Happy New Year!

If you’re local, hope you can join me and Christian women’s fiction author Elaine Stock at the Sand Lake Town Library this Saturday, Jan. 7, 1-2:30 pm.

two-authors-1-correct-date

Elaine and I are both members of the Women’s Fiction Writer’s Association. This is a young and welcoming group that embraces both published and aspiring authors, traditionally published or self-published. You get access to courses, contests, feedback, and discussion, including opportunities to network with agents and published authors. I think it’s a great organization to belong to if your fiction falls into that genre at all.

Also, you might enjoy a blog post I recently wrote for Women Writers, Women’s Books, called “Why Won’t (Insert Name Here) Read My Book?” It’s about the inevitable painful realization all published writers have that not everybody they know and love wants to read their books. (I know, shocking, right?)

This coming year I plan to interview a number of other authors, and will also poke my head in occasionally with new stuff on my own front, but mostly I’m challenging myself to write the next novel a whole lot faster than I have in the past.

I need to, since after this winter it will be time to go back to full-time work. As I contemplate a future without Obamacare, I don’t see any responsible way around it — and that’s okay, since there are plenty of other things I like to do besides writing — and, frankly, every single one of them pays better.

Hope this finds you well. I wish you a wonderful year of reading and (if it’s your thing) writing! Onward!

Goodreads giveaway: Signed ARC of Bardwell’s Folly!

This is a pretty short giveaway, so don’t put off entering, US peeps. Enter to win today!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Bardwell's Folly by Sandra Hutchison

Bardwell’s Folly

by Sandra Hutchison

Giveaway ends November 30, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Here’s a short tidbit from later than the first five chapters:

Joe and Dori stood awkwardly in the great room, listening to distant squeals of admiration from Lisa. Robert returned quickly. “She said she wanted to grab a quick shower.”

“Great,” Joe said. “That’ll be at least another twenty minutes.”

“Anyone want another beer?” Robert asked.

“No thanks,” Joe and Dori said in unison. Joe gave her an annoyed look. He didn’t want them to suddenly get along too well, Dori concluded. She withdrew to peer out of the giant bank of windows.

“Something else?” Robert said, head in the refrigerator. “I have water, soda, iced tea. White wine. Red wine.”

Neither she nor Joe responded.

Dori looked at her watch. Now that it was finally growing dark outside, the windows were reflecting the yellow-lit interior of the house. In the reflection she watched Robert open an iced tea, check his own watch, then flounce down on the massive sofa that sat in front of the fireplace. “Anyone want a fire?” he asked.

Joe said, “Don’t you have the air on?”

Robert shrugged. “I can keep it low.” He picked up a remote and flames leapt up, quickly dialed down to embers.

Joe frowned. “So where’s the mood music?”

Robert cocked an eyebrow at him. “You want me to get you in the mood?”

Dori asked, “Do you have another bathroom?”

Robert said, “You’ll find a couple of bathrooms just down the other hall there, between the bedrooms.” He pointed towards the other side of the house. Dori couldn’t help noticing that while he’d escorted Lisa, she was on her own.

“Thanks,” she said, and took off. But as she passed the kitchen and front door she noticed a tiny half bath that was closer and ducked in. She sat down, noting the funky wallpaper with its rainbow trout motif, and realized she could hear the two guys talking quite clearly.

Which meant they could hear her, too. She’d have to try to pee softly. There were some drawbacks to the great room concept. She stealthily unrolled toilet paper, reluctant even to broadcast the clunk-clunk of the roll turning.

She heard Joe say, “You’ve got quite a reputation.”

“Hey, it’s not my fault women throw themselves at me. I don’t know if it’s my stunning good looks, my charming personality, or all that money. And, frankly, I don’t care. I enjoy the ladies, and I make sure they enjoy me. I make no apologies for any of it.”

Damn. Joe was right, Robert was a skank. That was the vibe she’d been getting from him all along, of course, but it was a little disheartening to hear him own it so wholeheartedly.

On the other hand that part about ensuring the ladies enjoyed it intrigued her a bit. No doubt there was something to be said for all that practice.

Also, the size of his instrument bore consideration.

Joe didn’t sound impressed. “Have you shared this philosophy with Dori?”

“I follow a don’t ask, don’t tell policy in regards to my philosophy. But you’ve already warned her off, haven’t you?”

Joe didn’t answer, unless it was some visual response Dori couldn’t see.

