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Friday Night Drabble Party!

Heeeeeelllllllllooooooooooo, Friday! Time to get our Drabble Party on!

Free micro-fiction for you and me, baby! Ahhhhhhh, yeah!

But, before we get into the drabbletasticness, let’s talk about Little Dead Man!

That’s right, I have a new novel out! This one is by Permuted Press and is my YA debut. I kid you not, folks, it is Jake Bible goodness for the WHOLE family (if your family is 12 and up)! If you love my novels then you’ll love this one!

What’s it about? Have a read:

LDM Cover

Decades after the zombie apocalypse, seventeen year old Garret Weir just wants to be a normal teenager. As if dealing with the zombies isn’t hard enough, his annoying twin brother refuses to leave him in peace. And it’s not like Garret can just go to his room and shut the door to get away. His brother Garth is a zombie and conjoined to the top of Garret’s spine. Good times.

Forced from his hidden, mountain compound, Garret must learn who to trust and who to fear as he and Garth are thrust into a world more horrific than anything they could imagine. Fighting for their lives in a foreign landscape, the brothers head north to find their father who may have the answer to the deadly virus that caused the zombie apocalypse. Along their way they meet new friends, learn betrayal the hard way, fight for their mother’s life, run from deadly enemies, and discover that life may have seemed difficult before, but can always get a whole lot worse.

A fast-paced, high-action novel that doesn’t pull any punches, Little Dead Man is a surprisingly sweet story of two brothers – one living, one undead – that struggle with a mother that is mentally unstable, a missing father that has kept too many secrets, and a lie their parents have always told – that they are the last survivors on Earth. When the truth of that lie is revealed, Garret and Garth quickly find out that having other survivors in the world isn’t exactly a good thing. In fact, it’s quite deadly.

What do you think? Crazy cool, right? Right. What’s that? You’d rather have the print version? Well, that will be available very soon! July 15th, in fact! Feel free to pre-order that puppy by clicking on teh same link and choosing the paperback option!

Now, on to our drabble!

Enjoy!

***

Coin Flips, Man
By
Jake Bible

Two doors.

A choice.

“One could be my girlfriend, right?” the young man asked.

“Yes,” the Council above the pit replied as one.

“And one is, like, what? A man-eating tiger? Those still exist? I thought with deforestation and crap there, like, weren’t any man-eating tigers left?”

“Choose!” the Council shouted.

“Jeez, chill, bras. This isn’t easy.”

He stood there facing the two doors and frowned.

“Anyone have a coin I could flip? Doesn’t have to be a quarter. Nickel will totally do.”

“Carl!” a woman’s voice rang out from behind one door. “Just pick a fucking door!”

***

Cheers!

GO BUY LITTLE DEAD MAN! DO IT!

Disclaimer: BUY LITTLE DEAD MAN!

Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Twenty: Time Is Not On My Side

 

Captains ChairBlogAhoy, Mateys!

As a writer I have control over so many aspects of my job it’s incredible. I make my schedule, decide what novels I will write next, create and destroy worlds daily, have the opportunity to attend the kids’ school events, run errands, write blog posts, tweet, FB post, and all that jazz.

Yet, even with all of that control, there is one thing, no matter how successful I end up being, that I can’t control: time.

Time will always be finite and unrelenting. Can’t stop the clock, right?

So, as I look at my schedule over the next three months I realize that unless I can find an extra day in the week, I won’t have the time I need for things such as a weekly blog post. Yep, gonna have to take a step back from the Captain’s Chair. Well, not really, since I write in this chair for hours a day. I’m just gonna have to gear down and go full steam ahead on novels from now until August.

And that is where you, fearless writer, come in!

I’m looking for guest posts!

You have an idea, experience, gripe, insight, and/or stupid human trick? Then let me know! I’m looking for good, strapping writerly types to fill some cyberspace each and every week from now until the end of summer. Or end of winter, for you folks down under.

Just shoot me an email at jakebiblefiction@gmail.com and let me know your post idea and when you can have it to me by. I look forward to all of the awesomeness!

