AUTHOR INTERVIEW: L.S. Engler, author of THE SLAYER SAGA

Fellow independent author L.S. Engler is really cool and you should read her books.  You should read this interview with her first, though.  Then read her books.

Because I said so, that’s why.


Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 9.58.22 AMSo, how’s it going?

Really great, actually! You’re catching me on my single day off this week between ending my one job and going straight into a new one. A coworker at the last one “owed” me for picking up several of his shifts since he DJs at bars when there’s something exciting going on in sports, and there’s almost always something exciting going on in sports in Chicago, so he got me a gift card, which meant a nice meal out.  This was followed by a trip to Half-Price Books and Disc Replay, where the breadth of amazing, creative, and ridiculous stories in the world got my head all a’buzz with ideas of my own. And now I get to sit down and chat with you and your readers, so I’d say that’s a pretty damn good day.

Tell me about your latest project. What is THE SLAYER SAGA all about?

 I sound a bit like a broken record when anyone asks me that question, but I truly feel that one of my beta-readers put it best when she told me that THE SLAYER SAGA was kind of like “Buffy meets the Hobbit,” although my inspiration is straight out of too much The Walking Dead and Thundarr the Barbarian.  It’s a nice little post-apocalyptic zombie yarn, where the Soulless (because we can’t use the zed-word) invasion has devastated humanity to the point where it turned to utter ruin. Since we’re basically cockroaches, many still managed to survive, but the world develop into one much more primitive than what we know now. There are still hints of the old world, with the technology of the Ancients an alluring mystery that hang on the edge of rediscovery. A legend sparks throughout the communities scattered across the land of a great warrior, the Slayer of the Soulless, who, as would be expected of a prophetic soldier, will rise up to protect the world in its hour of dire need. One little girl, on the night of her village’s complete annihilation, decides that SHE will be that hero, and she will dedicate her life to destroying the monsters that have threatened her people for far too long.

Her travels bring her to Paravelle, a fortress in the mountains where a society has flourished within the protection of sturdy walls, but she discovers that even this idyllic location is not nearly as safe as she expected. There is a dark plot behind the attack on Paravelle. In the company of the few survivors, the Slayer of the Soulless sets out to find the Queen, who conducts her reign from the safety of a massive airship, to find out what can be done, before it’s too late.

51UywAwEeLL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_ I was interested to see that HEARTLESS came in much shorter than the first SLAYER book, and you’re planning on the third volume in just a few short month. Was there any thought to releasing the last two volumes together, or was that just how the story worked out?

From its very inception, THE SLAYER SAGA was intended to be a trilogy, with each book released in August of the respective year, to keep up with trying my hand at keeping a set publishing schedule, which includes my literary journal, WORLD UNKNOWN REVIEW, in December.  So even though HEARTLESS came out much shorter than I had hoped, the thought didn’t even cross my mind.  Plus?  I’ll let you in on a dark secret: I haven’t even started writing FEARLESS yet. It’s outlined, yes, but I also decided to tie in THE SLAYER SAGA with NaNoWriMo, so I won’t start scribbling until November.

I should also note that I never, ever, in all the years I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, actually finish the novel in that month. But I’ll keep trying until I do.

I do plan on releasing the trilogy as an omnibus in 2017. I blame my years of collecting individual volumes of manga only to discover that omnibuses (omnibi?) existed and one awesome summer of reading through all the NARNIA books in a big thick volume my dad got me for Christmas for planting that idea in my head.

The Slayer herself is never named in HEARTLESS. Talk about that for a moment- why did you choose to not give your main character a name?

I grew up on video games, with the height of my influence being during the epic RPGs released for the Super Nintendo. Many of those games featured a silent protagonist, which made me wonder how people would know their names if they never talked. The Slayer talks, but the idea of a nameless protagonist landed in my brain and would not leave. I started it mainly as a challenge to myself, to see if I could pull a gimmick like that off, and it developed into something a little bit more. There are quite a few characters in THE SLAYER SAGA who don’t have names, actually, and there’s a reason for that, but I won’t reveal it here. I think of it as kind of an Easter egg, a little wink-wink, nudge-nudge for the people who might recognize the pattern.

