Apple-Obsessed Author Fella

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Chuck Under Microscope

Irregular Creatures: The Prognosis

In case you missed it (which, given my self-prostitution, means you must’ve been buried under a tornado-smacked barn), I went ahead and “officially” released my short story collection, IRREGULAR CREATURES, to the Amazon Kindle marketplace.

I say “officially” because it had been up there since Saturday.

And between Saturday and yesterday, I had zero sales. Not surprising, one supposes, but contained within is a critical lesson: your audience isn’t likely to stumble blindly upon your book. That is true whether it’s in a bookstore or on Amazon — yes, there exists the chance someone will trip on a rock and fall face-down upon it, but you sure can’t count on it. Bookstores are filled with thousands of books. Amazon multiplies that by a factor of… well, let’s just go with one of those imaginary numbers like Snarbgang or Fronk. (Coincidentally, also the name of my favorite Vaudeville comedy duo!) You want people to read it, you gotta lead them to it. Put up signs. And fireworks. And a Tijuana donkey show.

It wasn’t until I released the truth of the book’s existence into the wild that I netted the first sale — and the next, and the next after that.

Because you came calling. A stampede of awesome people.

First Up: My Thanks

So many of you rose to the call of “Please pimp my book” that I literally cannot thank each of you because if I tried to thank you individually, I would eventually die of some random old person disease.

At last count, I saw about 250 tweets of you fine feathered peeps shaking the reeds and shock-prodding other folks in the butt-pucker so they head on out and nab a copy of the e-book.

That is insane. Like, in the good way.

Never mind the many folks who pimped it on Facebook — Rick Carroll, Shawn Gaston, Keith Rawson, uber-agent Stacia Decker, and others. David Hill was the first reviewer on Amazon. James Melzer wrote a far-too-kind blog post exhorting people to go snatch up the collection. (Get it? Snatch? Because there’s a whole story about Thai pussy shows? Shut up. Don’t judge me.)

And again, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The blog post announcement, too, was heartily attended. I’m writing this post ahead of time, and even now that post has 1000+ looky-loos all by itself.

You kick ass, everyone of you.

(And hey, the shepherd-slash-prophet of self-publishing — Konrath His Own Self — swung by the site.)

Second Up: The Numbers

By middle of the day, the collection achieved profitability. My only cost going in was the cover art — I won’t tell you how much it cost because, well, I dunno. That’s not your business. *points to crotch*

But I will share with you the total numbers.

As of 9PM:

Amazon US sales: 86

Amazon UK sales: 7

PDF sales through this website: 15

Total sales: 108.

I make $2.07 per sale from Amazon, and $2.60 when purchased here (Paypal fees).

So, a genuinely profitable day, and this is only the first day.

Oh — Amazon sales pushed us up to #824.

Fact: Amazon’s sales ranking is determined by a parliament of insane robots. I began the day at #117,000, then one sale rocketed me up to #75,000 then another sale bumped me to #11,000. After that, I spent the day pinballing between #7,000-ish and #1,000-ish. It would sometimes do this even when I had not earned any new sales. Once, I earned sales, then dropped sales rank so fast, you’d think somebody kicked it out of a plane. Amazon sales rank is a cipher wrapped in a mystery enveloped in a slice of honey-glazed ham.

Mmmm. Ham.

Third Up: My Feelings On The Subject

I feel like a princess.

*pinches nipples, flings tiara skyward, does a pirouette*

Wait, no, that’s a whole different post for a whole different website.

I am cautiously optimistic. I mean, you can really look at this three ways:

Optimistic: Hey, holy shit, awesome. Better than expected. It’s just a dumb short story collection and I’m just some dipshit squawking and spitting into the void, so even if I never got a single other sale, I made enough money to go out and eat a kick-ass dinner. My writing is feeding me. Nobody owns my soul (except all those other people who own my soul — oh, and the Devil). Fucking-A. I rule. Everybody else drools. To celebrate, I will conquer some bacon with my gastrointestinal fluids.