Robert continued: “What I like about Dori is that she clearly has a mind of her own. She’s more than capable of making her own decisions about what might be fun. I find her very appealing, actually. She might even be a keeper.”

As opposed to the old catch and release? Dori eyed the trout motif on the wallpaper and decided she felt vaguely flattered. She knew she could not compete with Lisa or half the other eligible young women in the world in terms of physical attraction, but apparently all a woman really had to do to fascinate Robert was be unusually uncooperative. She could do that.

Enter the Goodreads giveaway for a signed paperback copy of RIBS

Go for it, US peeps!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire by Sandra Hutchison

The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire

by Sandra Hutchison

Giveaway ends November 29, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Stay tuned! Next week I expect to give away a signed Advance Reading Copy of BARDWELL’S FOLLY!

Updates, Kobo deal, Goodreads giveaway

Bardwell’s Folly

BardwellsFollylibreblur200x309“Bardwell’s Folly” has been read by five beta readers now, and thanks to that feedback I’m making some good revisions.  I’m hopeful this version will be done by the end of the week. Then it goes to my fussiest beta readers in the hope they will throw in some proofreading, too. Then it’s into Kindle Scout, unless I chicken out and just put it up for pre-order. I did stick a toe in the water with regular querying (if a tweet and one query count), but my heart just wasn’t in it.

The Awful Mess

This week I finalized a new (or, actually, old, re-imagined) cover for the ebook edition of “The Awful Mess” because Amazon won’t allow me to advertise with a nude-ish person on the cover. (They also refuse anything with blood, I’m told by author Julie Frayn.) Now I just have to upload the new cover and update, like, everything. (Actually, the paperback will retain its lovely and striking and not exactly prurient Damonza.com cover — and I did lean heavily for inspiration on an option he’d given me back in the day, when I’d asked for something with those rocks as well as an original option.)

Evolution of a coverOf course, having made that decision, I finally got an offer to do something interesting  just because it’s a SELF-e Select title, so I might hold off on trying it in Kindle Select until after then. I’m still going to change the cover, though. For all I know, that’s why BookBub keeps turning it down lately.

Speaking of Self-e, why Amazon considers a program that gives curated indie ebooks to libraries free as infringing on Kindle Select is beyond me. If I were them, I’d be happy to see my indie authors building a library readership, especially since SELF-e books now include buy links.

SPECIAL DEAL FOR KOBO READERS: Use code 50Jun through June 27 (midnight EST — that’s coming up fast, of course) to save half off “The Awful Mess” and many other indie titles.

And next up?

For the next book I keep stalling out on my original plan. I’m thinking of returning to Lawson, New Hampshire instead. They do say series are the way to go. I’ve had a story in mind that would offer interesting challenges to Winslow and Mary, one related to issues that sometimes arise over immigration in small town New England. And Annie Soper deserves a love story. But I’m just beginning to flesh those ideas out.

A Goodreads giveaway of “The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire”

While you wait for a new book, you or your reading friends might want to sign up to enter the Goodreads giveaway of an autographed paperback of “The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire.”

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire by Sandra Hutchison

The Ribs and Thigh Bones of Desire

by Sandra Hutchison

Giveaway ends July 09, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Technical difficulties … please stand by.

In case you’re trying to access my site and having trouble with any of it, I’m attempting a change of host providers and of course things are going terribly wrong. Hopefully it will stabilize and I can go in and do repairs before too long.

UPDATE: Well, it’s working again and much faster, but at the expense of a lot of things that used to work and now don’t. My new host provider seems much more disapproving of my use of “resources.” I would even go so far as to say they seem rather miserly.

So, again, things like my contact form and so forth are works in progress at the moment.

When it comes to fiddling around behind the scenes of a web site, I believe I have now officially risen to the level of my incompetence!

 

ABNA was nice while it lasted, but…

…not, in retrospect, quite as nice as I’d expected.

Amazon Publishing’s Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is a brilliant idea to acquire new authors of quality work, usually without the fuss of agents, while building engagement among its self-published authors and readers. Kudos to them for coming up with it.

I wasn’t at all sure about entering. The Awful Mess is women’s fiction, and it would be up against the entire general fiction category. My book verges on romance, and it has progressive religious elements. I didn’t think either aspect was going to help it. My book also has two sex scenes and some bad language. This didn’t seem to fit the guidelines for the contest. Finally, I suspected that this whole process would be a bit of a distraction from my game plan. And it was.

