Picking Keywords

This post linked from Mad Genius Club is a few years old, but for an SEO noob like myself, it’s a good way to start.

I have my doubts about ever mastering it, but I won’t get any better just sitting here.

For Example, War To The Knife (Laredo War Trilogy Book 1)‘s main categories are:
FICTION > Science Fiction > Space Opera
FICTION > Science Fiction > Military

However, it’s present in all the following categories:

Books > Literature & Fiction
Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Adventure
Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Military
Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Colonization
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Galactic Empire
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Military > Space Fleet
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Military > Space Marine
Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Space Opera

We did that by putting in the following keywords: “Fleet, Marine, Space, Action, republic, Colonization, Starship”

Taxation and Inventory and Christmas and Dead Genres

I’ve got something I’ve been crafting for weeks on Hollywood and Kevin Spacey and 90’s indie cinema, but it’s coming out on Monday. For now, read this Post by Dorothy Grant at Mad Genius Club. It explains several things:

  • How Christmas season became an insane time of shopping deals and inventory clearances.
  • How publishers stopped keeping backstock in old books, killling distribution of books by anyone except large chain bookstores.
  • Why genres that appeal only to certain regions or who aren’t culturally connected with the Publishing nexus in New York City are declared “dead”.

Here’s the warning for those trying to “write to the market” though:

Kris Rusch once spoke about the waves of publishing on a fad, and it roughly went like this:

  1. Breakout book breaks out big
  2. Publishers look around their slush piles, and find possibly books in similar vein that writers wrote on spec, which are pretty darned good, and publish them.
  3. Meanwhile, writers notice Hot New Fad is lucrative, and write derivative stuff to jump on the bandwagon.
  4. Publishers run out of slush pile good books, and publish derivative stuff, because the market is buying everything as fast as it hits the shelf.
  5. Public realized that most of the stuff is dreck, tires of fad, moves on. Publishers, operating on a year lag, put out a lot of derivative dreck and it all fails.
  6. Publishers declare that the genre has dies, and stop buying in it.

If you can’t be on the 1, at least be on the 2. Don’t be 3.

Dorothy Grant has a sci-fi novel, Scaling the Rim, available on Amazon.

Lit Fic is a Genre

At least, that’s the takeaway I have from this Sarah Hoyt Post at Mad Genius Club.

Look, most twentieth century literature we were forced to read — particularly late 20th century literature — was written to be “what university professors like.” A dash of unearned superiority, a bit of social critique and always, always, every character being a worthless bastard or bitch, not worth the paper they were described on. Oh, and the entire thing always ended in a morass of bitterness and disillusionment.

The word for this Human Stain plot-template is trope.  Things fall apart, the center cannot hold, and all that cal. Broken people behave brokenly. I just had this experience with Manhattan Beach. It was a fun little story, with a mystery sewn into it, but I didn’t finish before it had to go back to the library, and now I’m not sure if I’m going to bother to. The mystery wasn’t going to be that mysterious. Whatever the most disillusioning solution would be, that was going to be the one that did it.

Bad things happen and that’s the end. That’s literary fiction for most of the time I’ve been alive. Really, since before that, if you go back to A Farewell to Arms and The Great Gatsby, where these things became obligatory. And that’s fine. But it’s a trope as simple and pure as Space Lords and Barbarian Kings. They comfort the worldview of the a certain segment of the population, by “challenging” it, according to a process of peripeteia and catharsis that was already old when Aristotle wrote about it. The rest is wankery trying vainly to disguise what they’re doing.

Back when I was going through literature courses I cured every professor who hit me with the “genre is just bad literature” by introducing them to Bradbury then hitting them with Phillip K. Dick while they were down.  Not one retained their opinion of genre, and some of them I left converted to science fiction.  (You could trace my progress through Portuguese educational institutions by the teachers/professors who not only read but rhapsodized over science fiction.

In.Deed.

On Publishing and Platforms in the Age of Trump

Basically, this whole post by Peter Grant at Mad Genius Club:

First, the publishing world, like the rest of the ruling class, just can’t even with the last election, and by golly, they’re going to react to it. And after noting how they think “Trump voters have created space in the political conversation for heretical ways of discussing class, gender and race” (by which they of course mean not the ways Trump voters want to discuss those things, but the way voices they like want to discuss them, because that’s what “heretical” means or something), Peter suggests:

If you ask me, I don’t think President Trump has so much “shaken up the book industry” as exposed the fact that it appears to have fundamentally departed from the essential foundation of commercial business – namely, to make a profit. If businesses don’t make a profit, they fail. Period. If we, as authors, write to make a living (as I do), and we don’t make a profit, we fail. Where do you see that realization in the views cited in that article? I don’t . . . and I suspect that’s the reality behind the publishing and book-selling industry’s (and many authors’) woes. Both appear to have lost sight of the reality that, first, last and always, publishing is a business. That’s why so many parts of it are failing.

Art is commerce.

Art Is Commerce.