Realistic: It was a good day. It remains to be seen if there’s really going to be a long tail, though. Those who bought today were likely the faithful, so how will the book find an audience otherwise? The author can only do so much. If word of mouth doesn’t carry it, the spark doesn’t catch anything aflame and — sizzle, fizzle, hiss. This is a 45,000 word product. Were I to have earned even a meager per-word on getting those stories published (say, two cents a word), I’d be up $900. And as yet, I’m not really close to that. But the long tail might be there. If I work it good and work it hard (nnngh), I might see that return yet. One lesson to learn: blog views are free, retweets are free, clicks are easy-peasy, but all those things do not automatically translate into a purchase — and that’s a-okay. It isn’t all about the immediate sale.

Pessimistic: Fuck off, fuck-badger. Loser. Loo-hoo-hooo-oooooooser. That old-ass knight from the end of that Indiana Jones movie is saying, right now, “He chose… poorly.” And he’s saying it about you, douchewipe. That thing was 45,000 words. You usually get a pretty good per-word, so realistically, that thing is worth at least $1800. You really think it’s going to make you almost two grand? Mm-humm. Sure. Sure. And my mother was Batman. See what I did there? Because my mother is not Batman. Herp. And derp. Dummy. Now those stories can’t win awards, they won’t be in print, and nobody cares because they’re self-published namby-pamby poo-poo pee-pee wee-wee nonsense.

But again, I’m somewhere in the middle. Closer to optimistic. I’m happy about the day’s sales.

And it’s not like it’s gone. You can still buy it.

No, really: You Can Still Buy It.

Fourth: What Now?

Well, in part, I shut up about it. I have other things to work on and other stuff to talk about. And the last thing I want to do is become a shill for my own book, a constantly-jabbering parrot: “Buy my crap! Buy my crap! KRAAAWWK! Buy my crap! Flying cats! Bangkok vagina! Buy my crap!”

Some of it will fall to you. You like it? Then please: spread the love. I’m hearing some good reports from people who have read the first story (“Dog-Man And Cat-Bird, A Flying Cat Story”), and that’s awesome. Tell others. Leave reviews on Amazon (even if you bought only the PDF). Don’t need to go overboard or out of your way, but if you’d be so kind as to occasionally pimp it, I would love you forever.

But some of it falls to me, too. If anybody needs a review copy, let me know. I can help make that happen. I’ll also be soliciting some interviews and what-not about the process, but feel free to ping me if you’d be into hearing a bit about this whole process.

Plus, if you have any other ideas for getting it “out there,” my ears are open. They’re full of wax and earwigs, sure, but by golly, they are open.

And that’s it for now, peeps.

Thanks again.

Keep them cats a-flying.

I Give Thee: “Irregular Creatures”

Irregular Creatures: Kindle Short Story Collection, Chuck Wendig

And so it is done.

Up on Amazon’s Kindle marketplace: my first short story collection, IRREGULAR CREATURES.

Click here to purchase.

And, in fact, if you’d be so kind, I’d love it if you purchased it today. Just to see if I can’t get a rush of sales. A caffeine-sugar spike of greedy eyes hungry to gander at my gibberish.

Still, you might be on the fence. You might be saying, “Ehhhh, ennnnh, nnnmmmgh, I just don’t know.”

Could be that you need a little convincing.

I can do that. Here, then, are five reasons to buy my short story collection, IRREGULAR CREATURES. Choose one or several reasons. Collect ’em, trade ’em with your friends.

1. Because Hey, Look, That Chuck Wendig Guy Is Writing Crazy Shit Again

Contained within this short story collection you will find:

Flying cats, Bigfoot, mermaids, demons, zombies, a giant chicken, a vaginally-capable Thai dancer, candy bar aliens, an incarcerated mentalist, and one mystic hobo hermaphrodite.

These are all irregular creatures. Just as I, the writer, am an irregular creature. In fact, I’d say all writers are sort of that — we’re a little goofed-up at the margins, us author-types. I dig that.

These irregular creatures are bound up in nine short stories totaling about 45,000 words. Hell, one of those stories — Dog-Man and Cat-Bird (A Flying Cat Story) — is a big ol’ 14,000 word fun-fest.

