The ‘Zon is just okay for the writer me, a home run for the consumer me.

Aside from a couple of my collections and a short story or three, I didn’t enroll my books in KU. (Kindle Unlimited)

After KU’s inception I did give it the old college try~ two go-rounds. Did not work for me. I didn’t get enough page reads to make it worth my while, despite the fact that if a reader starts reading one of my books, more often than not he or she finishes it.

Besides, I’m a fan of wide distribution and good old-fashioned competition, so I use D2D. I’ve downloaded my books to D2D for distribution for 18 months now. D2D is killing it. I sell five times as many books on D2D (Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, etc.) than I do on Amazon.

Why? I have no idea. Perhaps it’s because those readers who shop on other outlets are looking for books to actually read, rather than downloading freebies and 99-cent-ers that they never get around to reading? Again, I have no idea. Any notion I may have as to the why’s and wherefore’s is mere speculation.

There are quite a number of authors making big bucks on Amazon. I ain’t one of ’em. I do all right. I do much better via D2D.

On the other hand, when it comes to shopping no one compares to Amazon. At least for the stuff I need.

Let me explain. Well, perhaps I’ll provide an example or two…

I recently needed ear drops. I swim almost everyday. I love swimming and the exercise has helped speed up my recovery. In fact, the exercise is essential to my recovery. But my right ear has been bothering me so I wanted to purchase some swim ear drops – to dry out my ear canals after swimming. Easy, right? One would think it would be easy to purchase swim ear drops in the Napa Valley.

Four pharmacies later, I realized it was not easy to purchase swim ear drops in the Napa Valley. I drove to four separate pharmacies. No luck. I accomplished nothing more than wasting gas and my valuable time, and increasing my stress level.

I drove home, flipped open my computer, checked Amazon, and bought a four-pack with one click.

It’s the same with dog food. Jake has food allergies. (Yeah, he does…) We have two local pet stores. One doesn’t carry the brand he eats, the other maybe carries, if I’m lucky, a¬† couple cans, zero bags of dry food. That’s it. That’s my entire local selection. Therefore I order dog food from Amazon. I also order bird food from Amazon because although the food my two parrots eat is totally common, the one local pet store eliminated their bird section altogether while the other is always out of the food I want to buy.

Bottom line: Believe me, I’d love to shop local, but I don’t want to drive all over town, stopping at four or five different stores, only to have to buy an item online anyway.

So yeah, the ‘Zon knocks it out of the park when it comes to shopping. For me as an author, not so much. But then I guess doing okay there is… okay. ūüôā

Peace. Out.

The Mental Activity of Writing. Step Three.

Imagination is the key.

As long as I can remember I’ve essentially sung myself to sleep with a story. It’s like this:

I write a story in my mind and I feature myself as the heroine. So easy to do!

The easiest way to begin is to pick a story, any story you like provided it is a heroic story, as in I want you to take a hero’s journey. I’ll make it even easier. If you like romance, pick Outlander. If you like science fiction pick, um… Stranger In A Strange Land, or The Illustrated Man, or, oh… super easy– Battlestar Galactica.

Remove the protagonist, male or female. Substitute yourself in his or her place and imaginarily write away! Rewrite the narrative in your head featuring you! I’m not encouraging you to actually write fanfic. I’m not a fan of fanfic. What I am suggesting is that you learn from the greats.

Become John Blackthorn of Shogun. Starbuck (the female version) of BSG. (One of the Sharons would be even better!) Jon Snow of GOT. Become Jane Eyre of Jane Eyre. But write your own narrative. Change things up. Stir the pot!

The stories we put on paper grow out of the stories we hear in our heads. Don’t be derivative! But at the same time keep in mind there is nothing new under the sun. Certain universal themes are recycled over and over again by countless authors and there is a reason for this. Universal themes resonate with readers. The trick is to spin your own unique version of these universal themes.

Oh, and read The Hero With A Thousand Faces, The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell. Yeah, slog through it. (It really ain’t no slog!) At the heart of every story lies the hero’s journey. Your characters must move forward, face challenges, and evolve, either for good or for evil. If they do nothing more than spin their wheels, take up page space, they are doomed to forever be labeled as boring. Nothing kills a book like boring.

Oh, an no whining. Whiny characters do nothing more than annoy readers.

So, as a mental exercise, pick your favorite book. Remove protagonist. Insert you. Go for it.

The three steps. Read. Watch. Listen.

Last week I advised you to observe, attend. In other words, pay attention. Watch interactions and behavior. This week I advise you to listen. Listening is, of course, a larger part of attending.

A real writer listens to the way people talk. Inflection. Slang. Dialect. Language. (Each language has its own rhythm and cadence.) Actually that’s one of the reasons I pick up foreign languages. I hear the underlying rhythm of the language. Understanding rhythm and cadence allows for the language of science fiction, for example, to flow seamlessly.

Why should you listen? To hear secrets? No. Rather, to understand how human beings, and animals for that matter, communicate. This is learning to write realistic dialogue, step one.

Listen to the way real people talk to each other. Listening will make you a better writer.

Next time: Body language. Oh yeah! This is my fave!

There is a method to my madness.

(Right now I’m in first place in the Barrett Family Bracket but I have everything riding on Michigan State. Go Spartans! OMG this game is intense. Overtime!!!)

So this is a brand spanking new space. It will be about my books and my methods. I will discus my past, present and future and how each moment in my time relates to my writing~ i.e.~ my voice, my themes, my characters, my narrative, my style.

From time to time I may interrupt to inform you about WIPs, price changes, new releases, new covers, etc. Information about all my books is on my sidebar to the left. (All the links you will ever need!)

If you want to hear about All Things Jake and maybe a few stories about the crazy hubster, visit: ¬†I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means.

For general information on my books, my archived blog posts, recipes and about me, my old website is still available for your perusal. I’ll update the site¬†from time to time. Julia Barrett’s World.

Hey all, it’s good to be back. Love y’all. Julia