New Version of the Old Song

I have two children who are still minors. They’re not super young at 9 and 13, but they’re young enough that we see kids movies. I’ve noticed in a couple of movies, they’ve had reworked versions of old songs that I’ve really really liked.

Last year, I knew I wanted to see Kubo and the Two Strings immediately after hearing the cool version of My Guitar Gently Weeps that went with it. (below)

This is a Beatles song, and they’re such great musicians that I could probably sing their song and it would sound fine. But this version, for whatever reason, really wowed me in the theater. The original My Guitar Gently Weeps is obviously very good,  too.

And last week, I saw Sing with my daughter, and was completely blown away by Jennifer Hudson’s cover of Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight (also a Beatles song).

I just loved Jennifer’s version. However, I will say, the original song was not among my top five picks for Abby Road songs, so it’s possible I loved the new version so much because I didn’t really squarely love it in its original form. (Golden Slumbers is easily over shadowed as Abby Road includes Come Together, Something, Here Comes the Sun and The End)

And that’s the interesting thing about remakes and whether they work or not.  People try them all the time–in music, books, and film. They take an old concept and try to re-do it. Most times, though, it doesn’t work (think the US Box office for the 2012 Total Recall remake). Sometime people so adored the first one that they they have no room in their heart to find love for the new version, or it simply cannot compare to what they viewed as perfection in the old one.  For example, I only want to hear Nat King Cole’s version of A Christmas Song or Stevie Wonder’s Someday at Christmas (Sorry, Mary J).

Sometimes the response is just, meh. I sort of feel this way about  Train’s new song, Play That Song, which basically adds a little twist to the old standby Heart & Soul.  (I don’t hate the Train song, but every time I hear it, I just think Heart & Soul and have trouble thinking of it as its own song).

And then sometimes a reimagination, or new version fires on all cylinders and it’s totally beloved. The artist manages to take something that we thought we knew and make it seem new and fresh and beautiful in its own way. And that’s really fantastic.

So what artistic endeavors (be they songs, books, or movies) have you really enjoyed the new twist on lately?

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Grab Prophecy of Light – Trapped FREE

01prophecyoflighttrapped_200300Happy Monday to you.

Just a quick FYI. You can grab the first book in the Prophecy of Light series FREE via Instafreebie. Previously, you’d been able to grab a preview version of the book free on the site. Now you can grab the entire thing there. Instafreebie is a site where you get a free book in exchange for subscribing to an author’s mailing list.

Books two and three, Unleashed and Foretold, are currently available for sale on Amazon. They’re available FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers or for purchase.

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Self-Publishing Sunday – Birthday Edition

selfpubroadmapfinalHappy Sunday to you. It happens to be my birthday today, which is why it’s called the birthday edition.

I hope everyone is having a great week. In terms of my own publishing, I had a great day yesterday, and woke up to find Concealed in the top 10k of books on Amazon. So that was a great way to wake up on your birthday.

I did want to let everyone know that I’ve decided my book on self-publishing needs updating. It was published in March of 2015, and written mostly in January and February of that year. However, a lot has changed in the nearly two years since it came out. Therefore, I’m going to update it next month and publish a 2017 edition in March. In the meantime, I thought I’d drop the price to 99 cents, as some of the information is out of date.

So what’s changed in the two years? For one, some of the specifics. When I wrote the book Amazon’s AMS ads were brand new and people weren’t getting great results. That’s changed tremendously. People are doing well with them, if they know how to use them. Also, pre-order set up and rules have changes.  Also, I’d like to update some of the information on publishing schedules and timelines. I’ve gotten a new perspective on that and feel it deserves inclusion in the book.

Well, that’s about it for today. Going to head off and try to relax a little. Hope you have a lovely rest of the day.

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Concealed FREE, Life First Series Books Move Into KU

Concealed_FC_BNGHappy Tuesday to you. I hope you had a great weekend and Monday. Just a couple of quick notes.

First and foremost, my book Concealed is FREE today. The book is part one of the virus series. I’d love it if you would grab a copy while it’s free. If you like the book, please leave a review, too.  This is the first time Concealed has been free, so I’m curious how the additional eyeballs will impact things.

Also, I wanted to mention that I moved the books Second Life and Third Life: Taken into the Kindle Unlimited program. This means the books are now exclusive to Amazon. They had been wide (at multiple retailers) since their publication, but just haven’t had anywhere near the sales on other vendors as they’ve had on Amazon. So, I decided to pull the books into the Kindle Unlimited program, with hopes they’d earn more in borrow fees than they earned at the other vendors (which seemed likely based on my Virus series sales and borrows).  The KU terms is 90 days, so I’ll reassess things at the end of the 90 days.  Even though books two and three are in KU, I’m leaving the first book in that series, Life First, available free at all vendors.