The collection is equal parts horror and humor, equal parts fantasy and sci-fi, equal parts sadness, weirdness, absurdity, and hilarity. Some of it is family friendly. Some of it is soaked in blood. You”ll find tales of Bangkok pussy shows, bizarre auctions in the middle of Amish country, soul-switching, and wars between heaven and hell (as fought by cats).

It contains many bad words.

It contains lots of weird ideas.

It contains a host of (I hope) engaging characters.

Click here to purchase.

2. Because This Is The Last Five Years Of My Writing Life

I’m a sucker for authorial point-of-view; I love the “auteur” theory of writing and writers. I like that certain writers carry — often unconsciously — certain themes and motifs through their work. It’s a little bit obsessive, a whole lot unconscious, and maybe a tiny bit batshit crazy. Looking back over these short stories (which comprise the writing years of 2005-2009), I did not realize how these all pieced together. They do. They’re clearly my work — while I think I’ve definitely developed as a storyteller since then, I still see a lot in these stories I like. They are bound together by common ideas and shared themes.

Hopefully that’s the same for you. But you’ll need to buy it to see what I’m saying.

Click here to purchase.

3. Because, I Mean, Pshhh, Three Bucks, C’mon

You can’t buy jack shit for three bucks. Fast food meal? Hardly. Action figure? Nope. Handjob from a hobo with callused hands? Not the last time I checked, no. (And I check often.)

I’m offering you hours of entertainment for three bucks. You go buy Chinese food from the mall, it’s going to cost you twice that and it’ll be gone in a half-hour. Of course, it’ll come back about three hours later (remember, you don’t own food court food, you just rent it for a little while and then you return it back to the water supply like that kid with that killer whale in that movie with the kid and the killer whale).

Irregular Creatures will last a lot longer than that.

Plus: no diarrhea.

In this day and age, that has to be a selling point. Especially given the quality of some of the stuff you might buy on the Kindle marketplace. Am I right? Am I right? I’m totally right.

Click here to purchase.

4. Because You Believe Self-Publishing Is The Future

Forget that shit Whitney Houston sang about — you mayhaps believe that self-publishing is the future. Hell with the children. Are children going to provide you with cheap and easy literary entertainment? Can you download children to a hand-held device? Can you turn children off and on? I think not.

See, I’m on the fence about self-pub. This is an experiment for me to test its viability. You want to confirm that it’s viable? You want to see more self-published work, not less? I’m going to be publishing my results, after all — if the results are good, I’ll say so. Do you want me to proselytize the power of self-pubbing?

Then pony up, wordmonkeys! Money where your mouth is. Boom. Yeah. Nnngggh.

Click here to purchase.

5. Because You Really Love Terribleminds

(Warning: Guilt alert! Guilt alert! Awooga! Awoooga!)

You’ll note that I blog here every day. I do so for free despite it costing me for the theme, for hosting, for the domain, for the hookers, for the meth lab, for all of that. It takes me a lot of time.

And I do it all for you. (It has nothing to do with my ego. Shut up! Shush!)

I’ve had folks contact me and tell me they wanted to donate. I tell them, “Nope.” Some writers ask for donations. I’m not one of them. No harm no foul on those that do, but I figure — hey, this blog is here to keep me disciplined and to put myself out there for you crazy cats and kittens. I say “No donations, but once I have something to sell, please support me and this website by buying it.”

And thus, the guilt. Here I am, offering you a product. And I have big wide doe eyes blinking at you — blink, blink — and at the bottom of those doe eyes is a shimmering pool where my tears are starting to form. You like this site? Been enjoying its free content for ten years? Want to help throw a little money my way to help support the child that is one day soon going to spring forth into this household? Want to help support my “chocolate milkshake and Burmese heroin” diet? Here’s your chance, superstar.


Click here to purchase.

Only On The Kindle Machine?

You may be asking, “Is this only available on Das Kindlemaschine?”

To which I respond, yes, for the foreseeable future. I’m interested in keeping this experiment fairly well contained. Besides, Amazon offers a pretty robust marketplace, distribution network, and chunk of the pie.

