Star Pirate II: The Wrath of the Queen

I’m super excited to announce the second book in the Star Pirate series: Star Pirate II: The Wrath of the Queen!

Star Pirate II: The Wrath of the Queen

I had a lot of fun writing this one. It took a little while to get around to writing it because I wanted to wait until I had a story that was worth telling to continue Flynn’s adventures.

What I came up with ended up being a fun ride in addition to letting me make a really awesome Wrath of Khan pun in the title. I also had a lot of fun putting together that cover and making it reminiscent of the WoK original cover in all its Montalban manchest glory.

If you haven’t read the original Star Pirate then click here to get started on the series. If you have read the original then I think you’ll like the sequel!

2020 goals

So I’m going to be doing something a little different. I know a lot of people set their goals at the new year, but as a parent with a kid in elementary school who works from home I’ve discovered that my work year now revolves around my kid’s schedule.

My new work year is from August to May. Because one summer with the kiddo at home has taught me that there just isn’t much of anything work related that’s happening in the months of June and July. Anything I want to put out in those months has to be done well ahead of time!

So here are my goals for August 2020. I’m writing them out here in the hopes that doing it publicly will give me some accountability and keep me on track.

Big picture goals:

  1. Branch into audio including podcasts and audiobooks
  2. Release 36 books across my various pen names
  3. Diversify my income so I’m not solely reliant on Amazon for a paycheck
  4. Build and maintain this site and blog as brand building and as a central hub for all my creative projects
  5. Start hitting five figure months regularly

Five goals, and if I do the first four right then number five will come naturally. Seems easy enough, right? Only as I’m sitting here reading those goals there’s an awful lot that’s going to go into making those goals happen. Which means that there’s some detail work that needs to be done to figure out how I’m going to hit those goals!

With that in mind I’m going to be doing a series of posts over the next few days highlighting each one of my five goals for the next year, going over what needs to be done to hit those goals, and talking about what I need to do to make sure I get that done.

I believe it’s important to plan. If you have a plan then you have something to work towards. If you have something to work towards then it’s a matter of checking the boxes. I also hope that seeing a little bit of my planning process might inspire you to make a plan of your own that clearly states your goals, how you can reach them, and what you need to do to make that happen!

PSA: Vellum’s new EPUB for Kindle needs to be converted to MOBI before sending to advance readers

I’m always one for letting people know when I’ve screwed up so that you can learn from my mistakes. I ran into one this past weekend as a result of the recent changes to how Vellum generates files for upload to Amazon.

Picture it. Indiana. 2019. An author who’s never tried loading an epub file directly onto his Kindle sends out advance reader copies of a story to his Kindle readers. In epub format. Which they can’t read natively on their Kindles.

Oops.

Protip: Upload your document on KDP and download the file they provide you for preview, or use something like Calibre to convert it to a mobi before sending it out to your advance team if they’re using Kindles.

Bookfunnel has also announced that they will automatically convert a Vellum EPUB to MOBI when uploaded if you use their service, which is darn convenient.

I hope that saves someone a bit of the headache I had this past weekend when I got a bunch of annoyed emails from advance readers asking why their book files weren’t working!

KDP Select August 2019 rates are in!

The rate is in! Amazon paid out $25.8 million to KDP Select authors for August 2019.

August 2019 page rate breakdown:

Doing some quick math that comes out to $0.00438 per page read.

The total payout is up by $200,000 from $25.6 million in July 2019.

The rate is what really matters, and it’s down slightly from $0.00439 per page read in July, but July and August rates are close enough to $0.0044 as makes no difference.

Comparing to previous months:

The rate is down from the $0.0046 authors got in from April through June of 2019, and way down from the high of $0.0047 authors got in February of 2019.

So far the highest rate for 2019 had been February at the aforementioned $0.0047, which is interesting since it also had the lowest monthly pot for 2019 at $23.5 million. So the per-page payout is lower as the year goes on despite the total pot going higher, indicating there are more people using Kindle Unlimited.

I suppose that’s good news in the sense that more people using the program means that it’s likely to stick around, but bad in the sense that authors aren’t getting as much for their pages which sucks

Previous rates for 2019:

June:

$24.9 million total payout. Up by $300,000.

$0.00464 page rate. Again down very slightly, another drop of $0.00001, but again it’s such a small amount that they’re basically the same.

May:

$24.6 million total payout. Up by $500,000.

$0.00465 page rate. Down very slightly, by $0.00001, but it’s such a small amount that they’re basically the same.

April:

$24.1 million total payout. $

$0.00466 page rate. Up by $0.00016 to bring us closer to

March:

$24 million total payout. Up by $500,000.

$0.0045 page rate. A big dip of $0.00023 from February.

February:

$23.5 million total payout. Down $900,000 from January.

$0.00473 page rate. A big jump of $0.00031 from January despite the lower total pot.

January:

$24.7 million total payout.