And now I’ve led a bunch of people to try to figure it out. My work here is done.

What’s your writing process like? Are you a planner? How much of a story do you need mapped out before you get started?

The amount of planning I put into a book really varies from project to project, but I usually have general outline of What Must Happen, and then I set out to write it down, letting it flow as it will. As I mentioned, I haven’t even started writing FEARLESS yet, though I have an idea of what will happen and how we’ll get there. In my experience, you can plan a story all you want, but there’s a good chance it will take you somewhere completely unexpected once you try to write it. There’s a whole section of HEARTLESS that came out of absolutely nowhere that helped solve a bit of a plot hole I was worrying about, so they’re usually happy surprises. And then there are situations like the one with another project of mine where you get a draft finished, go back and read it, realize that it’s completely unworkable, and rewrite the story all over again with a few different angles. I have one project that is currently in its third draft. I have been working on this project for upwards of ten years.  Maybe it’ll finally be ready when I’m 85.

Meanwhile, the whole of THE SLAYER SAGA is being written in three years. Three. For three books. There is absolutely no consistency here.

51SQU+dg82L._SX373_BO1,204,203,200_HEARTLESS is certainly a dark book, darker than the first SLAYER SAGA book by a fair amount, I feel, and the ending, without getting too deep into spoilers, is…well, we’ll say “kinda bleak.” I am entertained to note that one of your other books is called BOWLFUL OF BUNNIES, which I assume is somewhat different in tone. I hope. Do you find yourself as a writer needing to flip back and forth between tones, or is that just how the different books needed to be? Or is BOWLFUL OF BUNNIES creepier than I think it is, because now I that I think about it, I can come up with ways for bowls of bunnies to be really awful.

I’m sure every independent author comes to look upon their first publication with a little bit of cringy regret, and, while I’m very proud of the work in BOWLFUL, I think I really missed the mark in the title and the cover art. Which I love and is adorable, but it definitely gives off the wrong impression of the work. However, BOWLFUL is also a good example of how I strive for diversity in my writing. Whenever anyone asks, “Oh, you’re an author? What do you write?”, I’m always compelled to answer, “A little bit of everything.” BOWLFUL is a collection of nearly all the short stories I’ve written in the decade before its publication, covering everything from historical flash fiction about Communist China to science fiction about an assassin who has to kill a shadow demon trying to take over his soul. I chose the title because of a funny conversation a roommate and I had about having a bowlful of “plot bunnies,” that you would just reach into and grab on and make a story out of it, but, in retrospect, it doesn’t really convey the mood of the book. People think it’s all cutesy stuff (and there are some cutesy stories, too; I had a friend tell me that her grandkids loved the first tale, “Dragon Rising”), but there’s also violence and bad words and even a graphic sex scene in one of the stories.. I thought of following the pattern in future short story collection (Platterful of Puppies, Kettleful of Kittens, Hot-Water-Heaterful of Hedgehogs…), but I  don’t want to continue running into the same misconceptions. If there’s anything about independent publishing, it’ that you learn more and more with every book, and you feel a bit silly about some of your mistakes, but you’re glad you learned from them.

I will admit, I do tend to skew a little dark. I had one reader tell me (lovingly!) that I had a “sick mind,” and all I could think was, “And here I thought THE SLAYER SAGA was one of my tamer ideas.”

What else do you have going on? Any new or upcoming projects we need to know about?

51HNl-CH1OL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Oh, there’s TONS! When I started independently publishing, one of my biggest challenges was holding myself back to focus on JUST ONE project at a time, so there’s always a huge list of things waiting when I finish something.

