ALTBStickerI’ve had the mostest epicest February in the history of everything ever… All Hail Lord Bezos and Kindle Unlimited!  I’ve long ago broken the #’s required to be a Kindle All Star… the only question now is will I be in the top 100 or the top 50 in the Kindle Unlimited program for this month… Amazing, right?

So, this month, instead of the usual 50%, I’m donating 100% of gross royalties and borrowbux from “A Little Too Broken” to Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Puppies Behind Bars.

That’s about $400 for February…Hooray for $mut! Hooray for $tepfucker$ and Chri$topher Blue!

I gotta say, I was thinking about doing this, but then I had a fire lit under my ass by a bad review of “Christopher Blue.”  Someone basically attacked not the story so much as they attacked me, saying, “o how terrible that Brad Vance has left the ivory tower of fine novel writing to crassly capitalize on the quick knockoff smut trend…”

Well, if I had tenure or a grant or a giant publisher’s advance or a movie sale or whatever, then I could afford to sit in my ivory tower and write nothing but novels.  But this is my JOB now.  This is a BUSINESS.  I am a commercial artist, and I’d be a damn fool not to capitalize on something like this, especially when I can do it very, very well.  And it’s not like I’m writing Gay Dinosaurs or Forced by a Unicorn or Screwing My Toaster or whatever.

It’s this income that makes it possible for me to donate 100% of the ALTB royalties this month.  It’s this income that makes it possible for me to quit my job.  So yeah, it always feels good to be able to donate this money ($3,200+ and counting now, including the February “grant money”), but it feels even better to say to hell with the critics, see what I can do with this money.  I know, I know, authors are supposed to pretend that the arrows of criticism don’t exist, don’t feed the trolls, the customer is always right (“Thanks so much for your shitty review!  I really appreciate your taking the time to trash my book!”).  Easier said than done :)

young man imagine by laying on the sofahttp://bikebookreviews.blogspot.com/2015/02/have-little-faith-in-me-blog-tour-stop.html

Really happy about this, especially after the “mixed reviews” on Amazon.  Go check it out!

 

Steps6My little stepfuckers have made it to Amsterdam :)  #6 in the series as they galivant across Europe, for as long as you all fund their travels!  I can see another four stories before it’s time to wrap it up with a HEA.

Doing the math, I think the series is still going strong.  It’s tough to say because each one “debuts” with less sales/borrows than the last, but, averaged out over time, #1 – #5 all average out to around 20 borrows/10 sales a day.

The borrows are the only ones seen here as that’s where the money is at 1.33+, vs. .35 for the sales @.99.

I super suck at math, but this looks to me like maybe I should keep on keepin’ on?

(cramming words in here to make WordPress behave and push the table below the picture…)

Kyle’s New Stepbrother          511   929   1/8        19/day average
Kyle’s New Stepbrother II:    323   739   1/23      21/day average
Kyle’s New Stepbrother III:  328   640   1/26      20/day average
Kyle’s New Stepbrother IV:   295   565   2/3        24/day average
Kyle’s New Stepbrother V:     131   293   2/14      23/day average
Kyle’s New Stepbrother VI:        1     12   2/26

I’m still adjusting to the “clockless” life of a writer, but in a good way.  The days have been full, and I’ve been able to get some “Adam Vance” work in as well as my new day job as Brad :)  I need to start thinking in terms of what I’m going to do for the next month instead of the next day.  I was just careening from one day to the next, never knowing what my stress/energy levels will be, a lot of which was based on how the job made me feel on any given day – was it a day with interesting work, or was it a dreary assembly line day?  Not being able to forecast my internal weather, thanks to that outside force, kept me from making a long term plan that required calm, focus and energy.  Well, that’s over!

ALTBStickerBlog hoppin! Check out my interview on BFD Book Blog, where I talk about Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Puppies Behind Bars and my charity contributions from “A Little Too Broken”!

http://bfdbookblog.net/2015/02/blog-tour-stop-including-author-guest-post-giveaway-have-a-little-faith-in-me-by-brad-vance/

WouldILieNovelCoverYeah.  It’s going to take some doing, adjusting to this “clockless” life.  To stop feeling like I need to be in such a rush to “get it all in.”  There is all the time in the world now, for “all of it,” and less of “it” to “get in” now that I don’t have a day job.  I know, first world problem, right? :)

That realization led to a scene I just finished for “Would I Lie To You?”  I’m not going to post the whole book in the blog anymore, because it sometimes makes me feel like I’ve boxed myself into things that I want to change later.  But I am going to drop samples in as I go…starting with this one, with Marc and Jesse having dinner on Marc’s yacht…

 

Marc attacked his dinner with relish, wielding the chopsticks with martial skill.  He’d demolished three pieces of sushi before he looked up and saw Jesse sitting there, watching him, not eating.