$0.00442 page rate.

Vellum is dropping KindleGen and switching from mobi to epub for Kindle

Are you tired of opening Vellum and getting the notification that KindleGen isn’t optimized for your Mac and will need to be updated? You should install the update that came out last Tuesday!

There’s a full post on the Vellum blog here, but the practical upshot is Vellum will now generate a Kindle-specific epub rather than a mobi file. If you’re a Mac user you definitely want to install this update before upgrading to Catalina next month, as KindleGen won’t work after the update.

What’s in a pen name?

Hi and welcome! My name’s Andrew, and I’ve been a full time writer since February of 2015. I’ve been bad about writing on this site, but that’s going to change as I switch up my writing strategy for 2019-2020.

What do I write?

I got my start writing erotica when that was the thing for a hot minute in 2014, particularly with the bump that Kindle Unlimited 1.0 provided for erotica shorts, then shifted to writing lesbian romance under the pen name Mia Archer. I also had some fleeting success writing science fiction romance under the pen name C.F. Harris, but Mia has been my most successful pen name by far.

Why a pen name?

Because that’s how it was done at the time, I guess? That was the advice: “if you write romance then write under a female pseudonym.”

Another part of it was I was still working a day job when I got my start, and I wasn’t sure if the whole writing thing would ever be more than a side gig. I also had clients at the day job who might look sideways at someone writing erotica and romance.

I very quickly started making more at writing than I did at my day job and didn’t have to worry about what people at that job thought of my side gig once it became my full time gig, but at that point I had the pen name I had.

Why step out from behind the curtain now?

There are a few reasons, but the main one is I’m tired of hiding behind a pen name. I’ve had a lot of fun writing books that a lot of people enjoyed, I’ve made a successful career out of it, and I want to be able to tell the world.

I’ve also seen other guys writing lesbian fiction lately. The most notable is Benjamin Medrano who has been showing up in the Also Boughts at Amazon for a lot of my books. After having a chat with him I felt like the time was right.

I’d also like to be able to interact with fans and other authors. I never did much under Mia aside from putting books out and letting my mailing list know what was going on. I didn’t want to be inauthentic by making up a whole new person who never existed.

So the solution? I’m going to start adding my name as a coauthor on books and include the Beymer Books label. I’ll interact with the world through this site while still putting out the books that everyone loves under my name and my pen name!

I plan on starting to release other books in different genres, and it’s difficult managing a bunch of pen names at once. Especially as prolific as I am. So the Beymer Books brand and this site will act as an umbrella for my projects. I can centralize marketing and social media while differentiating the genre I’m writing in with pen names.

Introducing me. Again.

So hi. I’m Andrew. I’m also Mia Archer, author of bestselling LGBT fiction like Villains Don’t Date Heroes! I was C.F. Harris once upon a time, author of the bestselling Star Warrior series. I’ve also written erotica in a few niches over the years. Whether you’re an old fan of some of my work under those pen names, or someone coming to this site for the first time, it’s nice to meet you!

The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard

The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard

Edited by David A. Goodman

Buy the hardcover at Amazon

Buy the Kindle edition at Amazon

I was browsing the TV and Media tie-in section at Amazon yesterday scoping out GameLit books since that’s where they live while authors wait for Amazon to come up with an appropriate LitRPG/GameLit category. While there I spied The Autobiography of Jean-Luc Picard which caught my interest. Then I saw it was on sale for $1.99 and decided to give it a try.

I’d call this book a page turner, but I was reading it on my Kindle so it’s more like it was a battery devourer. I couldn’t put it down. I missed an update of my ongoing serial Spellcraft over on RoyalRoad because I was so caught up in this book.

I grew up with Star Trek: The Next Generation. My parents were both Trekkies who grew up on the original series, and so it was a no-brainer that TNG would be a staple in our household. Some of my earliest TV memories are watching TNG. I’d regularly sneak into my parents’ bedroom well after my bedtime but before theirs so I could watch episodes when they came on at 10:30PM after the evening news on Fox 59.

This book reads like a love letter to TNG fans. Minor characters who are given a brief appearance in the series, those “I have a deep history with this character to add gravitas to their inevitable death a minute before the commercial break” characters who only ever get their due at Memory Alpha or in the old Star Trek Encyclopedia. Relationships with familiar characters are explored from new and interesting directions.

More than anything, Autobiography fills in the holes of Picard’s early life and the career trajectory that took him to the bridge of the Enterprise-D. The book is peppered with fun references for fans, such as a tongue firmly in cheek explanation of why there were so many Chief Engineers in the first season that I won’t spoil, and is a definite for anyone who considers themselves a fan of TNG.

My only quibble with the book is an issue that must’ve been a Kobayashi Maru scenario for Goodman as he was writing it. Most of the book is dedicated to Picard’s life before he became the famous Jean-Luc Picard we all know and love, and then his career about the Enterprises D and E is rushed in the last sliver of the book before moving on to talk about what he’s been up to since.

