Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Connections, Failure, Feedback, General Musings, Health, Hospice, Kindle, Marketing, Predictions, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, feedback, free, health, Her Final Year, hospice, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, literature, predictions, promotion, Science Fiction, St. Cybi's Well, writing
So, without a lot of fanfare I went ahead and scheduled a two-day promotion for the Kindle edition of Communion of Dreams the other day, as mentioned. After I posted something about it on Facebook, John Bourke, my primary co-author on Her Final Year asked whether we might as well do a similar promotion for the Kindle edition of that book. D’oh! An oversight on my part.
But, I think, an understandable one. Right now I’m focused on writing St. Cybi’s Well, the prequel to Communion of Dreams. So there’s that.
And there’s something else. This passage from a post last February sums it up for me:
I am frequently struck just how much of our life doesn’t make sense until seen from a distance. Just recently I was surprised at the revelation of *why* the failure of Her Final Year to be more successful bothered me as much as it did: it was because I had seen the book as being a way to create something positive (for the world) out of the experience of being a long-term care provider. To have the book only reach a limited audience was, in my mind, saying that our roles as care-givers didn’t matter.
Yeah, that. In a word: disappointment.
And when things disappoint, it is only natural to disengage somewhat from them, to not sink a lot of additional emotional energy into it. At some point you just say “well, OK, that’s done — time to move on.”
Except moving on isn’t always the best course, or even possible. John reminded me of that. So I went ahead and scheduled the promotion for Her Final Year to run the same time as the one for Communion of Dreams did.
And guess what? Her Final Year, for the very first time, did better in terms of the number of downloads than Communion of Dreams did. Not by a lot — just a dozen books — but still, it did better. Whereas in the past when we did promotions for the two books at the same time, CoD almost always did better, by upwards of a factor of 10. And for the first time, one of my books was downloaded through the Amazon Australia portal. Guess which one it was. Right: HFY. And I think that’s pretty cool.
I hope you had a similarly good Thanksgiving holiday.
PS: If you missed this promotion, don’t worry. For people who get new computers/readers/mobile devices, we’ll repeat in shortly after Christmas. And of course you can always just go to the links above and buy either book for only $3.01.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Connections, Feedback, General Musings, Health, Hospice, Kindle, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Society | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, feedback, free, health, Her Final Year, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, promotion, Science Fiction, Thanksgiving, writing
As those close to me know, I’m not really “into” holidays the way many people are. Oh, I’m happy to have an excuse to eat and drink more, to visit with family & friends, to relax a bit more than usual. And I can appreciate the rituals which surround the holidays, and how those rituals can give some definition and context for things. Marking birthday milestones. Taking time to remember loved ones and Veterans. Observing the change of seasons and acknowledging the passing of years. Giving thanks.
Those forms are important. I understand why holidays exist even unto this modern age, when everything seems to exist in a constant froth of work, commerce, and entertainment.
But it is easy — far too easy — to come to think of those holidays as things in themselves, rather than reminders. The meanings of the rituals are lost, and only the rituals themselves become important.
And there, I just did the same thing. I just fell into the ritual of bemoaning how holidays have lost their meaning.
What I want to say is this: thank you. Thank you for being family, thank you for being a friend, thank you for just reading my stuff. I try to remember to be appreciative for all this, and for so much more, to make that appreciation more of an attitude than a holiday.
Filed under: Amazon, Astronomy, Connections, Emergency, Feedback, Health, Hospice, Kindle, Marketing, movies, NASA, NPR, Predictions, Preparedness, Promotion, Publishing, Science, Science Fiction, Space, Survival | Tags: Amazon, appendectomy, appendicitis, blogging, bookbinding, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, David Casarett, direct publishing, emergency, feedback, free, health, hospice, jim downey, Kindle, leather, literature, movies, NPR, Philip James Bailey, predictions, promotion, reviews, science, Science Fiction, space, travel, video, Voyager
This morning, NPR repeated the story of Voyager 1 having apparently left the solar system.
I wonder why?
* * *
Philip James Bailey, Festus:
We live in deeds, not years; in thoughts, not breaths;
In feelings, not in figures on a dial.
We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives
Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best.
Life’s but a means unto an end; that end
Beginning, mean, and end to all things,—God.
* * *
We went shopping yesterday.
