Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Chariots and muses

There's a very good piece about writing written by Steven Pressfield I'm going to quote from today as it's been on my mind. I'd recommend reading the full piece, You as the Muse Sees You on his website. This is what he says about inspiration:

"Here’s how the Muse works. Each day she makes her rounds (I like to imagine her traversing the globe in a small, open-top space vehicle, kind of a cross between the Jetsons and the old Flash Gordon serials), carrying her bag full of ideas. She’s a bit like St. Nick, only instead of giving gifts to children she gives ideas to artists. To Beethoven she gives da-da-da-dum, to Stephen King she offers Carrie.

When the Muse gets to your place, she looks down from her little rocket ship. Are you in the studio? Before the easel? At the keyboard? You’re not? Okay. The goddess cuts you some slack for this truant day. She’ll check back tomorrow.

What? You’re not on the job then either? Or the day after that? The Muse’s brow begins furrowing. You are disappointing her. She’s starting to get a little pissed off. Could it be that you don’t really want her help?

Your name has now become entered on the goddess’ Bad Boy List. How will she punish you? She’ll do nothing wanton or vicious. She’s a lady. She will simply withhold her favors. That problem you’re wrestling with in Act Two? You’re on your own, buster. Solve it yourself."

And I got to thinking about my muse. I picture her in a winged chariot (I'm a traditionalist) so I looked up some images on Google. There's a huge variety of chariots.

Here is Triptolemos in his winged chariot, which is also serpent-drawn. He's about to have one for the road. No breathalysers in those days...

This proves serpent-drawn chariots really were a thing. These serpents have wings, which must have helped, though the driver looks as if he's had just about enough of the left hand serpent complaining.
Here everyone has wings except the chariot. It must feel a bit redundant, but I suppose you could stash the picnic basket in it.
Now this is is just being silly. A chariot drawn by eagles?
For if you want to take your chariot fishing...

Here we have a neat little runaround, which would probably have no problem passing an MOT. Again, horseless. Maybe the patron who commissioned the sculptor couldn't afford to get horses carved...
This one I have grave doubts about. Who are those random naked people about to get kicked by the horses' rear legs? And where is the horses' harness? Unfeasible. Nice hubcaps, though.
And if you want to see a picture of very fed up lions pulling a chariot with an overweight Marc Anthony in it, go here. I couldn't find a non-copyright image.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Earning out with Kindle Press

Yesterday I got my first royalty report from Kindle Press (my first royalty report ever, come to that). And it was good news.

The Trouble with Time (Time Rats Book 1) went on sale on 5th April 2016. Kindle Press advances are $1,500. In its first twenty-five days, TR1 earned $1,412.70 - but for some reason, UK (and European) royalties are not deducted from the advance, and TR1 earned £226.81 in the UK. So TR1 actually covered its advance, plus about $240.00, by the end of April. Sales and KU/KOLL reads of my other books have improved, too. My reader email list has grown.

TR1's current rankings aren't as good as they were for the first six weeks, but I know Amazon will be promoting my book later in the year, so I'm fairly relaxed about that. I'm getting on with writing Time Rats 2, which is the best thing I can do towards improving future sales.

My experience confirms for me that Kindle Scout is at the moment the biggest opportunity out there for most writers. It's not true you need a huge social media presence to be selected. You need a well-written book with a professional cover that Amazon thinks it can sell, and if you have a book like that, your chances of selection are high. As in the rest of life, luck plays a part.

I should add that not all Kindle Press books are doing well. Predicting what will appeal to readers is not a science. However, it seems likely to me that those books are still selling better than if they had been self-published.