ART IS COMMERCE.

Second, Affiliate Marketing is Going to Run Into Regulatory Problems. I don’t care, because I don’t have enough blog traffic to even get on Amazon Affiliates anymore. This is of a piece with Google and Facebook getting Big Enough to provoke grumbling about it being Standard Oiled. We love success stories in America. We also love watching them fall.

Third, Big Tech is taking a political side. As if I needed another reason to contemplate deleting my Facebook. Honestly, the only reason I’m ever on there is to post picture of my children and catch up with the occasional college pal.

If our perspective as authors, and/or the subject matter of our books, and/or how we cover other opinions, clashes with the point of view espoused by social media outlets or vendors, we may find ourselves censored, and/or our books “muted” in terms of public visibility. To name just a few examples:

  • What would happen if our blog platform (e.g. Blogger, WordPress, even many you may never have heard about) decided to “de-platform” (i.e. shut down) bloggers with whose views it/they disagreed?
  • What if book review sites such as Goodreads, Shelfari, etc. decided to ignore our books, or remove reviews of them posted by readers?
  • What would happen to our sales if a dominant vendor like Amazon.com decided to omit our books from the “Customers who bought this item also bought” lists that are included on the page of every article for sale on its Web site?

Those are some of our most important avenues to reach potential readers. They may become restricted, even closed to us, if their owners and operators decide to promote only (or mostly) products – including books – that meet their definition of “politically correct”.

The question isn’t “Will this happen?” If they’re that shaken up by The Trumpening, they’re going to pull out all the stops to keep us peasants in line. The question is, “What do we do about it?”

Anyway, Read the Whole Thing.

Grant the Relentless Invoked as a Model for Authors

Amanda at Mad Genius Club:

One might argue that Grant’s simple faith in success, not only saved his career, it also saved the war for the Union, and made Grant into a legend. Not because Grant was the most talented or creative officer in uniform. He wasn’t. No, not in his own Army; and certainly not compared to the Confederate side, either. Grant was just the man who didn’t let setbacks cripple him as he drove forward. Grant’s friend (and right-hand man) General Sherman once said, after the disaster at Shiloh, “We’ve had the devil’s day.” To which Grant merely replied, “Yup. Lick ’em tomorrow, though.”

If you can be that author — the man or woman who simply refuses to accept setbacks — you will be able to carve legitimacy out of even the most inhospitable publishing terrain.

Now, the history nerd in me is bellowing that this is unfair to Grant. Managing armies in the 1860’s was a maddening affair, as the careers of McClellan, Rosecrans, Beauregard, and others will testify. One of the things Grant and Lee had in common was the ability to grasp the essential and edit out the rest, to keep operations focused, to select competent subordinates and not micromanage them. To look at Grant’s campaigns, from Fort Henry all the way through to Appomatox, is to see a man who made KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid) his watchword (this is especially true of the Vicksburg campaign. No one but Grant could have pulled that off. No one).

That said, Amanda’s point stands. Grant’s thoroughgoing Relentlessness, his refusal to accept defeat, was perhaps his strongest characteristic. I submit that no general, North or South, who experienced what Grant experienced on the first day of Shiloh would have had the sands to fight back the next day. No, not even Lee or Stonewall Jackson (Lee’s retreat from Antietam is perhaps the best analogy for this).

Shelby Foote observed that at the Battle of the Wilderness in 1864, Grant was outfought by Lee as thoroughly as Hooker had been, at Chancellorsville the year before (and on much the same ground). But while that was an embarrassing failure to Hooker, it was a mere nothing to Grant, who simply moved south anyway, and fought again, dragging Lee on a game he could not win no matter how many times he knocked the Union army back from the objective of the day. “If it gets to Petersburg,’ Lee observed, that summer “it will become a siege, and then only a question of time.” It got to Petersburg, and became a siege, and then only a question of time. Lee understood the game. He could not undo it, because Grant was not the sort of man who would be undone. Grant was more than a general; he was a Terminator.

grant1

Referring to it as “faith in success” has perhaps a better ring to it, though. Anyone in the game of producing art of any variety ought to have some.

Anyway, read the whole thing, as it’s about a metric for “legitimacy” necessary for publishing in the new age.

An Analysis of Geekdom

Normally I find this topic so profoundly uninteresting, and so motivated by marketing, that I cannot even, as the kids say. But this post encapsulates so much of what I dealt with as a young adolescent that I can’t not pass it on.

Something of being a Geek lies in the aesthetic rejection of modern society, a longing for an escape to a realm more in line with one’s spirit. The reasons for this are manifold, and this touches on them some.

(This is the first part of a two-part series by guest blogger Jacob Lloyd — ASG) “Give them an inch and before you know it they’ve got a foot; much more than that and you don’t have a leg to stand on.” -General Melchett, Blackadder Goes Forth I am a geek. My time at school […]

via Fear and Loathing: Geeks and Social Justice Warriors by Jacob Lloyd — Mad Genius Club