Big deal, right? Actually, it kinda was. It was the first time my wife had been in good enough shape to do so since her emergency appendectomy. Things are slowly returning to whatever passes for normal.
* * *
Dr. David Casarett is the director of hospice care at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. He works with families as they try to navigate end-of-life decisions.
At least once a week, Casarett says, one of his patients expresses a desire to end his or her own life. “It’s a reminder to me that I have to stop whatever I was doing … and sit back down to try to find out what is motivating that request,” he says. “Is it really a carefully thought out desire to die, or is it, as it is unfortunately many times, a cry for help?”
It’s a good story.
* * *
Tomorrow’s the last day this month to get the free Kindle edition of Communion of Dreams. And this week is the last one to get entered into the drawing for a hand-bound leather copy of the special edition. Remember, you have to have posted a review on Amazon of the book, and then post a comment with a link to that review in this blog entry. There are currently 65 reviews on Amazon, but only 8 entrants for the drawing — don’t delay, as the end will come sooner than you expect.
As it usually does, for good or ill.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Feedback, Health, Hospice, Kindle, Marketing, Predictions, Publishing, Science Fiction | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, free, health, Her Final Year, hospice, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, memoir, promotion, Science Fiction
… that the promotion is now running, and both Communion of Dreams and Her Final Year are now free to download! Things are off to a good start, and as I write this Communion of Dreams has been downloaded 500 times already, and is currently doing quite well in the Kindle rankings. Things have been a bit slower for Her Final Year but it is still doing well, and for the first time ever I’ve had one of my books downloaded by someone in India. That’s pretty cool.
So, if you haven’t gotten your copy of either book — or if you know someone who may be interested in either one — this is the time to act! Get ‘em while they’re hot!
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Feedback, Health, Hospice, Marketing, Promotion, Society | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, dementia, direct publishing, discount, free, health, Her Final Year, hospice, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, memoir, promotion, reviews
So, some big news to share about our care-giving memoir Her Final Year.
But that’s not the big news.
During the same period, Jan 1 – 4, the paperback version of the book bought through our CreateSpace store will be $2.00 off: just use discount code ZZYCFFG2 when you check out. Please note that this offer is only good through the CreateSpace store, not on Amazon generally.
But that’s not the big news, either.
The big news is that we’re permanently lowering the price of the book — in both Kindle and paperback editions — by $3.00. Yup, the new Kindle edition price will be just $5.95, and the paperback edition price will be only $13.95. These price changes will go into effect on January 1, and will be the new baseline prices across the board.
To date we’ve given away 7,191 copies of the Kindle edition of Her Final Year. That’s a very good start in terms of getting the book into the hands of people who need it, and the reviews have been *very* positive. But we would like to see it have even further reach. So even though we haven’t yet broken even on the costs invested in the book, we’ve decided to go ahead and lower the price permanently, and to kick off that new price with these special 4 days of promotions.
Help us out — be sure to get your copy of the book, if you haven’t done so already, and to let others know. Caring for people with Alzheimer’s and other age-related dementia is a huge, huge problem for families all around the globe. Our experience as care-providers can make the journey easier, sharing how we coped with the joys and sorrows, the personal failings and the personal growth.
Thanks — and Happy New Years!
Filed under: Amazon, Health, Hospice, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, Communion of Dreams, direct publishing, free, health, Her Final Year, hospice, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, literature, memoir, Merry Christmas, promotion, Science Fiction
Just a quick note to wish everyone a happy holiday, and to remind you that today the Kindle editions of both my novel Communion of Dreams and our care-giving memoir Her Final Year are both *free* all day long today!
If you haven’t already gotten a Kindle copy of both books, I invite you to pop by Amazon and download them — you don’t even need a Kindle, because there are free emulators for just about any electronic computer/mobile device you may have gotten from Santa today.
And if you know someone who likes good classic speculative fiction, or who has someone in their family/circle of friends who is dealing with care-giving, please share the news of this promotional day with them.
Merry Christmas to one & all!
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Book Conservation, Feedback, Guns, Health, Hospice, John Ydstie, NPR, Politics, Predictions, Publishing, Science Fiction, Sleep, Society, tech, Writing stuff | Tags: Amazon, blogging, jim downey, Kindle, NPR, predictions, promotion, Science Fiction, technology, writing
While I’m on a bit of vacation, I have decided to re-post some items from the first year of this blog (2007). This item first ran on December 1, 2007.
