites, and I’m surprised that the reviews section for them are often empty.

When Pixie’s Place was in it’s heyday, I would get 5-10,000 readers for my stories, and maybe two comments that someone liked it, but only if I asked for feedback. When I revisited the site last year to post my new stories, I found no feedback in the Story Feedback thread. It took me some time to figure out that it had been a year since the last feedback posting, and anything older than that had been filtered out.

Nobody had given feedback to any author who had posted a story in the year prior. And there were dozens of stories posted in that year. Many had been at least looked at several thousand times in that year.

But nobody thought to give any sign that they liked, hated, or were neutral on any of those stories. Nobody suggested changes to the stories, or advancements to their plotlines.

This is rather a lot like giving a live performance in front of thousands of people, only to have the entire audience stare at you blankly at the end. What do you make of that? Are they stunned into silence? Did they like it? Did they hate it? Is there room for improvement?

Just what is an author to make of silence in the face of book sales?

I’m human. I know my books could use improvement. My writing style today is clearly different from the way it was a decade ago. But is it an improvement, or just more wordy?

Reviews for books help people to decide if they are going to buy them or not. A book with no reviews is much less likely to sell than one with a couple, even if one is negative.

That’s why I’m asking you to review the books you read. Not just mine, all of them. And contact the authors if they’re going out of their way to make themselves available.

Everyone who writes a book puts in a lot of work. I probably put in 20-30 hours per week, above my full-time day job. The amount I’ve made off of book sales hasn’t covered the cost of this website, not by a lot. And that’s considering that I do all of the work myself.

Should I continue this vanity site for the next year when the renewal bill comes up?

I have at least three novels I plan to finish and publish this year.

Should I bother? Should I write more? Can I improve in some way?

I know I’m putting you on the spot. I know this is uncomfortable. I’m as guilty of this as anyone. But I’m trying to change myself. And I’m asking you to make that change with me.

I’ve asked Smashwords to encourage their authors to review the works of other authors on their site by promoting the works of both each time one of them reviews another’s book, and possibly tying that to their royalty rates.

Because the truth is that if you don’t do anything to promote something you like, it won’t be around very long. Rock groups break up. Authors and actors go back to waiting tables. Websites go dark. Don’t be a silent fan of something. Share it. Promote it.

Having put you (and myself) on the spot, I would like to give you an incentive to actually do something. I almost always ask for comments. If one person (not a SPAM Bot) simply comments on this post, I will reveal Raven’s given name. I have never posted her actual given name anywhere yet. This offer is only good until February 22nd, 2016.

If someone posts a link to a review that they gave another author’s book on any retailer’s site because of this request, I’ll reveal the working title of the first book and monster of the erotic horror trilogy I’m working on. Be sure to put the link in a comment attached to this post. This offer will be good until March 22nd, 2016.

And if two people post links to reviews they gave any of my books on any retailer’s site, I’ll post a few pages of the background material for that horror trilogy. This offer will be good until I publish the first book in that trilogy. Be sure to alert me by linking to your review in a comment to this post.

Thank you for sticking with me.

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