The biggest, most exciting one is releasing the second volume of WORLD UNKNOWN REVIEW in December. I started this project last year, and I’m so thrilled to see where it goes. It’s my very own literary journals, and we’ll accepting submissions until October 31st. So if you have a story, please send it! I’ll even pay you a whole fifteen bucks! That’s, like, two Starbucks coffees or something. Last year, I had the honor of publishing a story called “Culaqan” by a certain person conducting a certain interview right now, and it’s still one of my favorites. It’s an awesome project that I hope serves its purpose of bringing writers together and spreading their words all over the place, because that’s one of the things I love most about the writing world today. If you’re interested, you can check out the guidelines at http://lsengler.com/submissions

And, as I mentioned, I haven’t even started writing FEARLESS yet, so, in the meantime, I working on my own short stories, as well as a novel in my Aryneth world. I grew up playing a lot of Final Fantasy and King’s Quest and reading a lot of DragonLance and Narnia books, so of COURSE I have my own fantasy world that I will unleash one day. That ten-plus-year project I mentioned? Another Aryneth project. The first book I wrote when I was in sixth grade and thought it was the greatest thing ever? Aryneth again.  I have about a million books planned for this series, and so I’m working on just one of them.

After THE SLAYER SAGA is finished, I’m thinking I’ll focus on a book I’ve got half written right now about a haunted house and ghosts, because that’s always a good time.  There’s also this retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher,” from the perspective of Madeline Usher, that I’m pretty stoked about, and then this whole thing with a Western and dragons.

See? Huge list. I need to write faster.

Tell me who would play the Slayer in the movie. 

Samus Aran.

Samus Aran isn’t real.

Okay, Charlize Theron. Who, in my mind, needs to be Samus Aran, too.

Where can we find you out there on the internet? How important do you find social media (defined however you like) to be to your success as an independent author?

Everyone always says that your presence on social media is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of being a successful indie author, which is probably why I’m not every successful.  I like social media. I’m on it occasionally, but I’m probably not doing it right. I’m trying to get better, though.

I’m trying to be more present on my blog at http://lsengler.com , but that’s always tricky because I have a really crappy computer and posting can sometimes be a pain.

I’m most active on Facebook, because, since my computer is crappy, my phone is actually a better computer and Facebook is super easy to use on my phone. You can find me at http://facebook.com/ellis.engler .  I post a lot of personal stuff, as well as professional, because (and this is another thing I probably do “wrong” according to the experts), I don’t believe in an Author Page. I am my brand, my brand is me, and I want people to be just as familiar with what I had for dinner last night as they are with my latest books. So let’s be friends!

Twitter scares me, because I feel I can never keep up with it (and I’m not even that old!), but I try to post updates and things I things Deep and Clever at http://twitter.com/lsengler

My favorite social media space, though, is probably my tumblr, because my dash is just basically a mess of all the things I find funny or beautiful or inspiring or cool. It’s basically like opening my brain and taking a look at it, and I hope it’s a place people would want to stay for a bit. And, again, I can easily manage it on my phone.  http://tumblr.com/lsengler

Any advice for other writers?

Just write. Write your heart out. Write what you love, not what you think other people will love. Send thing out to traditional publishers. Publish things yourself. Read. Read, read, and then read some more. Read everything. Read good book, read bad books, read short books and long books. Stay inside and binge on Netflix and video games. Go out in the world and experience nature. Think of all the stories that are out there, and try to write them all.  Learn to take criticism and use it to make yourself better. Every critique is an opportunity, not a put-down. Don’t knock it ‘till you try it. Never give up. Never surrender.

And the most important thing of all is to HAVE PATIENCE. It’s important to be skillful as a writer, but it’s just as important to be determined. There’s a quote from my favorite video game every created, EarthBound (or Mother 2 if you want to get TECHNICAL) that does the trick better than I ever could:

“There are many difficult times ahead, but you must keep your sense of humor, work through the tough situations, and enjoy yourself.”