I don’t fault the book for this. The stuff we’re interested in is the before and after. We’ve all seen the series and the movie, else we wouldn’t be picking up the book. I can see where recounting episodes that already have an ending wouldn’t be as interesting as telling new stories about years of Picard’s life that haven’t been explored.

Still, for a book that hews closely to the autobiography template it does feel odd that such a substantial portion of Picard’s life is glossed over so quickly, and the few observations that we do get from his point of view in the book give us a tantalizing tease of what a retelling of TNG adventures purely from Picard’s point of view could be while not completely delivering.

I know I spent a few paragraphs on that, but it really is a minor quibble. Overall this book is excellent and worth the read. It’s very rare that I read a book that I feel is an unreserved recommend, but if you’re a Trekkie then you’ll enjoy this one.

I use affiliate marketing links. Anything you click here will kick a little money my way if you make a purchase. I strive to maintain my objectivity in the face of the tens of cents that will undoubtedly come my way as a result of those affiliate links.

Motivrite 3: Vanity Publishing vs. Self-publishing


For the longest time vanity publishing and self-publishing were one and the same. If someone couldn’t get a deal with a traditional publisher then their only other option was to go with a vanity publisher who would gladly print up anything the author wanted, for a price. This naturally led to a bunch of not-so-great stuff being vanity published, and there’s a stigma associated with vanity publishing that still lingers around all self-publishing to this day.

But vanity publishing and modern indie self-publishing are far from the same thing, and it’s time for that old stigma and snooty attitude about self-publishers to go. Today’s episode of Motivrite dives into a brief history of vanity publishing, and the differences between old school vanity publishing and modern digital self-publishing.

Show Notes:

0:30 – The distinction between vanity publishing and self-publishing. One of these things is not like the other.

Vanity publishing and self-publishing used to be the same thing. That’s not the case anymore. Good work is being done by indies now that digital self-publishing has democratized the process, and this podcast is going to delve into the history of vanity publishing and compare it to modern digital self-publishing.

1:20 “Publishing companies” that weren’t publishing companies at all. My introduction to the world of vanity publishing.

A brief story about my introduction to the world of vanity publishing. Aka how I learned to stop worrying and accept that I wasn’t actually getting a publishing contract for a short story I wrote for my high school newspaper.

2:35 What is vanity publishing?

A history of old school vanity publishing and why it has a much deserved bad reputation among writers and publishers.

4:37 Not knowing the distinction between vanity publishing and digital self-publishing held me back from my future career. Don’t let it hold you back.

For the longest time I thought that digital self-publishing was just the new version of offline vanity publishing, and this held me back from self-publishing my stuff for several years I could’ve been using to build my career. Don’t let this happen to you.

5:40 Digital self-publishing is a whole new world of indie publishing.

There’s a whole new world of opportunities for writers because of the digital publishing revolution. I go into the differences between the old and busted self-publishing and the new hotness, and why one is still a costly dead end and one is your path to a potential new career.

7:45 Sturgeon’s Law is alive and well, but digital self-publishing allows the cream to rise to the top instead of relying on gatekeepers.

I tackle one of the most common criticisms against self-publishing: that a lot of the material that’s put out there isn’t that good. Which is true. There is a lot of crap out there, but there are also plenty of new systems in place that help the good stuff rise to the top that are far better than the old gatekeeping system of agents and publishers, because it’s the readers who get to decide what’s worthwhile in this new paradigm.

8:30 Digital markets are the great equalizer that puts indies on an equal footing with trad publishers.

We’ve never lived in a better time for writers to make money from their craft. Vanity publishing was a last ditch way for writers who couldn’t cut it in the old system to get their stuff out there, and it almost never worked. Digital self-publishing is a great new level playing field where anyone writing good stuff can stand out from the crowd and make a career!

Motivrite 2: What makes a career author?

In the second episode of Motivrite I do a dive into what it takes to be a career writer. There’s no one path to making a writing career, but there are some skills and habits that will make it a lot easier for you to take your writing from hobby to career. I talk a little bit about what it takes, and how you can get there!

Show Notes

0:27 – What makes someone a practitioner of an art?

Is it the act of doing, or is it getting paid? Is it getting paid or is it getting paid enough to do full time? Which gatekeeper is right?

1:40 – What is a career writer?

Career writers are working towards or making enough money to do this as a full time job. What does it take to hit this goal?

2:50 – What makes a career writer?

I talk about some of the skills and habits that career writers all have in common.

  1. Be a reader
  2. Be able to write
  3. Be disciplined
  4. Have a desire to learn
  5. Have ambition that’s paired with a work ethic and a desire to make it
  6. Treat writing like a job if you want it to be your job

13:20 – It’s not as difficult as you might think!

If you’re listening to this podcast then you’re taking the first step towards achieving what you need to make writing your career.