On the plus side, getting to the quarter finals would include a free Publishers Weekly review. And a couple of fellow authors, including one who’d made it to the quarter-finals before, urged me to jump in. I did my research and noticed generally strong marketing by Amazon for the previous winners. So, ultimately, I did jump in, with a version in which the two explicit sex scenes were jumped over.

And, as it turns out, the book made it to the quarter-finals and then into the semi-finals — which is to say, it was one of five semi-finalists for the general fiction category.

I'm in there with the ABNA semi-finalists -- I'm not just making it up!

Yes, I really was in there with the ABNA semi-finalists — I’m not just making it up!

Personally, I would not be shocked if Amazon was behind the scenes somewhere guiding this result, since they might have noticed that this book was doing pretty well for an indie debut (in its first year it sold over 1,200 copies, and had over 50,000 free downloads). If I were an acquisitions editor in their publishing division, I might think this looks like an author with potential. (The book that won the general fiction category was already self-published, too, and doing even better.)

I especially wondered this after I got my sought-after review — which, it turned out, was not really a Publishers Weekly review, in the sense of being a review actually written for and published in Publishers Weekly. It was uniformly positive, for which I was very thankful, but it seemed a little off, as if the person who wrote it hadn’t really read the entire book. It suggests that my heroine fends men off (she tries, but she’s not very good at it), and references the “rowdy bars” of the small New England town. I suppose there is one kerfuffle in one bar, but it’s hardly a major plot element. It also uses the phrase “small New England town” twice in six sentences. While I’m very grateful that it is so positive, it’s not something I can easily use for marketing, especially since I have to explain that it’s from the ABNA contest and the book was not exactly the same. So I consider this aspect a bit of a bust.

I decided that I would not attempt to enlist my friends or mount a social media campaign to gain reviews for the ABNA excerpt. I already had 170+ real reviews on the full novel, so it seemed kind of silly. Also, I was moving house and had no time to even send out a press release. This may or may not have played a part in the reality that I didn’t win my category.

Part of the reason I didn’t fight for it may be that I was feeling ambivalent about becoming an Amazon Publishing author. That it would be financially advantageous, I have little doubt. I notice that Amazon promotes its own books quite effectively, and I considered the contract all semi-finalists sign eminently fair (I once worked as an acquisitions editor, so I am more familiar with publishing contracts than most folks). But whether Amazon was likely to be a happy partner with me as I moved ahead on later books — books with even more sexual themes, plus some controversial content in the second — I wasn’t sure.

I noticed they had a truly huge list of authors in their various publishing imprints, so I had no idea what kind of attention I would get (not that I have any complaints about communication from them during this process — it was always prompt and courteous). And while Kindle Select was a great place to launch The Awful Mess, staying exclusive to Amazon would mean no branching out into Kobo, Nook, the iStore, or bookstores going forward. It might get me even less access to local bookstores than I already have as an indie. I’m not sure what it would mean for libraries, but I doubt it would help much.

Finally, my sales dipped pretty precipitously during this process. Most of this, I’m sure, is because I haven’t been promoting. After signing that contract, I wasn’t sure how much I could promote. When I finally asked, initially I was told I could do anything as a self-publisher, but then when I double-checked before confirming a BookBub promotion, and the product manager also double-checked, the lawyers said that during final voting that kind of promotion would be a no-no. Part of the sales dip may also be that I let my Kindle Select status expire because I was planning to branch out into the other retailers once I had safely lost. (Does Kindle Select status provide a measurable sales advantage on Amazon? I don’t know. I do miss the income from loans, though.) Part of it may also be confusion between the ABNA excerpt and the full book, though I doubt it.

At any rate, at this point I’m so close to launching the second book that I’m going to go ahead and get those ducks lined up before I do any serious promoting. I’m now aiming to get that published this fall. (If you’d like to be notified when it’s out, make sure you sign up for my mailing list, and then make sure you also opt in when you get the confirming email.)

So, fellow writers, if you’ve participated in ABNA at any point, did you feel it was productive for you? Would you recommend it to others? Would you do it again?

 

 

Mulling results from a Kindle Countdown Deal

One of the principles I follow as an independent publisher is that just about anything is worth trying.