“What?”

Then Marc saw it.  The “other Jesse,” the one who’d made him savor his whiskey, the one who’d tied him up in his office to punish him for not tapping out.  It made him shiver on the outside, at the same time that, deep inside, a hot stone radiated its heat into his genitals.

“Set down your chopsticks,” Jesse said.

Marc complied.

“Look at your plate.  No, don’t look back up at me.  Look at your food.”

Marc did as he was told.

“What do you see?”

“Sushi.  Sashimi.  Salmon, tuna…”

“No,” Jesse said in the soft but firm tone of a teacher.  “Look.  What do you see?”

Marc sighed, slightly aggravated.  He looked at the plate some more.  “Colors.  Orange salmon.  Red tuna.  Well, blood red.  Or burgundy.  More like burgundy but not…”

Marc saw now, saw that he hadn’t seen.  Color, there was so much color, the yellow-gold of the pickled ginger, the Speedo green of the wasabi, the rich brown of the little dish of soy sauce.

He looked up at Jesse, startled.

Jesse was beaming at him.  “Yes.  Pick up your chopsticks.”

Marc picked them up, waiting for instructions.

“Now eat what you see.”

It was like a different plate of food now, a…different universe.  Marc picked up a piece of sushi, a slice of salmon on a clump of rice.  He marveled at the marbling of the salmon, the little white wavy lines in the meat.  He appreciated the expertise with which the rice had been clumped, the way it absorbed the touch of soy sauce he dipped it in without falling apart.

He put the piece into his mouth and let the flavors take turns, first the sharp tang of the soy, then the slick starch of the rice, and then finally the rich creamy fish dissolving under pressure.

He closed his eyes, lost in sensual pleasure, as he slowly chewed and swallowed.

“You rush through life,” Jesse said, picking up his own chopsticks, pausing, looking at his own plate with admiration and interest.  “You miss so much pleasure.  You have the money to get all this, but it’s nothing if you don’t stop and feel it.”  He ate a piece of sashimi, his own eyes closing.

Marc nodded.  “Yeah.  I eat at my desk, I gobble my food, there’s always so much to do, something else to do, besides…whatever it is I’m doing right now, this minute.”  He sighed.  “I never stop and smell the proverbial roses.  Never mind the real ones.”

He ate another piece of sushi.  Suddenly all his senses were awake.  He really saw the lights of the city, the Freedom Tower lit up at night, his own offices right…about…there.  He heard the smooth hum of the yacht, and the splash of the waves, felt the cool moist breeze on his face.

“See what you notice?  When you slow down and pay attention?  You can celebrate everything worth experiencing in that moment.”

“Yes.”

“Then, you know, even in the bad moments, the crises, you’re…insulated.  You have a place to go in your memory, that’s so rich with good moments, that you can pick them up and re-experience them.  If you try and make yourself feel good remembering ‘that day at the beach,’ you probably can’t reach it.  But if you remember the feeling of the water on your feet after you ran over the hot sand, if you remember the taste of the snow cone with the fake raspberry flavor…”

Marc’s intuition moved a piece in his head.  “Is that what you did in prison?”

Jesse came back to the here and now.  “No.  But I learned…things in there.  About myself.  Over time.  I learned to appreciate things I’d lost.  And how to appreciate them when I had them again.”

Well, I don’t know what the official record would be, but…here’s what the BookBub site offers as statistics for LGBT books.  The high end of the download range for freebies is 5,800.

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Well, here’s my results!

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YEAH! WHOO!  7,838 copies!!!!  Smashie smashie!  I had 1,000 the day before that I’m not counting in there, from putting it up free a day early.  But BookBub is responsible for the lion’s share of these freebies on the 19th/20th.

In addition, my simultaneous 3-novel .99 cent sale, still going on, is pushing those titles up the bestseller lists.  Not sure if the 10k excerpt of “Have a Little Faith in Me” at the end of the freebie is helping sales of that, but the ranking did rise a bit on that one.

The sale has helped the ranking really go up on all three sale novels, but especially “Given the Circumstances.”  It’s a vagary of Facebook that if you post something with three links in it, it’s always going to “picture link” the first one.  So maybe that’s why GTC has gone up more than the others, because it’s the one that people land on first if they click through the Facebook post on the sale.  It was as high as 1600 last night before dipping this a.m. to the 2000 range.  So yeah…definitely still on my way to being a KINDLE ALL STAR this month!  WHOO!

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Behold, behold!  Well, it’s done.  I’m a full time writer as of now, today.  Sobbing at my computer right now in that, you know, Roger-Federer-drops-to-the-court-after-winning-a-Grand-Slam kind of sobbing.  That insane sense of both victory…and relief.  That you DID IT.  That you made it.  That it’s fucking real.  Knowing that tomorrow you get up and start another tournament, another first round, all over again.

