Happy New Year!

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I love this quote from Oprah Winfrey: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us  to get it right.”

I vow to apply this spirit to my personal life, even though I feel my impact on many important issues that affect me are outside of my control.

Which brings to mind this Margaret Mead quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

So, I guess I’ll keep plugging away in hopes of having some impact on the larger issues in the world affecting me and my loved ones.

My Writing Goals for the New Year

  • Complete the overhaul of my short story collection by January 10, 2017 and get it submitted.
  • Complete the overhaul of my “Dreams Do Come True” series by the end of April, 2017 (3 books, 3 months…February, March, April) and get them submitted.
  • Settle on a new story idea and get the thing written!

It’s easy to get caught up in all the 2016 negatives, especially since so many were concentrated in the final months, but let’s remember the good that happened this past year, too: http://qz.com/865623/99-good-things-that-happened-in-2016-from-ebola-leaving-west-africa-to-saving-the-mantees/

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Why so Surprising?

file-dec-03-11-14-48-am-surprisinglygoodSomething that’s jumped out at me a few times while reading reviews of my books is words to the effect that the reader was “surprised” the book was so good. I’m kind of torn between being cheered that the reader/reviewer did end up enjoying the story, and being a bit dismayed that they were surprised by that outcome.

Side note: Yes, I always read every review I find whether it’s on a blog, Goodreads, Amazon, AllRomance, wherever. I figure it’s a good idea to know what readers did or did not like about the story. Even when I don’t agree with something, I figure there’s something I might have emphasized more to avoid giving an undesired impression of a character, or added in to avoid a misconception. I’m always looking for ways to improve and reading the reviews is one way to do that.

Back to the subject of the post: So, serious question…why is it “surprising”? Is that just a figure of speech, or was the reader truly expecting to be underwhelmed by the story and was thrilled to be proven wrong?

If it’s the latter, then why? Do my blurbs suck? I like the covers and think they’re both eye-catching and appealing as well as fitting for the stories, but maybe that’s just me. Am I doing something wrong, or missing something that I should be doing? Maybe people aren’t expecting it to be good simply because they aren’t hearing any buzz about them? Perhaps promo is lacking in some way?

Because here’s the thing. Judging whether sales have been good or bad is kind of relative, but let’s face it, when your reviews/ratings are overall quite good (excerpts/links to the blog reviews for these two books can be found here and here), but your ranking in Amazon appears rather dismal despite that fact, something is wrong. I can’t help but think the whole “surprising” thing is related to the lack in sales. If a potential buyer isn’t expecting the book to be any good, then they’re not going to purchase it.

To illustrate that last statement, at the time of this writing ’Til Death Do Us Part (released April 4, 2016) had a GoodReads rating of 4.29 (adds/ratings/reviews = 344/73/46). It had an Amazon rating of 4.7 (with 23 reviews), yet the overall rank was 659,505, with a gay romance rank of 9,684). To Love and To Cherish (released November 12, 2016) had a GoodReads rating of 4.57 (adds/ratings/reviews = 59/14/8). It had an Amazon rating of 4.6 (with 5 reviews), yet the overall rank was 422,504, with a gay romance rank of 6,591.

In other words, To Love and To Cherish was released less than a month ago, yet more than 6,500 other gay romance books are selling better. No, they’re not all rated higher, so that’s not the driving factor. I’ve looked, and many of the top selling books have poor to average ratings and reviews. So what gives? What am I doing wrong and/or what are they doing right?

Yes, piracy is a factor in overall sales, but I don’t see how it would make a difference in relative rank, since presumably ebook theft affects us all the same.

For ’Til Death Do Us Part things moved along pretty fast and I didn’t get out ahead on promo, but I did get a number of reviews lined up on popular blogs, so I think it got a fairly decent amount of exposure. With To Love and To Cherish I went with a full promo tour as well as lined up additional reviews on the side.

Should I have gone with a short term blitz instead? Is it simply a matter of getting the right exposure, or is there more to it?