When I first published, I discovered that offering The Awful Mess: A Love Story free through Kindle Select could pay off quite nicely in reviews and in residual sales that at least paid my advertising costs, although it was clearly not the magic bullet that it might once have been for indie publishers.

This time I tried the new Kindle Countdown Deal, supported with notices at affordable Awesome Romance Novels, free eReader Cafe, and (most expensively) at BookGorilla, as well as a notice at eBookSoda, which was thankfully free since I screwed that one up. (Turns out you have to do a separate Kindle Countdown Deal in the UK, and I didn’t realize that. And since eBookSoda is based in the UK, they went with my non-sale pricing.)

I would most certainly have used BookBub if I could have, but it wasn’t available to me (titles can only be there once every six months). I suspect my ranking would have been higher with it. Then again, it stayed so consistent throughout the promotion that it might be that I simply hit my title’s natural “level” and stayed there as long as Amazon’s promotion was in effect.

But even the first day, at 99 cents and with limited exposure, my book shot up in sales. It ranged between 1,800 to 2,500 in the Kindle store, which kept me on the first page of the bestseller lists for literary humor, literary romance, and women’s fiction humor.

This goes to show the importance of having useful key words, by the way. If you look at the shot on the right, you see that my book got highlighted as a hot new release in literature and fiction>humor and satire>humor — which helped drive further sales, I’m sure. (Mind you, the fact that I’m a “hot new release” was probably accidentally abetted by my new cover, which I didn’t realize would give this edition a new release date.) If my only key word had been romance (and no literary), I might not have shown up anywhere.

080078Changing a couple of keywords at mid-course didn’t seem to have any impact, though. (I switched from “divorce” to “dating and relationships” and from “New Hampshire” to “United States.”)

It’s also interesting to me that the “Love Story” in my subtitle no longer generates inclusion in searches for love stories. Perhaps Amazon got tired of all the keywords showing up in  titles and subtitles and has changed its algorithms to avoid rewarding that.

I had planned to do more, but the week with my parents in Florida had not allowed as much engagement with anything online as I’d hoped, and then I came down with a miserable cold, or perhaps the flu-shot version of the flu, and ended up barely functioning  for most of my countdown week.

A more prepared person certainly would have dovetailed more promotions into the middle and end of this deal to keep sales coasting along longer. They dropped off very fast at the conclusion of the deal; I’m seeing minimal residual sales now.

But I really can’t complain. It worked well while it was working. Amazon provides a pretty neat report on this strategy, too. Their useful report tells me I sold over 500 copies in my sale week, up from only a few the week before. (Beyond that, I also had a number of borrows.)

Although the book sales rate was about even, the income was much higher at the end for the 71 hours I was at $1.99, versus the earlier 96 hours at 99 cents. And I didn’t promote the second tier with any external marketing, so I have to assume that was primarily due to Amazon’s own Kindle Countdown Deal promoting, though I suppose my occasional tweets and kindly retweets from GreatBooksGreatDeals and Awesome Romance Novels (as well as fellow authors) might have helped.

Would it have worked as well if I’d gone out with $1.99 as my first sale price? I doubt it, but it’s impossible to know without testing.

It could be that the recent book giveaway I ran on Goodreads helped in some way, too, though I can’t say it helped to any great degree with book sales in its immediate aftermath. I did revise my giveaway ad there to support the Countdown Deal and got a few clicks. (Apparently the lifetime .05% click-through rate on my ads over there is considered good, but I can’t say I see that as driving any particular trend.)

One temptation from all this is to assume that dropping the price to $1.99 would make sense. Amazon of course prevents this by not allowing anyone to drop the price for 14 days after a Countdown Deal. But I’m also doubtful that it would help a lot. First of all, I’d be earning at a lower royalty rate (and maintaining your regular royalty rate is part of what makes Countdown Deals appealing). Second, I’ve tried lower pricing and haven’t really seen much pop from it. In fact, 99-cent pricing actually seemed to depress sales. Then again, I seem to do best in the humor and literary fiction categories, where price may signal something it doesn’t in, say, the romance category.

It might be worth trying $2.99, though.

I had been planning to leave Kindle Select at the end of my current enrollment period so I could get out to the other sites. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t expect to have my next title ready until summer, and I suspect that another round of a Countdown Deal, this time supported by BookBub, would be worth trying.

