Friday, March 20, 2015

For Pete's Sake -- Someone Buy My EBook, Please!

Yes, the misadventures and epic fails keep on happening over here in Rena Sherwood-land. A couple of years ago, I had this wacky idea that I'd self-publish my own book Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on Amazon Kindle and it would give me fame and fortune (I'd settle for fortune, anyway.)

Didn't happen.

In fact, did just the opposite.

I've lost lots and lots of money on this eBook (through dropping work from clients in order to write this damn thing) through purchasing an ISBN ($125 shot to hell) and who knows how much money in Sherlock Holmes and Jeremy Brett reference books.

That left absolutely zero money for publicity. Big mistake.

I've also lost my Muse's voice for who knows how many months. That left a honkin' huge writer's block. Mom's illnesses have worsened, so I've lost time looking for work or even trying to find a damn when I do find it. If it wasn't for Mom, I'd be back out on the streets.

Now that March is here, I'm starting to hear the Muse's voice again. Goddammit, I can't afford this!

This is all the publicity I can afford -- somebody please buy my eBook!

Friday, February 13, 2015

When is Peter Gabriel's Birthday?

(Note: I wrote this originally for Suite 101, got a fat payment and then Suite 101 went out of business, so I moved it to Yahoo Voices, got a thin payment and then Yahoo Voices out of business. Now I'm going to stick it here on PG's birthday for no money and hope against hope that Blogger won't go out of business.)

British singer-songwriter Peter Gabriel was born at 4:30 PM GMT on February 13, 1950.  This makes him an Aquarius, although his moon was in Sagittarius.  (Insert tasteless joke here.)  He was born in the little-known English town called Cobham, located in the county of Surrey.  In an interesting coincidence, Peter was born exactly day after guitarist Steve Hackett, his band mate in Genesis.

Doesn’t seem too hard to get wrong, does it?  And yet somehow in the 1980s, many books and magazines were erroneously reporting that Peter’s birthday was May 13 and not February 13.  There have been some rumors that the source of this misinformation was Peter himself (purposely telling people the wrong date as a joke), but those rumors have never been substantiated.

Publications Listing Wrong Birth Date

I’ve been a fan of Peter’s since 1986, long before the Internet (or my ability to get a driver’s license, come to think of it.)  I was one of those folks who thought that Peter’s birthday was in May.  Why?  Because that’s what it said in a comic strip illustrating the lives of pop stars that appeared only on Sundays in the late 1980s.   Sadly, my copy of the strip has not survived and I cannot remember the name of the short-lived strip. If you know, please add it to the comments section below.  Thanks in advance.

Anyway, here is a partial list of publications that printed Peter’s birthdate as May 13 (or 13 May, if you prefer):
  • ·         USAToday (Really – is anybody surprised that they got it wrong?)
  • ·         Chase’s 1997 Calendar of Events, 40th Anniversary Edition.  McGraw-Hill; 1997.  (They also got it wrong all throughout the 1990s.)
  • ·         The Great Rock Discography.  Martin Charles Strong.  Cannongate; 2004.
  • ·         The Essential Rock Discography.  Martin Charles Strong.  Cannongate; 2006.  (Yes, those two books are basically the same.)
  • ·         The Harmony Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll.  Mark Clifford.  Harmony Books; 1986.
  • ·         The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll.  Rolling Stone Press/Summit Books; 1983.  (This is my guess as to how the wrong birthdate spread.  Anything with Rolling Stone’s name on it sold well to many a reference library.)