I need to know because this is a LOT of work. I put in a tremendous amount of time writing and reworking those stories to get them just right. I also put in a lot of time arranging promo and reviews, trying to create a presence in social media to gain exposure, and quid-pro-quo time with critique partners and beta readers. I’ve enjoyed every step of this or I wouldn’t do it, but at the same time, it takes away from real life activities. If I’m not going to make more than a couple hundred dollars on something that took me six months to write then I have to ask myself it it’s worth the continued effort. Note, also, that number is gross earnings. Once you factor in my costs I’m in the hole.

I love my stories. I love being able to look at them and say to myself “I created that.” I’m incredibly proud of eliciting comments like “This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read,” and “It kept me turning page after page after page without stopping,” and “What I enjoy about Addison’s stories is her ability to bring the characters to life,” etc.

Basically, if I can’t figure out what to do to make people want to actually buy the books, then I’m going to have to back this down to hobby level. I don’t want people to be “surprised” that the book is good. I want them to expect it.

On that note, I’m going to go out and mow my yard now. Yes, I know it’s December 5th, but it’s currently 50 degrees F, and a bunch of leaves dropped since the last mow so I want to get them mulched in.

Happy Thanksgiving! (in the USA)🍗

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’Til Death Do Us Part has a “what am I thankful for?” Thanksgiving scene in one of the flashbacks, and To Love and To Cherish culminates on Thanksgiving Day, likewise including one of those scenes. Oddly enough, it’s never been a part of my own family’s tradition, but I’d like to post one here.

What Addison is Thankful For

  • My wonderful editor at JMS Books, LLC who will stop cringing when I rewrite the above as something more like “Things for which Addison is Thankful” so as to avoid that preposition-ending sentence. ❤️
  • My fantastic publisher, JMS Books, LLC, for giving ’Til Death Do Us Part a chance, even though it was quite untraditional and more of a love story than a straight up romance.
  • All of my fabulous critique partners/beta readers. I’ve learned a lot from them, and they are able to offer opinions based on their fresh perspectives which is something an author loses early on.
  • All the readers who have purchased and enjoyed my stories, and those who have supported me on social media! 💕🍁🍸
  • All of the reviewers (whether they liked my books or not) for taking the time to read my stories and write a thoughtful review.
  • My family:

I love that I am in a position to be able to babysit my 19-month-old granddaughter while her parents (my oldest daughter and her husband) work. She’s a total sweetheart and a joy to watch. I am thankful for all the time I get to spend with her.

I love that I got to be with my younger daughter and her wife last week for the birth of their first child, a beautiful little girl. I wish that they lived closer, and weren’t planning to likely move even farther away after my daughter completes her dissertation in the spring, but I’m thankful that for now they are close enough that I (or they) can drive for visits with relative frequency.

I love that my youngest–my son–lives close enough that I’m able to see him a couple times each month. I’m thankful that he’s happy in his life and that he’s found a wonderful girlfriend who seems to be a perfect match for him.

I love that my step-daughters have stayed in touch after my husband, their father, passed away a few years ago. They were already adults when we married, so it’s not as if I’d raised them. I’ve been a part of my step-grandchildren’s lives since they were born, though, so I’m thankful that I’m able to continue to spend time with them for weekend visits every month or so.

  • My health, which appears to be good.

I’m sure there’s more, but those are the highlights. I hope all of you are enjoying your day, just as I am! 😀

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Happy Thanksgiving! > http://bit.ly/2bRA7lW

Coffee, Anyone?

No, thank you. I love the smell, but I’ve never acquired a taste for the stuff. I feel like a bit of an outsider with all the coffee memes I see on my Facebook feed every day.

1a50a587-8e99-4f50-b677-dfe673725814.pngMy coffee aversion isn’t simply due to caffeine avoidance. I don’t drink decaf, either. I can deal with tea, but don’t particularly favor it. If I’m going to drink something hot, it’s going to be cocoa (complete with a hit of Reddi-Whip and chocolate syrup drizzle).

I also loathe colas (there’s a story behind that, I’ll explain below) so I’ve developed into quite the caffeine weenie. I don’t mind fruity sodas, but certain ones have caffeine added to them so I have to pointedly avoid those.

If I have the caffeine equivalent of even a single cup of coffee fairly early in the morning, I won’t get any sleep at all that night. None. I’ll lie there with a case of the jimmy-legs, tossing and turning. All. Night. Long.