That’s it for me today. I hope you’re having a good one, and be sure to grab a copy of Concealed.

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This is How You Support Authors

hiddenfiguresHow do you support authors? Any way you want that values their work. That’s it. It’s that simple.  You can buy their hardback for $18.99 or you can buy their ebook when it’s on sale for 99 cents. You can join their mailing list via InstaFreebie and read their book for free, leaving a positive review if you liked it.  If possible, you can download it free from a retail site*** (like Amazon or Barnes & Noble) and leave a review. You can tell your friends about it and suggest they read it. You can do any of those things and you will have supported that author.

I say this because a Facebook thread I was on suddenly took  a turn that I didn’t like. And it all hinged on people’s notion of how one supports an author. A friend posted a link about the movie Hidden Figures beating Rogue One for top spot at the box office. A person commented that people should support the author of the book the film was based on. So far, so good. No problems yet.  The person who suggested buying the book added, “It’s on sale at Amazon for $1.99 right now.” I’d seen the movie, was interested in reading the book and was like, “Booyah! I’m going to get that book.” I clicked the link, and the ebook was $10.99. Umm. That’s a far cry from $1.99. More than five times the price, in fact. I’m not saying the book isn’t worth that price. It’s just not what I was expecting. So, at that point, I chimed back in and said, “Hey, the price went up.”  Apparently, I missed this price by 20 minutes, as it had been $1.99 at the time the person posted. No harm, no foul. I said since it was going to be around $10 regardless, I would probably get the paperback instead, which was $9.59. That way, I could pass it on to others in my family to read ( Yes, I know you can lend Kindle books, but I’ve never figured out how to work it and not all family members have kindles). It is at this point that I became irritated. I was told that rather than buy the cheaper version, I should just pony up more money and buy the hardback version of the book in order to “support the author.”

Ahem. No.  First off, in this specific instance, that was absolute nonsense, because the person who posted the link would have been happy to see me pay $1.99 for the book. If I had bought it at that price and chimed back in, I’m pretty sure everyone would have said “Great.”  Had I purchased the book at $1.99, the author would have earned only a few pennies on the sale, and my support would have been significantly less than what the author ended up earning based on my purchase of the paperback.

However, because I chimed in that I was concerned about price, my act of support suddenly became one of not enough support (even though it was technically more support than the author would have gotten if I’d clicked that link within a few seconds of the person posting it).  No, just no. Here’s the deal. I’m an author, but I’m also a reader, so I support a lot of different authors. If I pay the highest price available for every book I read, then I read a lot fewer books and support a lot fewer authors. That’s not where I want to be. I want to support many authors, and that means being price conscious at times.

Second, as a consumer, why would I ever want to pay a higher price for the same product if there were no costs associated with getting a cheaper product? If the paperback was going to cost me more (shipping), then maybe it’s not equivalent. But I’ve already paid for my Prime membership, so there is no shipping cost. So why would I suddenly pay more for the ebook, when I actually have more utility with the paperback, because I can let my children or husband read it? I just can’t imagine a scenario where I say, format A costs X, format B costs X+5,  I’d be happy with either format, so let me grab format B.

Third, regardless of the price I pay (so long as it’s a sale of .99 or more), the author does get a benefit when a book is purchased. They benefit with a higher sales ranking, moving them up the charts, so they can appear in the list of top-selling books (if they get enough sales). If you’re on that first page of trending books, you get tons of sales from people who happen on the book because they’re browsing the best-seller list. Another benefit is reviews. And on Amazon, verified purchase reviews in particular, help authors. They provide social proof that a book is good and may tip the scales in favor of another fan buying.

While I’m perfectly happy to support authors, I am not perfectly happy when others suggest that the way in which I am supporting an author is not enough. In this specific instance, the book is one that embodies diversity and the people who were posting on Facebook  knew very well that diverse books need all the support they can get. Their over zealousness may have come from that good place of wanting to see this book do well. However, I would suggest that when someone is supporting an author, just say thanks. Don’t tell them how they can spend more of their money to do it in a way you’d prefer.

And don’t ever let anyone tell you that you need to support an author in some specific way for it to be good support. So long as you are valuing the author’s work (as in not pirating/stealing it), it’s good support. How do you value their work? You read it, and you leave a review for it if you enjoyed it. You tell others about it, so they might consider purchasing it. If you’re able to, you purchase their work. But all authors understand that people don’t buy every book they read. They have libraries, gifts, loans from friends. That’s fine. And that’s support. Good support. Never feel like you have to pay the most expensive price for a book for it to be support. If you’d be happy with a $2.99 ebook, you don’t need to  buy an $11.99 paperback instead to “support the author.” Get the format you enjoy.