As I’ve mentioned previously, I try and catch NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday regularly. This morning’s show was hosted by John Ydstie, and had a very nice three minute meditation titled Reflecting on a Past Generation which dealt with the differences between his life and his father-in-law’s, as measured in physical weight and strength. You should listen to it, but the main thrust of the piece is how Ydstie’s FIL was a man of the mechanical age, used to dealing with tools and metal and machines, whereas Ydstie is used to working with computers and electronic equipment which is becoming increasingly light weight, almost immaterial.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
Last weekend, as part of my preparations for tackling in earnest the big conservation job for the seminary, I got a large fireproof safe. I needed something much larger than my little cabinet to safely secure the many books I will have here at any given time. And about the most cost-effective solution to this need was a commercial gun safe, the sort of thing you see in sporting goods stores and gun shops all around the country.
So, since a local retailer was having a big Holiday sale, I went and bought a safe. It’s 60 inches tall, 30 inches wide, and 24 inches deep. And it weighs 600 pounds.
And the retailer doesn’t offer any kind of delivery and set-up.
“Liability issues,” explained the salesman when I asked. “But the guys out at the loading dock will help get it loaded into your truck or trailer.”
So I went and rented a low-to the ground trailer sufficiently strong for hauling a 600 pound safe (I have a little trailer which wouldn’t be suitable). And an appliance dolly. And went and got the safe.
When I showed up at the loading dock and said I needed to pick up a safe, people scattered. The poor bastard I handed the paperwork to sighed, then disappeared into the warehouse. He returned a few minutes later with some help and my safe, mounted on its own little wooden pallet and boxed up. The four guys who loaded it into my trailer used a little cargo-loader, and were still grunting and cursing. I mostly stayed out of their way and let them do the job the way they wanted. Liability issues, you know.
I drove the couple miles home, and parked. And with a little (but critical) help from my good lady wife, it took just a half an hour and a bit of effort to get the safe in the house and settled where I wanted it. Yes, it was difficult, and I wouldn’t really want to tackle moving anything larger essentially on my own. But using some intelligence, an understanding of balance, and the right tool for the job I was able to move the 600 pound mass of metal with relative ease. And it made me feel damned good about my flabby own self.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
In contrast, the most difficult things I have ever done don’t really have a ‘weight’ to them. Communion of Dreams took me years of hard work to write and rewrite (multiple times), and yet is nothing more than phantasm, able to fly through the internet and be read by thousands. There are no physical copies to be bought, shared with a friend, lugged around and cherished or dropped disgustedly into a recycle bin. It is just electrons, little packets of yes and no.
And these past years of being a care provider, how do I weigh them (other than the additional fat I carry around from lack of proper exercise and too little sleep)? I suppose that I could count up all the times I have had to pick up my MIL, transfer her between chair and toilet, or lay her down gently on her bed. But even in this, things tend towards the immaterial, as she slowly loses weight along with her memories of this life. And soon, she will be no more than a body to be removed, carried one last time by others sent by the funeral home.
How do you weigh a life?
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Feedback, Health, Hospice, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Society | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, direct publishing, free, health, hospice, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, memoir, promotion, reviews
This is the one-year anniversary of when Her Final Year was first published. The culmination of years of writing & editing, and many more years of experience caring for Martha Sr and Georgia, interest has been building in this book since we first released it into the wild. The reviews (13 as I am writing this) have all been 5-star and very touching. Here’s an excerpt from one of the recent reviews:
A must-read for anyone dealing with a family member suffering from Alzheimer’s/dementia. Easy read, no holds barred memoir. Saw so much of my own mother, now in moderate-severe stage. Much good info and ideas. Suddenly I don’t feel so alone.
And today it is free to download. Yes – the Kindle edition of the book will be available all day for free to anyone who wants to get it. You don’t even need a Kindle to read it in this version – Amazon has a free Kindle emulator/app for virtually all computers, laptops, and mobile devices.
Do yourself and your family a favor. Download this book. Share it with others. Care-giving is something all of us will probably have to face, one way or another: this book helps.
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Feedback, Health, Hospice, Kindle, Marketing, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Travel | Tags: Alzheimer's, Amazon, blogging, care-giving, direct publishing, free, health, hospice, jim downey, John Bourke, Kindle, literature, memoir, promotion, reviews, Science Fiction
I do not read a lot of science fiction – I just have not been drawn to it. I picked up this book for my kindle on a whim as it looked interesting. I am blown away! What a unique story! Loved all the science based info and loved the element of divine as well. Give this book a chance – you won’t be disappointed. I look forward to reading more from this author…..
