This year: All my top music is associated with writing-project playlists. Which is … sad and also kind of predictable.I knew this was coming, kind of
I think I’m done with the meta/etc., at least until I see how the ads go in December. [Apparently? You shouldn’t run ads in December at all. Christmas and everything. Oh well. I’m doing it anyway. We’ll see how it goes, and I’ll learn something.]
Anyway, I changed some keyword stuff behind all the scenes – winnowing out some that nobody actually searches for, brainstorming some others (like, can you believe I never had “camping” as a keyword on Healers’ Road? Camping. The thing that takes up 50% of the novel. Yeesh.)
I also caved and added subtitles to both series. Subtitles are those things like “: An InsertGenreHere Adventure” or “: An InsertSubgenreHere AlsoMaybeAUsefulBuzzword Romance.” You know, “A Fated Mates Shifter Romance” or “A Cozy LitRPG Adventure.” I have never. ever. used. them., because when I started, the only people who seemed to use them stuffed them so full of obvious SEO buzzwordage that they took on a bad reputation. Nowadays, subtitles are commonplace; they help people recognize what genre/subgenre the story is before they even get to the description. (And honestly? I understand why people did the way-too-many-buzzwords thing. They were trying. It’s rough out there.)
The subtitle I added for Healers was “A Slice of Life Fantasy Novel”. Because that’s what it is. “Cozy fantasy” is solidifying into one specific thing that this story is not, and that’s fine. I just don’t want people to expect a quirky small-business story when I’m doing something else. Slice of life covers it.
The subtitle I added for Therapist was “A Slightly Heavy Light Novel”; full credit to my spouse on that one. It’s not as helpful for catching searches, but it nails the “funny but also kind of serious” tone. Hey, I’ve got little to lose on Therapist‘s traction so far; I may as well experiment.
(Ironically, I don’t fully believe that this is a light novel, because it’s not YA. But it draws on light novel tropes and subverts a few of them, and it helps to have a passing familiarity with the genre. If the subtitle starts confusing people, I’ll think of something else.)
I also want to say that all of this meta/marketing/etc. stuff I’m doing isn’t to be cynical or mercenary or to change any of the content of what I do at all. It’s more about shoring up a skill I’ve always felt I lacked, and an area I don’t know much about. To demystify it for myself so it’s less daunting. And ultimately, once a story is written, to try to give it a fair shake at finding people who would enjoy reading it. That’s my actual goal with this part.
I wrote both of these series for me, at the end of the day. I needed a story about two very different people who get past their own flaws to become friends, and also a lot of camping and linguistics. And I needed a story about finding yourself stranded in a goofball fantasy world, mourning what you’ve lost, and rebuilding your life with the friends you’ve made along the way.
Those were for me, at different stages of my life. But I know that both of them would be fun for someone else to read, too. It’s just a matter of putting up a flag for the “someone else”s who would like them. That’s how I’m approaching “marketing.” Figuring out what the flag is for each series, and learning how to raise it.
Hey. I’ve got a bunch of offbeat, comforting, sometimes sad, usually queer, overly introspective stories with some jokes in them. Want some?
As part of trying to study up on the meta/marketing?/etc. of it all, I finally bit the bullet and changed the name of the Balance Academy to The Healers. That’s what I’ve been calling it for nearly a decade; the series veered off its original intent as an anthology almost immediately; the BA name is misleading; the end.
I apologize if this is confusing at any point, but it has been annoying me for ages, and I wanted to finally make that switch. So I did.
I just googled “constructive procrastination portmanteau” because I could swear there’s a goofy word for what I’m doing right now. The irony is about to make my head explode.
Anyway, before that I moved Healers off Gumroad and enrolled it on Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program (KDP Select on the back end). That means that all my stuff is currently only available on Amazon — ebook, print, and KU if you have a subscription. I could actually offer the print versions elsewhere under those terms, but I never dove into figuring out any other system, so those are only on Amazon too. But by happenstance, not necessity.More about the decision, running promos, and other sausage-making
Just tweaked allllllLLLLlllll the keywords with the help of the tool at this site here. (h/t r/selfpublish, I’m pretty sure.) Basically it reorganizes the keywords you’re using: “hey, you could squish these two phrases on the same line, genius, that gives you a whole additional line”
(I have entire. additional. lines. on every single one of my eight listings. I struggle with keywords)
Also raised almost all of the prices. I dunno, universe. I’m trying to value my work more. $3.99 for all the Healers books in the US; $1.99 for the Therapist books. Other currencies vary, though I tend to tweak them to .99s, so some places get a break. (I try to tweak down, not up)
Although I keep hearing that the fall anime season is packed, I went ahead and tried out one of last season’s shows and ended up marathoning almost all of it within a week. It’s about a guy who turns into a vending machine. Yeah.
Here’s why I like this show, though, and it’s a reason I can’t entirely articulate. The word “wholesome” gets bandied about in some ways that I don’t agree with, so it’s not enough to just say #wholesome and go about my day.
I am not sure yet what I mean by “wholesome.” Not cynical. Not leering or exploitative, although I believe that media can be both horny and wholesome (Crash Course in Naughtiness is running that slalom right now). Respecting its characters, even if they are lightly sketched or not very deep: we still don’t know all that much about Lammis from Vending Machine, but the viewers aren’t encouraged to view her with contempt. And mind you, she’s got just as fanservicey a design as any other generic anime girl: short-shorts, big boobs, exposed midriff. But, imagine this, she’s portrayed as a person with short-shorts and an exposed midriff.
Basically, I think it’s a lack of cynicism more than anything. A lack of contempt for the viewers, the characters, and the universe. Oh hell, didn’t I just rant about sincerity recently? It’s related to that. Boxxo the vending machine is ridiculously earnest. All he wants to do is help people, all he can do is spit out goods in exchange for coins, and gosh darn it, that’s what he’s going to do. There’s something to be said at some point about the RPG system that makes it a risk to his life to give stuff away for free, but the show doesn’t seem interested in that.
Although I do have to note that this show is also a junk food version of Restaurant to Another World: all the fantasy-world people get immediately hooked on Coke Zero, potato chips, and instant noodles, and rhapsodize constantly about how awesome they are. I hate moralizing about food, but I constantly waffle between “this is funny” and “this is troubling.” Though if you’ve lived on mutton and gruel your whole life, compressed salt-and-carb wafers are going to taste effing amazing. I get it.