Other questions I’m currently mulling:

  • Should I enter the book in the Amazon Breakthrough Awards? It feels a little ass-backwards when I’ve already sold 1200 copies or so (not to mention given away 50,000). I particularly question this since the wording of the contest rules suggests I should enter the PG13 version rather than the one with the two sex scenes in it.
  • Should I just drop that PG13 edition? People looking for my book by my name or the book title often end up there, for some reason. It’s confusing, and confusion is not your friend when you’re trying to sell something. On the other hand, I’m also worried about what happens to the book purchased by the rare souls who have purchased the PG13 edition. Will it disappear from their Kindles?
  • What’s the best next move? Come out with an anthology of short stories I’m willing to sell super cheap (Missionary Dating and Other Not Terribly Literary Stories), or come out with the next novel? Or should I try another round with literary agents, now that I’ve established a little credibility out in the marketplace?

Who the heck knows? Meanwhile, I’m also busy trying to sell this house. So … life is full.

Feel free to offer your advice, and share any thoughts or experiences you might have had with Kindle Countdown Deals.

A Goodreads giveaway!

(for US readers)
Just a quick note here for our regular readers — and please feel free to pass the news along to your reading friends.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Awful Mess by Sandra  Hutchison

The Awful Mess

by Sandra Hutchison

Giveaway ends January 12, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Staying the course

I’m in the midst of (distractedly) grading the final research papers for my four English composition classes, so this will have to be a short post.

My paperbaPaperbackck went live on Amazon this week, which was interesting because, as I pretty much expected, the only people to buy it immediately were my parents. Which is just funny, really.

A few friends and family have requested multiple copies, so there’s that. (Yay, friends and family.)

I haven’t been able to do much marketing to support the release, what with the four classes and the unpredictability of the process, but that’s okay. At a friend’s suggestion I’m trying to throw together a little book launch party, but that’s not looking too healthy, either. This is a crazy time of year to squeeze one more thing in.

And sales even of the Kindle version have been slow. But I need to remember what the agents knew much better than I did: even a good debut novel is a challenge to sell in this market without some sort of compelling platform for the author. And I need to remember: That’s why I’m doing it this way. I can afford to fail and just keep writing and getting stuff out there until I gain some traction. In the meantime, I’m in print. And I’m learning.

So far I’ve actually been pretty fortunate, with more sales than the majority of first-timers, and some very nice positive reviews.

So, I really need to get back to what ought to be my primary focus — getting more books out there. Not that I’ll stop marketing, because that’s just too hard for me to do. It’s part of my professional background after all, so I find it embarrassing to just let it go. (On the other hand, my clients have always had much bigger budgets for marketing than I do.)

So the real focus here has to be getting more material out there.

And now I need to go back to grading (where I just discovered that one of my students and I — since I’d approved her source — were fooled by a fake scholarly journal. There’s another hazard of the brave new world of online publishing!)

For now, I wish you happy reading, and good luck with storms, semesters, holiday prep, and all the rest.

Pride goeth before a fall (or at least a misspelling)

One of the risks of calling this enterprise SHEER HUBRIS PRESS is that there’s a little extra irony — a wonderful soupçon of inevitability, really — when I screw up.

Only on this last revision of The Awful Mess: A Love Story did Amazon’s converter notify me of a spelling error I didn’t even realize was a spelling error. And I’m an English teacher and a former editor! (No, I won’t tell you what it is. You get extra points if you can find it, but it’s already gone in the Kindle store.) Alas, it was NOT caught before I’d ordered my book proofs. That’s expensive and time-consuming, because it means another round of proofs.

Most of the stuff I caught this time around was minor. There were words not italicized when I wanted them to be, and some inconsistent use of italics in general (I won’t pretend to have fixed that). There was a scene in which my heroine managed to fit “showers” into a space of time that would only allow one. There was a comma outside single quote marks. (The horror!)

Then there was my p013anic attack about apparently skipping an entire chapter in my chapter numbering. Thankfully, the guy working on the book told me my numbering was fine, since I later found the missing chapter under the desk, where it had hidden after Bo knocked over my neat stack of pages. (He’s not a great office assistant.)

I also developed some concerns about my use or non-use of the subjunctive tense. But this one’s a little tougher, because there’s an argument to be made that English is gradually losing this tense. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, but it’s something I have observed in common practice. And that’s how English always evolves — in common practice.

This section reserved for grammar nerds

Generally speaking, if you construct a conditional sentence about something that is not true, the subjunctive tense (or mood) is required. In other words, if Arthur says “It would be much worse if I was taking this kind of interest in you and you were in my church,” I’m pretty sure he is being ungrammatical.