Anyway, rant over. Have a great day, and if you haven’t seen Hidden Figures, try to check it out before it leaves the theaters (and guess what? I don’t care if you see the discount matinée, the regular matinée, the full price evening show or wait around until it hits the second-tier discount theaters. Just try to see it soon. You can even wait for the DVD at your library, if you need to. It’s a worthwhile story that should be viewed). And read the book, too, if you can. It’s a great story, regardless of format (though the book is obviously a richer, more accurate account than the film).

 

***Stealing (this includes reading pirated copies of a book) does not support an author. If an author chooses to make their book or sample available for free and you take advantage of that, that’s great. I you come by a book  free legally (borrowing it from a friend or library), that’s great. Stealing–in person or online–is not cool.

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FREE Multicultural and World Fiction!

 

Looking for some FREE multicultural and world fiction? There are more than a dozen books available in this promo. The books can all be grabbed through the InstaFreebie service, which provides a free book in exchange for signing up for the author’s mailing list.

To see the complete list of books, visit http://jlhendricksauthor.com/2016/12/20/world-fiction.

Multi-Cultural World Fiction-The Way It Should Be #Instafreebie

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FREE and Cheap Sci-Fi & Fantasy

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There’s some free and 99 cents SciFi and Fantasy ebooks to be had this week.  Just in time for Christmas, you can treat yourself to a gift with the two great promos going on. Above, you can get some free books by visiting this site http://sffbookbonanza.com/freebooks, or clicking the picture above.

The FREE books are through InstaFreebie, so to get the free book, you must sign up for the mailing list.

If you like the authors you find in the free section,  then check out the books in the 99 cent category, because only authors who participated in the FREE book promo above can be in the 99 cent promo below. That means if you find an author you like, you can get two of their books for just 99 cents (one free and one for the 99 cents price). That’s a pretty sweet deal. Check out the books by clicking the picture of interest.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Source: Pixabay

Source: Pixabay

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NaNoWriMo, Publishing and Gratitude

A writer's setup for NaNoWriMo (photo courtesy Wiki Commons by mpclemens from Pleasant Hill, United States.

A writer’s setup for NaNoWriMo (photo courtesy Wiki Commons by mpclemens from Pleasant Hill, United States).

It’s November,  and for a lot of  writers, that means NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month. During NaNoWriMo, writers are encouraged to write a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November.

I’ve never been a fan of the NaNoWriMo concept because it comes at an awful time of the year. Thanksgiving is during November, so that’s several days devoted to family when writing will be tough. But, also my husband and son’s birthdays are in November, which means more days when I won’t be writing. Last year, I tried NaNoWriMo and didn’t like it. (I listed my reasons in this post).While it’s not for me, I wish everyone who is doing it good luck.

And while NaNoWriMo isn’t for me, I think the concept of writing a novel quickly is a good publishing model. I’ve been trying to write more quickly this year, even though I haven’t entirely succeeded.  The effort has improved my writing speed and advanced plotting skills. For that, I’m grateful.

I’m also being more grateful for the little blessings. Sometimes when you have big goals in mind and you aren’t achieving them, you can get down. But, if you can find gratitude in the little things, life improves. This November, in particular, as I work at completing a short story for an anthology and getting book three of my Prophecy of Light series published, I’m focusing on appreciating all the great things that have come my way. For example, two fabulous reviews came in for my books this past week. This great review for Life First appeared, as well as this lovely review of Concealed.

It really fills me with happiness when I learn that readers enjoyed my book. So, this was a fabulous week in that respect. I’m also on par for my writing goals, even though I know I’ll have some editing coming up in the next week or so (and editing always seems to curb my word count). But in the first five days of November, I’ve written a little over 15,000 words. That pulls my average to about 3,000 per day, which is excellent. I hope to finish the month with about 60,000 words. That seems doable, even with Thanksgiving and some editing. I’m also grateful not to have had hand issues this year, as last year, I had some real issues with tendonitis.  While I still wear compression gloves when typing, I’m not having any pain, which is awesome.

That’s it for me for today, as I’ve got some writing on my stories to finish. Have a great day, and keep writing, reading, or doing whatever it is you love to do.

-RJ

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Prophecy of Light – Unleashed Available + Giveaway

prophecy-of-light-unleashed-ebook800Woo-hoo. It’s been a little over a week, and I wanted to mention that I’d released book two in the Prophecy of Light series.

Unleashed is available now and it’s just 99 cents for the first couple of days. It will go up to $2.99 later this week. This continues the story of young Kady as she tries to figure out her magic and unleash her power.

I’m incredibly excited that Unleashed is here. Both books in the series are exclusive to Amazon and FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Prophecy of Light – Trapped, the first book in the series, is just 99 cents, as well.

As a side note, I wanted to let you know I’m participating in a group giveaway of sci-fi and dystopian fiction authors.  This giveaway lists 26 books you can get free via Instafreebie, as well as a drawing for two $40 Amazon gift cards. If you’re interested in the books or the drawing, click the image below.

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