But right now.  For this minute.  You get to cry your fucking eyes out.  You get to let go.

This is what I have wanted all my life.  There have been so many attempts, so many false starts, yeah even a few delusional times – “I just wrote a book!  Time to quit my job cuz this will make me FAMOUS!”  So many days jobs, so many long periods with either no energy or no confidence or no ideas or too much shit going on in my life, self-generated or externally imposed, to settle in and put the nose to the grindstone the way I have for the last 2.5 years, solid.

But this time it’s real!  I have a fucking INCOME!  I have fans, great fans.  I have ideas pouring out my ears, my ass, my mouth (my eyes right now :) ).  I finally GOT REAL about what it takes.

Persistence in the face of defeat.  I’ve been through a lot of defeats, and for a long time in my life, defeat made me curl up in a ball and hide.  Then I got into writing erotica, met a group of writers who were hardcore about making $$$, and when my first setback happened in 2013, with Amazon’s Pornpocalypse of Smutblocking, I had role models who showed me an option besides giving up.  They got depressed about lost income and then…shrugged and said, well, what’s next?  So I learned to be resilient too.  I moved to novels.  Then novel sales started drying up last fall because of Kindle Unlimited.  So I moved “all in” with Lord Bezos, and watched my income swell.  I saw that shorts were hot again, because while most people wouldn’t put out .99 for a short story, if they had KU they could just borrow them.  Thus Were Born the $tepfucker$, when I saw how well those stories were doing in heterotica.  Each “defeat” got easier to handle until they just…didn’t faze me anymore.

Admission of reality into my creative equations.  For a long time, I wrote only what I wanted to write.  Sometimes I got lucky, like when Vikings were hot, and I started the Colum and Viggo series.  Sometimes, like with Rob the Daemon, not so much – the paranormal market wanted shifters, not daemons.  But I kept writing what I wanted to write, with no eye on the market.

Finally, I learned how to balance it, albeit in my own stubborn truculent way.  Rock stars are hot, fine, let’s do rock star shorts…oops, that turned into a fucking novel :)  At this point, it’s not so much about writing “what the market wants” (I will never care a whit about shifters) as it is *not* writing what I know I can’t *make* the market want.

I want to write a series of hot shorts about an uptight repressed English knight and a libertine French knight during the 100 Years War.  But I won’t!  Because I polled and focus grouped and nobody wants historicals, now at least.

I need to write novels that turn into series – I haven’t had an idea yet that I can sustain for a series of novels.  I’m a bit ADD – when I’m done with something, I’m done, let’s move on, what’s next.  I am thinking I could sustain a series with action, adventure, espionage…but more on that later :)

Maybe part of it is because I’m antisocial.  My theory is that social people write novels with a big cast that can rotate through a series.  Antisocial people write novels about one or two or four people at most.  And when that novel is done, so is their story, especially if you give them a HEA.  Why would I want to disrupt their HEA with more problems! :)

I learned to LISTEN to the audience.  I learned to stop “head hopping” when people complained – I didn’t even know what it was until then!  It was just the way I wrote!  I made an “instalove” mistake with “Have a Little Faith in Me,” clearly, with what looks like “instalove” between the two mains.  Trust me, in the WIP “Would I Lie to You,” there’s of course the Brad Vance Backstory(TM) that make the characters real, but the majority of the book is in the present tense and is about Marc and Jesse’s complicated multilevel relationship.

I developed a motherfucking work ethic that won’t quit.  I’m not the least bit worried about not being productive without a “schedule.”  A, I love writing.  B, I have a trillion ideas.  C, I have the knowledge, and the confidence that comes from it, that what I write will be read.  D, I’ve been getting up every day many hours before work, and on Saturdays, and Sundays, for 2.5 years to do this.  The wonderful wonderful part of this is that now I only have ONE job.  I will actually get to REST and ENJOY LIFE sometimes, without worrying about “not working enough.”  I know that I have to remain productive because I want this to be IT.  The very last time I quit a job.  The day I can fucking delete LinkedIn and all that because I’ll never have to worry about going back there again.  No matter how many hours a day I do this, it’s never as exhausting as half as long a day working for someone else.

I know the business is Publish or Perish.  It’s not just true in academia.  Once upon a time I dreamed that success would be a gold platter I could sit on and languish forever, just breaking pieces off to buy more peeled grapes.  Not even!  Success means more work, because you’re at a new level, and there’s no saying, oh, I’m tired, let me step back down a level.  It’s keep it up, or let it all go.

So.  Yeah.  :) A weekend to rest, recover, and then, Monday morning, fucking HIT IT HARD boys and girls.

TL;DR:  FUCK YEAH I’M A FULL TIME WRITER WHOOO!