Now the parameters: I want balanced posts. If you feel the need to skewer one type of publishing or writing or idea or whatever then move along, please. I SAID MOVE ALONG! Passion is good, but closed mindedness is not. Feel free to speak your mind. I’m all about minds that speak. Just don’t be a dick. Also, and this is important, the post needs to relate to the art/biz/insanity of writing. That’s kinda key. Other than that the sky is the limit!

So email me, bitches! Send me your wise, wise words. I’m all ears! Or eyes. Whatever…

Cheers!

 

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Bethany and the Zombie Jesus, Stark- An Illustrated Novella, and the forthcoming YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, and Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).

 

 

Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Eighteen: The Cult Of Argument


Captains ChairBlog
Ahoy, Mateys!

This is going to be a short post because I just got back from a trip with the Family and I’m pretty much brain dead. But there is something I want to talk about. And hopefully you will get where I’m coming from.

The Cult of Argument.

This is what the Internet (or The Mean, as I call it) has turned into. Everyone feels like they have the right and the DUTY to argue every fucking point anyone even comes close to making. It’s a freaking cult, man. A freaking cult.

Of course, I want to specifically talk about how writers fit into this cult. So I’ll break it down into the two sub-cults that continually go after each other: The Self-Published and the Traditionally Published.

Oh, what’s that? You have a problem with those labels? Well, would you like to argue about it?

See what I did there? I actually have no desire to talk about these camps. I just wanted to raise the ire of some folks to prove a point.

There are at least a dozen writers reading this all up in arms that I used the term “Self-Published”. There are another dozen up in arms because I said “Traditionally Published”. If you are in either of these dozens then take a breath and keep reading. This post is for you.

Labels mean nothing. So don’t argue over them.

Genres mean nothing. So don’t argue over them.

Word counts mean nothing. So don’t argue over them.

Writing style means nothing. So don’t argue over it.

Story structure means nothing. So don’t argue over it.

Length of time it takes to write a novel means nothing. So don’t argue over it.

Who publishes you means nothing. So don’t argue over it.

How many reviews you’ve gotten means nothing. So don’t argue over it.

What your contract says means nothing. So don’t argue over it.

Your Amazon Author Rating means nothing. So don’t argue over it.

You mean nothing. So don’t argue that you do!

Why do none of these subjects, topics, hot buttons, mean a damn thing? Because all that matters is whether the reader likes what you do.

That’s it.

Writers need to stop acting like they know what the fuck they are talking about. They don’t. No more than anyone else. And guess what? No one knows what the fuck they are talking about! Not me, not you, not anyone!

Blogs are opinions, mine included. Every single article, editorial, column, whatever on Publisher’s Weekly, Huffington Post, io9, Tor.com, wherever, mean absolutely jack diddle. They are just words written by people. And people are seriously flawed.

Stop using what you’ve read to argue with others that have different opinions, experiences, ideas, tastes, shoe sizes. Just stop.

So you read something in HuffPo Books? Good for you! That means you are literate. It doesn’t mean you now have fuel for an argument.

Your RSS catcher sends you every single word particle JA Konrath shoots into the aether? Excellent! Now you know how one single writer thinks and feels about his career.

What’s that? You read that the novel is dead? Okay. Should we send flowers?

If anyone knew what makes a writer more successful than another, or what makes one book more popular than that book over there, then publishers would hit home runs every single time. They don’t. Despite centuries at this game, publishers still have no idea what works. Neither do writers.

So stop arguing that they do; that you do; that anyone does.

Just have a nice discussion. Quit the hyperbole, stop the rhetoric. [Side note: I’m so making a t-shirt out of that.]

Don’t ever say you have the answers and don’t ever say that someone else’s answer is wrong. Disagree, sure, if you must, but be nice.

And don’t you fucking dare do that passive aggressive, reverse bully thing. You know what I’m talking about. You know who you are. I have a list of three writers I will not shake hands with if I see them in public because of that tactic. They spout BS in post after post, people disagree respectfully, then they act like they’ve been attacked and their words were twisted around. Completely ignoring the actual physical record of them sounding like douchebags only one scroll up.

Blech.

I digress.