Currently


For about nine years, Peter’s birthdate was put up on his official website (PeterGabriel.com) but since the site’s redesign in 2012, his birthdate and extensive biography have somehow disappeared.  Before the redesign, the website featured a Peter Gabriel FAQ page for fans, compiled by the one-time head of Peter’s fan club (who has since retired -- Come to think of it, the fan club seems to have retired, too).  The FAQ page included his correct birthday and that “somewhere down the line” the wrong birthday was reported. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

I Spend Way Too Much Time On Goodreads

A few months ago, I discovered Goodreads (the social network for book lovers (I accidentally spelled that "ook lovers" which I think is something entirely different. Anyway --)). I read in one of those "How to Make Money By Publishing eBooks on Amazon Kindle" publications that joining Goodreads and the Goodreads Author Program could help sell lots of eBooks.
Well,I haven't sold lots of copies of my eBook, Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (last count: 15) but I have spent many a fun hour goofing around on Goodreads. I like writing book reviews. Why -- I have no idea. Probably because I had to do so many as a kid in school that I can't live without doing them.
Best book review I've ever read is this one for Shel Silverstien's The Giving Tree by Sava Hecht:
"Co-dependent tree needs to set some fucking boundaries."
GENIUS!
Anyway, here's my profile at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3373419.Rena_Sherwood

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: The Year Hard Work Hardly Worked

I'm so glad 2014 is nearly over. I'm hoping (not by much) that 2015 will be better.

As the post title suggests, I worked very hard in 2014 and got very little in return. This time last year I was happily chugging away on my e-book Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

It came out on Amazon.com in  October.

So far, it has sold 15 copies.

That's it. 15. That comes to less than $20 for my pocket.  Meanwhile, I had to fork out over $150 to get an ISBN, as well as take time from other clients to work on this book. And I had to do it all -- writing, editing, formatting for Amazon Kindle and promotion. The only thing I didn't have to do was the cover. It was donated.

Speaking of clients, I have very few left. Yahoo Voices went bye-byes in July and Helium kicked the virtual bucket in December. Rewarder.com also seems to have gone out of business, although I do not know that 100% for sure.

I worked incredibly hard for these clients and now it means nothing.

Want to be a writer? You're better off slitting your wrists and bleeding to death over a pile of paper. Even garbage men have better jobs.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I'm 45. What the Hell Happened?

It's my birthday again. Didn't I just have one?

So, what have I learned in 45 years?  This: If you want to be sure about getting what you want for your birthday, do what I did -- buy the present yourself.

All else is extra.

(Image was Photoshopped years ago by a Peter Gabriel fan for the now late-lamented website solsburyhill.org.)

Monday, November 03, 2014

Happy Birthday, Jeremy Brett -- wherever you are

Today would have been Jeremy Brett's 81st birthday. He is deeply missed. Brett died in 1995 from cardiomyopathy. He also suffered from bipolar disorder (manic depression.)

Such a huge personality like Brett makes a big mark. We don't know what happens when we die. I'm an atheist, but think that dead people live on in other people's memories. Wherever he is, I hope he is at peace -- and has a good pack of smokes with him.

Brett plays a co-starring role in Part V of my eBook, Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. I tried to treat Brett honestly but with affection and humor. Perhaps it will help to give more memories to readers and help keep JB alive for many years to come.

Friday, October 17, 2014

"Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes" Now Available on Amazon Kindle

On October 15 (or 15 October, depending  on where you live), my first eBook Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes finally went officially on sale at Amazon. It is only available in Kindle so far.  If you don't have a Kindle, Amazon will usually give you a Kindle app for your PC, laptop or whatever free with your first eBook purchase.

I meant to blog about this on October 15 but I've been very busy.  I celebrated the day of the release -- by having to take Mom's urine sample to her primary care doctor's office.  Whee (or, more appropriately, wee.)  I've been spending more and more of my time taking care of Mom as she has been going downhill.

Since I took a few months off to write and rewrite and re-rewrite this eBook, I now have drained my bank account and have to start writing for quicker money than eBooks again. This is going to take up what little free time I have and so I'm disappointed to write that I will not be able to start the sequel to Not the New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes until I can get some money in the bank.

I was going to try and make physical copies of the eBook, but cannot afford another ISBN number or figure out how to navigate Create Space (another Amazon company.)  Since there hasn't exactly been a huge rush in sales, I think I better hold off on making physical book copies until there is a sufficient demand for them.

A big thank you for those who have purchased Not the New Adventure of Sherlock Holmes.  I hope that you enjoy the ride.