What If I Do Not Possess A Magic Kindle Device?

You did know that Kindle offers a mighty host of Free Kindle-Reading Apps, right?

But that’s okay. Maybe you have a Nook or something.

So, I’ll offer you this:

I will send you a PDF if you give me the $2.99 via PayPal.

Contact me through this site, and I’ll get you squared away with the PDF.

The PDF should work in iBooks, on the Nook, or across various other apps or devices. Plus, if you’re morally Amazon-averse, hey, here’s your way to get the collection.

But Wait! I Want To Do More!

That’s awesome, because as it turns out, I need you to do more.

If this experiment is going to succeed, I could use your help in other ways.

First, spread the word. Get on the Twittertubes, the Faceyjournals, the Clown Sex Forums, and spread the love far and wide. “Hey,” you might say, “I found this really awesome collection of stories called IRREGULAR CREATURES and it gave me a word-boner. And I’m a lady! It gave me a lady word-boner. You should go buy it, or I will hate you forever.”

You may need to compress that into 140 characters, to which I offer:

Hy I fnd ths rlly awe coll of stor IRRGLR CRTRS gve me wrd-bner Im lady gve me ldy wrd-bnr u shld buy or I h8 you 4eva

Also, I would love it if you went to Amazon and gave it a review.

Now, you might be asking, “But what if I hated it?”

Uhhh. Well. On the one hand, I encourage honesty, on the other, I’ll merely remind you what your mother told you: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

And then she whipped you with a metal coat hanger. Just a reminder of that.

Alternately, if you don’t want to do these things, then I’m just happy that you bought the book.

In A Perfect World, You’ll Buy This Today

I’d love to see a crazy spike of sales today. Hell, wouldn’t it be cool to get into the Top 100 Kindle books for just one shimmering moment? No, it probably won’t happen, but my father always said to “aim high.” I mean, sure, he was just exhorting me to account for distance and wind speed when I was to shoot a zombie in the melon, but I like to think of the advice as one big metaphor for my hopes and dreams.

I Will Report Back From The Wilderness

As promised, I will periodically send missives back from the Self-Publishing Front with my data rolled into a leather tube and staple-gunned to the back of a donkey. A donkey with firecrackers in its ass to ensure it picks up the pace and is not eaten by a lazy puma.

I don’t know how often I’ll report data — I guess as often as necessary.

Bee Tee Dubs: “Thank You”

If you purchase it, thank you.

If you write a nice review or spread the word, thank you.

If you love terribleminds, thank you for that, as well.

If you don’t buy my short story collection, I’ll kill a unicorn in front of a little girl.

Thanks again, tmeeps.

Why Are Dead Birds Falling From The Sky? (Hint: It’s Totally My Fault)

Dude, What?

Dear Publishers Of Books:

You may have noticed that, around the world, birds are dropping out of the sky like frozen poop from an airplane bathroom. These dead birds are found all over the map — Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia, Italy, Sweden — and many suspect these instances will increase as the coming Hellpocalypse of Cthulhu’s awakening draws closer. You will note, of course, that the first birds to go were several thousand (also calculated as “one fuck-ton”) of dead red-wing blackbirds in Arkansas, and days later, more blackbirds took a free-falling dirt-nap in Louisiana. Further, in Sweden, you will see that the birds that perished there were jackdaws — which sounds like a totally made-up bird, but I assure you, is no more made up than the titmouse, boobie, or nuthatch. Jackdaws are in fact a type of crow. Or they are at least “crow-flavored.”

Let’s switch gears for a moment.

You may have also noticed that I am a penmonkey (equal parts “game designer,” “screenwriter,” “alcoholic,” and “novelist”), and it is the latter identifier that should ring a bell, as my novel BLACKBIRDS is out on submission with you fine, friendly folks, and has been for a number of months, now. You may gaze upon a mock cover I did for this novel below:

Mock Up Cover

This novel deals with a cranky, profane psychic character, Miriam Black, who has a very curious way of solving murders before they happen. It is a book very much about death and how we deal with it. It is also funny and contains both sex and blood, and who doesn’t like that? Communists, that’s who.