Which is my point. Things go from thoughts to emotions, from ideas to arguments in a split second. Then everyone forgets the idea and focuses on the argument. Don’t do that anymore, please.

The next time you want to argue your point, take a step back and ask yourself, “What do I get out of this?” If your answer is, “I will bring about world peace”, or even possibly, “It keeps kittens from being mauled by space monkeys” then post away!

But, if wanting to argue a point only gives you some smug self-satisfaction, or is only designed to hurt someone else, then please don’t do it. You may have an opinion, but who cares? Everyone has an opinion. Yours is nothing special.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for discourse. Just not argument. Leave that for the lawyers. Be a writer and contribute to the betterment of society. Be there for the reader. That’s your job.

Okay, phew, I’m done. Post turned out longer than I thought it would. Let the inevitable arguments begin on why.

Cheers!

 

Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Bethany and the Zombie Jesus, Stark- An Illustrated Novella, and the forthcoming YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, and Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).

 

Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Seventeen: The Cheap Lie

 

Captains ChairBlogAhoy, Mateys!

So, a Facebook friend of mine, who is a game designer, posted about how he wondered if game developers wished they hadn’t created the $.99 app monster years ago. He talked about how someone puts in hours and hours of hard work, but can’t get into the market unless they sell their work/art on the cheap.

I quickly commented it was the same for novels too.

Someone else quickly commented on how the $.99 model works because of volume.

It’s time to destroy the “volume” myth and all the other stupid selling myths and shoot those pieces of crap arguments out into space.

Discounting is a marketing tool, not a business model.

Say that with me, “Discounting is a marketing tool, not a business model.”

I want that to run through your head every time you think you have an argument against what I’m about to write, okay? Okay.

Oh, and I have another saying, “Live by the discount, die by the discount.”

Before I became a writer I was in sales and marketing. I spent nearly a decade dealing with margins and markups, discount percentages and BOGOs, promotions and tricks of the trade. I learned a lot about commerce in that time.

What I also learned is that if your business model is based on slim margin pricing and discount wars with your competition then eventually you will lose and go out of business. I watched store after store after store in the Southeast, especially South Florida, decide to play the discount war game. None of those stores exist anymore.

Who does exist? The large retailers. The ones with deep pockets that could wait out the discount wars and keep prices where they wanted. They survived.

It’s the same with pricing novels. The $.99 business model for self-published novels is killing the business for everyone. Knock it off. Just stop doing it.

Why? Because if everyone is pricing their novels at $.99 then the consumer no longer sees $.99 as something special. No one is gaining volume sales from that price point because the market itself is glutted with a volume of cheap novels.

One of my publishers, Severed Press, only uses the $.99 price as a promotional tool and only for a couple of days each quarter. My novels are regularly priced at $2.99 for the first in a series and $4.99 for the rest. I am consistently on bestseller lists.

And the only time one of my novels was offered for free was to launch the reboot of Dead Mech which had been in the market as a self-published title for a few years. It gained some new readers, but now stays at $2.99 with the sequels at $4.99.

This works. And you know what? It’s the same business model that has been used for mass market paperbacks for decades.

Oh, I can hear you sputtering objections left and right. Knock it off. When you offer your work for cheap then you cheapen your work. Why does my stuff sell at $2.99 and $4.99? Because it appears to be higher quality by being offered at a higher price. My work isn’t in the discount bin.

“But volume! Volume! VOLUME!”. Shut the fuck up. Volume is a lie.

When I was a sales manager, my boss had a saying, “Would you rather have slow dimes or fast nickels?” The entire industry loved that saying and bought into it.

Yet, there was one major flaw. It only offered two choices. You could pick “slow dimes” or “fast nickels”.

What about fast dimes? Or, better yet, fast dollars?

In the post about apps being $.99, the commenter went on to say that you make up in volume what you lose in price. That’s crap. Why? Because that’s assuming the product sells at volume!

Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer and sells more volume than any other entity on the planet. Do you think every single product that gets put on the shelf and discounted sells a ton of volume? No. Not even close. That’s why Wal-Mart is constantly shifting its inventory and clearing out the slow movers.