Yes, I realize chocolate has some caffeine in it, too. My tastes run toward milk chocolate rather than dark chocolate, so the amount of caffeine is quite small and doesn’t seem to affect me.

file-nov-01-10-36-05-amMy favorite drink of all, hot or cold? A simple glass of cool water. My Tervis gets refilled throughout the day and goes with me pretty much everywhere. Sometimes I’ll give it a hit of lemon.

My favorite flavored drink is lemonade. Preferably homemade and with strawberry, cherry, or raspberry welcomed, but optional.

I promised you the story of why I hate colas. When I was growing up I frequently got sick to my stomach. My mother would stir up some Coke in a little juice glass and make me drink it, saying it would settle my stomach. It never settled my stomach, and always, always made me empty my stomach within minutes.

I don’t know what the technical term for this effect is…negative association…negative reinforcement…whatever. The end result, though, is that to this day even smelling the stuff makes me nauseous. Bleh.

What’s your favorite beverage? Got any you hate?

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About Addison

Addison Albright is a writer/author living in the middle of the USA with three peculiar cats. Her stories are gay (sometimes erotic) romance, and tend to be sweet man-love in contemporary settings. Her education includes a BS in Education with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Chemistry. Addison loves spending time with her family, reading, popcorn, boating, french fries, “open window weather,” cats, math, and anything chocolate. She loves to read pretty much anything and everything, anytime and anywhere.

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3 x 3 WiP and Tag, You’re It

Heloise West, the brilliant author of Loose ID’s Heart and Haven series (Hitting Black Ice and Send Lawyers, Guns, & Roses), etc., has tagged me in the 3 x 3 WiP tag-around. I’ve been seeing a version floating around Facebook where just the first line of each of the first three chapters is shared, but this version calls for the first three lines of the first three chapters, so that’s what you’re getting.

By the way, I’m tagging: Amy Tasukada, Vanessa Sims, and J.D. Walker.

This is from my Work in Progress, tentatively titled To Love and To Cherish. It’s a spin-off story from ’Til Death Do Us Part. Blurb still pending, but the tag line is:

Will Nash find love again? Of course he will. Will he go about it in the usual way? Now that’s another story entirely.

Disclaimer: These lines are not only unedited, they are quite subject to change at this early stage (I’m only now working on Chapter 6).

From Chapter 1:

The elderly man shifted in the wheelchair, and Nash Marino reached down to tuck in the loose blanket around his patient. He glanced up as the elevator stopped, then blinked and stiffened a bit when he saw a familiar figure from his recent past step into the elevator. Not that he had anything against Truman Greene—he’d always enjoyed the company of this man and his entire family.

From Chapter 2:

“You’re a regular slave driver, Blondie,” Bernie grumbled as he grasped Nash’s arm with a surprisingly strong grip.

“Nash,” he corrected patiently—trying to strike the right balance between firm and assuring—as he slowly lowered the man into the reclining chair.

“I remember which one you are.”

From Chapter 3:

Angela looked ready to burst as she approached the table, tray in hand. Nash took a quick look around to verify nobody was within earshot, because the look on her face was a familiar one. It was her “you won’t believe what I heard” look, and generally it meant a juicy tidbit was about to be divulged at some poor bastard’s expense.

I Take Back My Last Post!

After playing around here with my shiny new WordPress account I find I like it much better than Blogger, so I take back my last (and only, up until this point) post, Blogger Is Where I’m Active. I am going to turn this WordPress account into my primary blog/website.

The pages are still under construction, but I’ll get there. Turns out it’s quite user-friendly, so it’s just a matter of finding the time.

Blogger is Where I’m Active

I opened a WordPress account to make it easier to comment on WordPress blog posts. Perhaps in the future I’ll build this up to mirror my Blogger. In the meantime, to see what I’m up to check out my Blogger page:

http://addison-albright.blogspot.com

Or my Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/addison.albright

I don’t actually post to my Facebook “profile,” but if you want to prompt me to follow you back, friend me here, too: https://www.facebook.com/addison.albright.profile

I’m semi-active on Twitter: https://twitter.com/addisonalbright

And I have a GoodReads Author Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2739864.Addison_Albright