Excellent account for anyone facing the time with a parent going through Alzheimer’s. I bought it to read myself and got another copy for my mother who is dealing with my dad now. It really was an excellent resource.
Two other news notes:
This coming Saturday, the 14th, will be a free Kindle edition promotion for Her Final Year. Yup, that means that HFY will be free all day for anyone who wants to download the Kindle version.
And I have loaded a dozen blog posts from the first year I maintained this blog — 2007 — which most people have not seen. These will be posting about one a day while I am traveling. A little bit of this and that which I thought would be fun to revisit. If you ‘follow’ the blog, you’ll get notice of these posts, but otherwise pop by now and then to take a look.
Well, I still have a lot to get done today. Cheers!
Filed under: Alzheimer's, Amazon, Connections, Feedback, General Musings, Guns, Hobbits, Hospice, Kindle, Marketing, Politics, Predictions, Promotion, Publishing, Science Fiction, Society, Writing stuff | Tags: Amazon, birthday, blogging, direct publishing, free, Grackles, Hobbits, jim downey, Kindle, literature, politics, predictions, promotion, Science Fiction, writing
And then the Grackles came. As Grackles do.
* * * * * * *
Yesterday’s “Hobbit’s Birthday” Kindle promotion was something of a bust. While an appropriate eleventy-one people downloaded Communion of Dreams here in the U.S. (no, really, 111 did), that number is miniscule in comparison to previous promotions. Another 10 downloads went through the Amazon.UK portal, and 4 through Amazon.DE.
It’s hard to be sure what conclusions to draw from this. It could be to not do a promotion on a major national holiday. It could be that the market is saturated. It could be something else entirely.
But I think I’ll hold off for a couple of months before running a promotion again.
* * * * * * *
I enjoy blogging. It allows me to keep tabs on my emotional state, share bits of perspective and odd thoughts. It also keeps my writing skills sharp when I don’t have an ostensible goal I am working towards. That advice everyone hears in writing classes to “just write” really is true — writing regularly makes a huge difference.
But there are different kinds of writing. In the 5.5 years I’ve had this blog up, and through the 1324 blog posts, I’ve probably written something over half a million words. Add in some 160 articles/reviews for Guns.com, the 150,000 words initially in Communion of Dreams and the 140,000 in Her Final Year (not all of which were mine, of course), along with other various articles and whatnot, and I’ve probably written/re-written a million words in the last 6 years. But all of that is a real mixed bag, written for different purposes and different audiences.
One of the things I noticed a couple months back was that I was starting to layer meaning in some of my blog posts. And I *know* what conclusion to draw from that: my subconscious is starting to practice for writing the next novel. For the most part this isn’t something that most people would notice — I’m building in these layers of meaning for my own amusement/practice. The surface of each piece needs to still communicate directly with the reader, just as the surface story of Communion of Dreams is an enjoyable tale without demanding a lot of thought. Accomplishing that while building in other stories and ideas in the subtext is what is hard, and it requires practice.
* * * * * * *
I spent part of the morning filling the bird feeders, each according to their type, and dusting the seed first with cayenne pepper powder to dissuade the squirrels and deer. Black oil sunflower seed for the cardinals and jays. Fresh syrup for the hummingbirds. Suet block for the woodpeckers. Cracked safflower for the finches (thistle is also good for them, but dealing with the damned thistle plants which result is a pain). And a “mixed songbird feed” for everyone else.
And I thoroughly scrubbed and then refilled the birdbath. With our current moderate drought conditions and high temps, it has been getting a lot of use.
I’d barely gotten back inside before all the bird varieties were populating the feeders. There was some squabbling between the sparrows, and the jays were being their usual bossy selves, but mostly everyone got along.
And then the Grackles came. As Grackles do. They’re not that much more violent than other birds. I honestly think jays are tougher. But the Grackles don’t just show up by ones and twos. They show up in a mass, making a ruckus, demanding that everyone do things their way. They eat, squawk, and shit. Until they are satisfied that everything is in a sufficient state of chaos.
And then they left, as Grackles do. Leaving the others to pick over what they didn’t want. Leaving me to clean up the mess.