Guess what? Your novel, despite being priced at $.99, could easily be a slow mover. And you will have lost money as you played the discount game.

Still not convinced? Well, maybe the leader in ebooks will convince you. Amazon gives only 35% of royalties to authors if their books are priced below $2.99 or over $9.99. Priced at $2.99 to $9.99? 70% royalties. Amazon knows that selling books below $2.99 cheapens the product and they discourage it.

But folks ignore the people that pretty much invented the ebook marketplace and still play the discount game.

It makes no sense. None at all.

Oh, I hear another argument coming. It’s the “But so many authors have had huge successes selling at $.99!”

Not true.

“But look at blah blah blah and blah blah!”

Really? Count on your hands how many writers you know of that have made their fortunes selling novels for $.99. Come on, do it. Do it. Dooooooo iiiiiit. How many did you count? Three? Five? Ten? Out of how many total writers sell their books for $.99? Do the math, please, before you try to convince anyone, especially yourself, that the $.99 model works.

The ones that have made it work? They are an exception to the rule. The majority of $.99 books do not sell. Just like the majority of books don’t sell. Please never use outliers as an argument for success. They are an ideal, not an example.

The plain truth is no one in the publishing industry knows why one book sells and another doesn’t. So why limit your income chances by going cheap? It just doesn’t make sense.

Now, do I expect this post to change anyone’s mind? Probably not. There is a cult of publishing out there that refuses to listen to reason or look at history. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

But, maybe, just maybe, we can get some authors that have some common sense to just stop the madness and price their novels in the non-cheap range. Low cost is good ($2.99-$4.99), but discounted at $.99 forever is not.

One last thing, that “free” model? It’s a lie. You see a bump, gain maybe half a percent more readers, but in the end the majority of your “sales” are to people that troll the free lists and never buy a damn thing. Why would they? They can read free crap the rest of their lives.

Please take a hard look at how and why you price your novels the way you do. This is a business and the entire health of a business is based on revenue. You want that health to start strong, not weak, right?

I know I do.

 

Cheers!

Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Bethany and the Zombie Jesus, Stark- An Illustrated Novella, and the forthcoming YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, and Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).

Views From The Captain’s Chair! Episode Fifteen: The Writer’s Obligation?

Captains ChairBlog

Ahoy, Mateys!

So, I had a great email exchange with a reader this week. It was one of those exchanges that helped me explain a little about my process. I have been granted permission to post the exchange, so I will. Then I’ll talk a little more about what it all means to me. I hope you all join in the discussion in the comments section. Keep it real and civil. No haters, yo!

From reader:

“I finished reading your book Z Burbia. I enjoyed it and the humor in it. Bought your second book. I hope you will be open minded when I say using insults in your book such as “fat fuck”, “fat cow” continue to bring a perception that fat people are lazy, ugly, and worth less than others who are not fat. Just to put it out front, yes I am myself overweight. The cause doesn’t matter. Fat people are fighting a perception battle that impacts their lives and families. This perception negatively effects their relationships, jobs and how society treats them as a whole. You,  I’m sure wouldn’t use derogatory wording with ethnic groups or physically or mentally disabled but people feel free to insult fat people for the sole crime of being over weight. I hope you understand my intent and that this isn’t a personal assault on you or your character. As an author you have the ability to shape our society. Thank you for taking the time to read this email. May you have success in all of your endeavors.
Sincerely, REDACTED”

My response:

“Thank you for reaching out and for this thoughtful email.

As a man that has yo-yo’ed my entire life, I personally get where you are coming from 100%. At my largest I was 265 (I’m 6 feet). I have a body type where I have to pay attention to what I eat or it goes straight to my gut. I get it, trust me. However, I am not my characters. In other novels I have characters that actually do put down ethnic/cultural groups and mentally disabled folk by calling them “nigger”, “spic”, “wetback”, “redneck”, “retard” and “faggot”. Yet I would never, ever use those words myself and would probably smack the shit out of someone that said them in my presence. But, as an author, I let my characters say what they say. They are “people” and people are flawed. I can’t have every character be perfect and golden or they wouldn’t be real. I hope you understand. And, let’s face it, my novels have murder, rape, cannibalism, religious cults, totalitarian regimes, serial killers, and some seriously disturbing imagery. I’m never going for huggy-feely with my words.