What’s the last really good book you read?

(I know you said to pick something else, but I’m shamelessly going to plug you anyway, nyah nyah nyah)

 Pbbbbbbbt.

Well, I’m currently enjoying an early peek at Luther M. Siler’s SEARCHING FOR MALUMBA, which I’m mentioning for OBVIOUS reasons, but has been both delightful and heartbreaking all in one. I encourage everyone to check it out when it’s released, and, I swear, I’m not just saying that because Luther’s RIGHT HERE.

On a less butt-kissing note, though, I’ve finally gotten around to reading THE HUNGER GAMES, and it’s so, so good! I also just finished reading Ray Bradbury’s DANDELION WINE for the first time, and it’s now a book I plan to read every August, because it’s such a wonderful love letter to summer and the kind of youth I had rural Michigan.  I’ll admit, this year so far, I haven’t gotten through many stand-out, stellar HOLY CRAP books. A lot of GOOD books, but not as many GREAT books. I absolutely love to read, so I’d actually like to turn this question onto the readers: What’s the last really good book YOU’VE read? I’d love some recommendations (and hope that, maybe, one day, one of my books might be on your lists, too).

Thanks for having me interview on your blog, Luther! These were some really awesome question, and I hope I haven’t babbled too much.  I hope everyone enjoys reading my ramblings and that we see much, much more of each other in the years to come!

REVIEW: THE UNQUIET GRAVE, by Katherine Lampe

41-X1K0SW+L._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve said this before, many times: I read books in print.  I have a Kindle Paperwhite, and the iBooks app on all of my various iDevices, but I read every single day and 95% of my reading is on paper.  This wouldn’t be terribly notable except for the part where I’m an independent author, and the vast majority of us make our money pushing ebooks.  In other words, I sell something that I don’t regularly use, and worse, when one of My People writes a book, frequently the sad truth is that I’ll happily purchase and download your book but it’s entirely possible that it’s gonna spend a long time languishing on my Kindle before I have an excuse to get to it.

Not that I’m always super prompt about paper books, mind you, because I have a backlog like every avid reader.  But at least with my print books they’re sitting on my Unread Shelf in my bedroom and they’re glaring at me, and I remember they’re there.  Ebooks are on my Kindle; sometimes I don’t even know where my Kindle is, much less remember a specific book that I ought to get to.

What this means is that when I tell you that once I got started on Unquiet Grave I barely put it down, you probably ought to take it pretty seriously, because “barely put it down” is not something I say about ebooks very often.  Even more amazingly, it’s urban fantasy, hardly my favorite genre– in fact, one I have been complaining about regularly for almost its entire existence.

So.  Right.  The book.  Unquiet Grave is the first of Lampe’s Caitlin Ross series, which is currently at a fairly astonishing six books.  Caitlin is a musician, and in fact drama with her band is one of the main elements of the plot of the book.  She’s also a witch.  However, she doesn’t want to be, and when a supernatural encounter at a gig drags her into the role of protector of her town and Investigator of Strange Doings, she has to make a choice about whether to embrace her nature or continue to suppress it.

Here’s what’s interesting about this book, or at least part of it: it’s the first book in the series, but it feels like it could be book two or three.  The characters have backstory and history that makes the world feel established, and Caitlin herself has been through some shit in her past that I want to know more about.  I don’t know if subsequent books in the series march forward in chronological order or what, but I’d love to see something set before this book at some point.  The Celtic-infused magic system feels like it has rules and boundaries without a lot of time spent explaining them, and Caitlin’s relationships with her husband, bandmates and friends feel real.  The central mystery of the book, which drops back a generation or two into her fictional Colorado town’s history, is a great, interesting story.

The point: you should check this book out.  You’ll like it.  Promise.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: James Wylder, Poet/Playwright/Raconteur

DSCF1669I met James Wylder at InConJunction, and spent three days sitting next to him and selling each other’s books.  He’s cool.  You should check his stuff out.  