I believe that “was” should be a “were” because Mary is not, in fact, in his church. Though since he is interested in her in fact and it’s in a compound sentence, I suppose we could debate the matter — after all, the second part could be subjunctive rather than just straight past tense, and English isn’t mathematics with handy parentheses to help us figure out in which order to solve the equation. That’s why I didn’t do it the first time. But being consistent with tense within a sentence is a good thing. So I edited that one this time around.

I did this since Arthur is clearly well-educated, so he should probably use the subjunctive instinctively. However, people speaking are not always as grammatical as they are on paper. So … I don’t know. Honestly, I think I could have gotten away with it. (Feel free to weigh in.)

Later, I’m quite certain I could have gotten away with it if Annie had said, “Maybe if he was about twenty years younger and not so damned religious.” Annie has already confessed that she hates writing and can’t spell. She probably wouldn’t know the subjunctive tense if it came up to her in a bar and bit her on the butt. However, in my book she actually says “…were about twenty years younger.” That’s because I used it unconsciously. Should I have? Probably not. But I left it as it was.

The reality is that 99% of readers won’t notice a missing subjunctive tense and 50% of the remaining 1% won’t care even if they do.

The challenge of regional colloquialisms

At another point I wimped out on something I had done intentionally wrong in the book, and had always meant to include somehow because it was something I so enjoyed hearing when I lived there. Many New Hampshire residents routinely employ the double negative. For example, you might hear:

“I need to make a trip to Keene.”

“So don’t I!”

I wanted Winslow to sound at least a little local and at one point I had him saying, “So hasn’t everybody.” But then I just couldn’t stick to it. People who were not familiar with the local grammar would think I’d made a mistake. Maybe if I’d found a way to get Bert to say something like that, I could have stuck to it. Maybe if I’d added something like, “lapsing into the local dialect, Winslow said, ‘So hasn’t everybody’.”  But that would have taken people out of the flow of the narrative. So he just says, “So has everybody.”

Sometimes it might make sense to do things wrong on purpose. For example, every once in a while I have found that there is really no good way to avoid an instance of poor agreement like “Your child never knows when they might be called upon to perform” without resorting to an awkward “he or she, ” which is one of the clunkiest constructions in the English language, and one that very few people use it in common speech. In my days in educational publishing we used to take pains to alternate between the he and she, always choosing the less gender-stereotypical gender. (“Your child may wish to become an engineer. So she needs to…”) Usually I try to find a way to avoid the problem, but in advertising we’ve sometimes just knowingly committed the error instead.

Other times, I’m the stickler. I can remember an unexpectedly bitter debate once with another writer who declared that semi-colons should never be used in dialogue. I disagreed. If we’re going to punctuate based on what people are actually thinking as they speak, there’s not much call for any punctuation. But people are reading our dialogue, not listening to it. Even in a script, actors have to read that dialogue and make sense of it. Punctuation is simply there to help our words make sense. Semi-colons are a useful part of the arsenal of sense-making. Of course, I also know from my students that there an awful lot of people who have no idea when they should be fired.

English is always flowing and changing. Consider the news that “selfie” has been added to the Oxford Dictionaries. Or just watch your local evening news, or commercials. Certainly our local stations appear to have decided that copy editors are a luxury they can’t afford anymore. Brian Williams also seems to delight in constructions like “What about them Red Sox,” though I hope that’s just his idea of sounding cool.

I wasn’t trying to be cool with my errors, and I have no excuse other than trying to do all this stuff myself. Someday, I hope to make enough money at this to be able to hire the most tight-assed proofreader in the universe to check my work. In the meantime, I make do with what I have at hand: me, the friends who read my early drafts, and a few sharp-eyed readers who are willing to share.

Do feel free to help me out with that by catching my errors.By the laws of irony, there should be at least one or two in this very blog post.

Book updates

This week my book has a wonderful new cover — if it ever shows up. Amazon is taking a very long time to update it. It appears that they require actual humans to look at new covers before they publish them now, which is probably smart given that it has a (tastefully) naked person on the cover.

For those of you who are waiting on the paperback, I’m sorry. Thanks to that spelling error, I now have to do another round of proofs, which also requires waiting for book proofs to arrive in the mail. Hopefully it will be available for order by the end of the week, but I can make no guarantees.