With that said, I don’t want you to feel like I’m blowing you off because I’m not. I write YA and middle grade novels also (soon to be released by Permuted Platinum) and those novels do not have any of that in there. Well, one does, but as a learning lesson and the offender is chastised brutally by his peers. For kids, I set an example, for adults I let them handle life on their own. My wife and I are very aware of what we say to our children so they grow up with healthy ideas on body image. Where I shape society, and the future, is with my kids and how I act in real life.


Again, thank you for the email and please know that I am very aware of the impact every single word I use can have. Sometimes, I go for the negative impact because that’s where I want the gut punch to hit. And because I like to face my own personal demons head on!

Thank you for reading!”

 

The reader’s response to my response was very nice and we ended it on a great note.

I think some authors would get upset about this type of email. If it was a different subject, I may have also. But like I said in my response, I totally understand the weight thing. I get it. Took me a long time to come to turns with my own body image issues.

Yet…

I don’t think authors should ever try to shape society with their writing. I just don’t. I think that compromises the work. Try too hard and it all sounds false.

But this is coming from a writer that currently specializes in pulp horror/scifi/adventure/thrillers. I’m here to entertain, not educate.

Ah, but if I offend, have I failed as an entertainer? That’s a question to ponder. If part of my audience doesn’t like something I’ve written because it hurts them on a personal level then am I doing my job?

Yes. Because you can’t please everyone all the time. It goes back to last week’s post. Read Rule 4 and 5. You’ll see what I’m getting at. As a writer, I have to know that some readers will not like my work, for whatever their reasons are. Dem’s da breaks.

One last thing I want to share is a quote from the reader’s response to my response. Here it goes: “I also thank you for changing how I will be reacting to fat remarks in books in the future.”

As readers, people have the power to change how they perceive novels and entertainment. Instead of getting all up in arms because their specific hangups/pet peeves/worries/phobias/fears/sacred cows have been mentioned/defamed/killed/cooked on the grill with a delicious vinegar based BBQ sauce, people should use these types of situations to start a dialogue and open discussions with others that don’t feel the same way.

That is how we change society, by taking our experiences and sharing them with others. If we are honest with ourselves then it is easier to be honest with others. And let’s face it folks, we could use a lot more honesty in this world, don’t ya think?

So sound off! Do you think authors have an obligation to reflect positive change in their novels? How about if the novel is more about the negatives of society and not the positives? Where does an author draw the line between appropriate and not appropriate?

If you have been reading my series of posts then you know I am not a fan of rules being imposed on writers. Or on anyone, for that matter. Not that I’m an anarchist, but, well…

Come on, folks! Tell me what gets to you. Tell me what you think writers are obligated to do. Or not.

Discuss!

Cheers!

 

Disclaimer: Views From The Captain’s Chair are just that: views. These are not laws. These are not set in stone. I could be totally wrong. I could be off my rocker (shut up). I could be full of S-H-I-T. I could change my mind next week. All of that is possible. Who knows? But if even just a little of this helps you then I’m happy with that. If it just makes you stop and think then I’ve done my job. Which I really need to get back to. Blogging don’t pay for the bourbon! Oh, and the whole Captain’s Chair thing? Yeah, I write in a captain’s chair. It’s true, Mateys! Got a question? Need some one on one? Shoot me an email, a DM, a PM (no BMs) or comment below.

Jake Bible lives in Asheville, NC with his wife and two kids.

Novelist, short story writer, independent screenwriter, podcaster, and inventor of the Drabble Novel, Jake is able to switch between or mash-up genres with ease to create new and exciting storyscapes that have captivated and built an audience of thousands.

He is the author of the bestselling Z-Burbia series for Severed Press as well as the Apex Trilogy (DEAD MECH, The Americans, Metal and Ash), Bethany and the Zombie Jesus, Stark- An Illustrated Novella, and the forthcoming YA zombie novel Little Dead Man, and Teen horror novel Intentional Haunting (both by Permuted Press).

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