Tell us about yourself.

I’m the author of “An Eloquence of Time and Space” the Unofficial Doctor Who Poetry Book“, the plays Cryptos and God Save the Pres.! as well as my first book of poetry, Cascade. I graduated from Hanover College in Southern Indiana, and currently live in Elkhart, Indiana. I’m also the co-owner of Shotgun Angel Games LLC, and I won second place in a costume contest as Seneca Crane from the Hunger Games once.

What about your work?  What projects do you have going right now, and what older work are you proudest of?

Right now I’m serializing a story on my website called 10,000 Dawns, with a new chapter being released every Thursday. I’m also editing several of my books for an upcoming release. 10,000 Dawns is the really exciting one for me, as every chapter has its own piece of artwork drawn to accompany it by Annie Zhu, and each chapter is also being released in an audio format by the Southgate Media Group as a free download. People are really enjoying it so far, so I can’t wait to bring out the rest of the story!

On the game development end of my work, I’m working on a Tabletop Roleplaying Game called Greys by Gaslight that features investigators in Victorian London fighting alien invaders. Essentially it’s “The X-Files: 1888.”

Cover2Can you tell us more about 10,000 Dawns?  (Later Luther edit: I phrased this question in kind of a dumb way.  Of fuckin’ course he can.  I would have been really entertained had James just answered “No.  I cannot tell you more about my story.”)

It’s a science fiction story about a teenage girl named Graelyn who takes a research internship in an underwater city, only to find out the secluded city is being used to attempt to create a portal into a parallel universe. The experiment works, and Graelyn is thrown into a reality where she finds out she grows up to be a person she finds abhorrent. How she reacts to this, and how she changes as a character are the big questions of the story. Using science fiction to peel back the layer’s of a person’s character and self-image has been fascinating, and a lot of fun as well.  The mix of drama and fun is what’s drawn readers to the story so far. There is real character drama, and exploration of the future and alternate universes, but also things like the dance sequence in chapter two that people adored. I’m very proud of it .

When did you realize that writing was something you really wanted to do?

I’ve wanted to write ever since my Dad was reading Michael Stackpole and Timothy Zahn novels at my bedside! Or maybe even before that. I used to make my sisters and mom write down the stories for books I would then (badly) illustrate. Its been in my bones as long as I can remember.

I know you just came off a fairly extensive con tour.  Do you have any suggestions or advice for authors about getting people at conventions or book signings interested in their work?

Have a hook. That is by far the most important thing I could advise. There are tons of people at booths all over the convention all: why should people stop at yours? What makes yours special? You might be afraid a hook will push people away because it will alienate people who aren’t interested in what you’re drawing them in with: and you’d be right.
But you will lose far more sales from people who aren’t interested in your work because nothing could draw them in at all than you will from the few who go “Well that doesn’t sound like something I’d like.” You’d never have gotten their sales anyways.

For me, my hook was Doctor Who. I dressed as the Doctor nearly every day at the conventions I was at (with a few exceptions due to heat in the facilities making wearing a full suit for eight hours a health hazard) as well as bringing a banner that said exactly what I was selling- Doctor Who poetry!

1062516_587283344625317_854549267_nWhat’s your social media presence like?  Outside of conventions, what are you doing to promote yourself and your work?

I have my website, jameswylder.com, where I am currently serializing my story 10,000 Dawns, as well as a Facebook page for myself and several of my most important works. I also am on Twitter as @arcbeatle, and you can find me on tumblr at 10000dawns.tumblr.com.

Outside of conventions I do interviews like this one, and try to break through the clutter on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook. I find it much easier to get fans interested in my work in person. I also do stops at regular old bookstores and cafes, and between those and conventions that’s where most of my publicity comes from.

I’ve been struggling to make my online presence really notable, and its an egg I’m just not adept at cracking compared to my skill at in person interactions. Hopefully as I keep learning I’ll be able to promote myself better in both forums!

