If you follow me on Twitter you might know that the trade mag work I’ve been doing freelance to cover the costs of my terrible addiction to human adrenachrome looks likely to get canned. Consequently I need to (a) tout for more freelance work, (b) finish the book I’m on for my agent, and (c) make the best fist of other income streams I can.

You also might know that I’ve been very quiet on Twitter and elsewhere. So many knob jokes left unsaid, etc. That’s because I’ve been refreshing my long-largely-neglected array of self-published stuff (or author-published) stuff.

The ex-Penguin material is off its Amazon exclusive period, so now everything has been added (or, in the case of the oh-so-slow iBookstore, is in the process of being added) to stores I’d ignored or couldn’t be arsed to go through Smashwords to access, I double-checked and amended the text (including doing a better job of an also-by), and I’ve - largely, a couple of things are still short - revamped my own store. I thought about using embedded Ganxy showcases, but since I had individual book pages anyway and I’d have better control over appearance (seriously, Ganxy, some docs on embed parameters allowing you to strip titles etc. rather than examining the source on sample sites would be grand), I figured the hell with it and did it by hand.

I also did some cover redesigning.

All You Leave BehindMurder Park

The original AYLB one was the first (I think) I ever did, getting my mate Tom to go modelling for me. The original MURDER PARK one was one I did in something of a rush when the original headshot I wanted to use had a change of licence right before it was ready to release (you’re covered by CC terms if a licence changes after you’ve used it, but not before). In both cases I’ve had a fair bit of practice since, so they should be better (and more consistent in appearance).

I couldn’t get material for the composition I’d originally wanted for AYLB (man’s hand with gun on one side, kid’s hand with toy on the other because PARALLELS, Shitsville urban scene in the background), but this one’s not so bad either. The title’s hell to lay out, though. There’s a lesson for me there, I think. And the MURDER PARK one was fun to stitch together from its component pieces, even if I do never want to cut out windblown hair again.

I don’t want to have to monkey with these things on a regular basis - it’s too much effort for too little reward. I’ve also trialled Amazon Select and freebie days with the Rourke books, and while it’s possible to shift x,xxx downloads and reach #x on whatever chart, it doesn’t stick, and people (self included) don’t actually read all the free crap they pick up. Better is what’s been happening with VDZ, which I’ve barely mentioned and never pushed. It’s permanently free and maximally available, and consequently some people go on to pick up DZ as well without me having to jump up and down yelling, “LOOK I HAVE A THING YOU CAN GET FOR NOTHING PLEASE LOVE ME I’M COLD AND THERE ARE WOLVES AFTER ME” all the time. (Not that that works and not that I ever did that anyway, but the hell with your “reasoning”, filthy human.) To chase readers rather than numbers. So all the short stuff, and AYLB, and TTOG are now freebies in such channels as allow it, effectively giving one taster-style lead in for each (vague) setting. In others - cough Amazon cough - I’ll have to wait for enough price matching prompts to trip them into freebie country. And I can pretty much leave everything alone then.

Which is cool, because that frees up time for writing and trying to scrabble some freelance stuff without having to keep a third plate spinning all the time as well.

The only other chore I’ll get round to at some point is taking this site off Tumblr and back to being self-hosted (I’ve cut the sidebar somewhat but it’s a rough job; no point doing more until I change over). Tumblr was handy as a quick method of posting stuff, but the toolbar prompts and flyouts have gotten more annoying in recent months and I can’t imagine Yahoo’s eventual monetisation strategy for the platform is going to make things cooler because as a rule they don’t.