I have, over the course of many moons, received a cascading series of glowing rejections from your wonderful industry. Editors love the book! They assure me that they would not change a thing. “Huzzah!” I thought, “What good news!” But then I got to the part of the letter where it also says something like, “We love the book and it’s perfect as it is and yet, somehow, mysteriously, we could not convince the army of terminators our sales board that this was a book that would sell more than seven copies. They remain in fact unconvinced that even your mother would buy a copy. Trust us. We called her. We asked her. She shrugged and gave a half-committal ennh, then said something about how you write rude books about rude people and why don’t you write a nice book about a girl who buys a pony? She also reminds you to call her. As we feel that you are a bad son and a wonderful but unsellable author, we have decided to not publish your truly spectacular standout don’t-change-a-thing novel, BLACKBIRDS.”

This is of course a shame, because I feel I am a prime catch. First: I’m dead sexy. (I look hot dressed up as a Barnes and Noble book display.) Second: I am nothing if not loud and irritating, so you can be assured I will market this novel until my fingers are worked to bloody nubs and my tongue explodes. Third: I have that mythical “writer’s platform” thing covered. Fourth: I think I wrote a pretty snazzy book with a flawed-but-lovable murder-solvin’ psychic-havin’ sexy-bein’ character that people seem to really enjoy reading.

You may at this point be asking, “Wasn’t this asshole supposed to answer the mystery of the dead birds?”

I am, and will.

You see, it is not coincidental that the name of my book is BLACKBIRDS and that many of the dead birds are also blackbirds (or, at least, birds that happen to be black of feather). It is also not coincidental that my book is about death and solving murders, and this mystery of the birds also orbits the cheerful, charming subject of death, doom, and gloom. Why is that, you ask?

I’m totally the guy killing all those birds.

Whew. I’m really glad to have that off my chest.

It’s been so hard! Seriously. Go ahead — you try to kill a metric fuck-ton of birds by yourself in order to pimp out your unsold novel. It’s really tough stuff! I have had to shoot fireworks into flocks of grackles, I’ve had to rig up supervillain-esque contraptions that hoses blackbirds down with water before blasting them with the coruscating energy from a secret Nikola Tesla device, I’ve had to break into secret government labs and release toxic Phosgene into the atmosphere. Heck, I’ve even had to pilot an ultra light plane amongst the birds while (with a free-hand) clubbing them all to death with a croquet mallet.

I am, frankly, exhausted.

Unfortunately, the bird deaths will continue as long as my novel remains unsold. This is, of course, regrettable, but I see no other course of action beyond these Blofeld-like tactics.

For every day that my novel goes unsold, I will continue punching, scalding, exploding, electrocuting, poisoning, and tickling birds to death. I have already begun to expand my purview beyond blackbirds and crows — you may have read about the thousands of dead doves in Italy? Yup. That was me. My only regret there was that I could not also manage to spraypaint them all black, y’know, to keep in theme.

Oh well. Next time!

So, while I am pleased to announce that the bird deaths are not in fact a sign of the Apocalypse, they are however the acts of a disgruntled novelist who just wants his book to find a home with a lovely publisher.

Please buy my novel. If not for the awesomeness of the book itself, do it to save the birds of the world. Because I’m totally going to keep killing birds until someone buys this goddamn book.

Thank you for your time. I appreciate any efforts on my behalf. The birds thank you, too.

BLACKBIRDS is represented by super-agent Stacia Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency. You may contact her to request that the bird deaths cease make a wonderful offer on my book.


Chuck Wendig

P.S. I also have a non-fiction book on pitch called CONFESSIONS OF A FREELANCE PENMONKEY. Please don’t make me kill any monkeys or writers. Unless you want me to kill a few writers? Call me.

P.P.S. Oh, the fish aren’t my fault. It’s possible that you have another grumpy novelist out there who wrote a book called FISHHEADS or some shit, but if you ask me, all the dead fish are a sign of the fucking Apocalypse, so you should probably start praying to your God and building bunkers and what-not.