What’s the best response to someone who tells you “I don’t read poetry” or “I don’t read plays”?

For some people, its as simple as what they said: they know they don’t like poetry or theatre, and there is little I can do to change that. However, the best response I can give is to hand them one of my books and let them read it. There’s so often a look of joy and surprise as they find poetry and theatre that they find they can relate to and touches them or makes them laugh.

I feel like a lot of people have the impression that poetry and theatre are elitist mediums that have to be elusive from their every day lives, and they certainly can be. Whenever I see someone teaching children Shakespeare’s plays or sonnets and bulldozing over the witty humor in it because they see the text as ‘sacred’, I cringe. A lot of people have kept that mentality that poetry and theatre isn’t something they can let loose inside– when that’s exactly what it should be there for!

So just saying to give it a chance is the best I can do. It so often works wonders.

An_Eloquence_of_Time_and_Space5 (1)What’s your favorite poem from An Eloquence of Space and Time, and why is it your favorite?

My favorite poem from the book is one of the shortest, and also the most complete. As a poety being able to create a short poem that truly captures and expresses the truth of something big is a much larger accomplishment than making a very long poem that does that.

3.3 Gridlock
trapped on a turntable
round and round we go
with Sally Calypso

Is there a poem that has been your readers’ favorite?

The poem that has always gotten the best reactions from readers has been the one for the episode “Smith and Jones”.

3.1 Smith and Jones
A Judoon Platoon on the Moon?
why did you assume that would be a boon
only a loon would attune to the goon
that harpooned Doctor Eun and its
not even noon in June to Harpoon
with Judoon on the moon! So soon!
Don’t listen to a tune on your Zune,
I know I make you swoon across this lunar dune
you’re a Doctor? I am too! Fate like runes!
bandits together like raccoons
leading to our Judoom

Smith and Jones to the rescue then
to assume the doom Judoon will zoom
into the room and entomb us like a womb
with a boom on the moon

we’ll weave this all up like a loom, this doom
and then no more Judoon
will harpoon in platoons on the moon
I assume?

Speaking of Eloquence, I see that that book’s production was actually successfully funded through Kickstarter.  Can you tell us more about that?  Did it work out as well as you hoped?  Have you thought about using it again since then?

When the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who started to creep onto the horizon, I really wanted to do something special for the fans of the show. After all, it had been my favorite show since I was a little kid. I’d already done a Kickstarter to fund my first book of poetry, Cascade, so I thought this would be a great way to go about bringing this book into the world as well. As it turned out, it far exceeded my wildest expectations! The book met every single stretch goal I put in front of it,to the point that I ended up having the money to write a poem about every episode of Doctor Who from the whole first fifty years of the show– plus all the episodes of the spin offs! It was a daunting task, but I think it turned out spectacularly.

Not only have I thought about it, but I’ve used it twice since then. I have five more books funded by two different Kickstarters coming out in the next few months, which should be exciting!

Kickstarter is a wonderful tool for creators to get the funds they need to make what they want to. I should warn would be Kickstarters that its not just free money. To actually get funded takes a lot of work, and your backers will expect you to fulfill your promises. Plan your project hard, and don’t take it lightly!

There’s a new season of Dr. Who coming.  Any thoughts to updating the book?

I’ll definitely be doing a “Volume 2” at some point– but I’m probably going to wait till Peter Capaldi finishes his whole run as the Doctor. After all, I blew through 50 years of TV for the first book, I’ll need a nice meaty amount of Doctor Who to chew on for more poems!

I can’t wait to watch Series 9 of Doctor Who– Peter Capaldi is so good in the lead role, and I know he’s going to do spectacular things with it.

God_Save_the_Pres.!_Cover_for_KindleLet’s talk about fandom for a moment.  You’re obviously a big Dr. Who fan.  What else are you into?  Any hobbies/life passions outside fandom and wordsmithery?

Oh plenty. I’m a gigantic fan of Decipher’s WARS Universe, for which I run the only fansite: thezocho.weebly.com. I also love Star Trek, Star Wars, the Middle Earth Universe, the World of Darkness…. Oh goodness I could go on forever. I’m a giant nerd.

I’m fairly new to comics, but I’ve loved Ant-Man since I was a little kid (unusual, I know) so the recent movie was a big treat for me. I’m also big on Captain America, Black Widow, the X-Men and Batman (thanks to Bruce Tim’s excellent animated series). Since the Marvel Cinematic Universe started I’ve never missed a film or a TV show. They’ve got me hook line and sinker at this point… Though I’m still waiting for a Black Widow movie (C’mon Marvel, make it happen!)

I also love running, though sadly with all my writing and touring I’m out of shape. Exploring nature is a big hobby of mine. Oh, and roleplaying games. I’ve been playing those excessively since I was a tot as well!

Anything else we should definitely know about?  

Right now I’m a part of Southgate Media Group’s Charity Drive to help raise money for a child fighting cancer named Ben. If you want to help donate to his recovery, use the link here.

Just in case you missed all the links, here’s where to find James out there on the interwubz:

In which I am preparing to woohoo

Screen_Shot_2015-07-14_at_2_40_39_PM

The Benevolence Archives, Vol. 1 is tantalizingly close to its thousandth download.  You know you want that download to be by you.  It’s free everywhere but Amazon, but I’m not gonna get mad at you if you decide to throw me a whole 99 cents for it over there:

After that, we start working on getting Skylights to number 200 and Sanctum to number 100.  Whee!


It is good that I have a minor milestone to celebrate today, because otherwise I’m slowly going nuts.  I’ve said many times that I’m bad at being on vacation. I managed to survive last summer without any real difficulties, but the job stress is somehow way higher this summer than last, and I just can’t find any jobs that I think I’m qualified for and want to do.  Note that I’m defining “qualified for” as “other people will think I’m qualified for,” as I know I can do dozens of jobs competently that on paper I’m not going to look qualified for.  Trouble is, “trust me” doesn’t work well on a cover letter.  I just met my wife for lunch a couple of hours ago and I’m pretty sure I did nothing but bitch and complain for the entire meal.

I need to find a way out of this mess.

June sales analysis

tl;dr version: Wellll…..

Spreadsheet of dooooooooom!

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 8.32.35 AM

Those of you who have made with the clicky have noted that this is sort of a mixed-news month.  The good: June was the 2nd best month of the year in terms of overall downloads, not far behind May, and without May’s advantage of a 52-sale book signing.  So that’s a plus.  I also did an end-of-the-school-year countdown deal on Skylights and The Sanctum of the Sphere that netted me my first day ever of double-digit sales on Amazon.  Yes, ever.  I also have continued my streak of no days with 0 downloads out to over two months– my last 0 day was April 19th!

Speaking of Amazon, though:  The bad news, such as it is, is that 2/3 of my downloads were through openbooks.com, meaning that I made very little money in June.  Now, I’ve said this before, and I’ll repeat it here: the point at this point in my career is not to make a lot of money doing this.  But making a little would be nice.  And Amazon was fucking brutal this month:

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 8.42.34 AM

Ouch.  That big spike in the middle is the countdown sale, but even the countdown sale had a zero day.  There were originally a couple of Kindle Unlimited borrows sprinkled through that horrible desert over the back half of the month, but they’ve changed their reporting to go with their new sales model and they’ve disappeared, making the graph even more depressing than it already was.

And here we get to the reason I post this and keep records like these: writers, did you see a drought in June on Amazon too?  Given how long my books have gone without sales, I’d expect sales ranks to be a lot lower than they are, and they’re falling slowly, so I think everyone had a bad month.  June may just not be a good month for booksellers in general, but I need more data.  Anyone have anything to report?