Ghostbusters Afterlife trailer

I’m a huge Ghostbusters fan. Like really huge. We’re talking I have a complete screen accurate Ghostbusters costume. I’ve been participating in fan groups since 2005 and building packs and going out in costume since 2001.

The last time I saw a Ghostbusters movie that I truly loved was back in 1989. I have nothing against the 2016 reboot. It was a fun comedy that got more hate than it deserved because fans were upset it wasn’t the direct sequel they’d always wanted.

I still remember going to see Ghostbusters II in the theater. I’d only been born a few months before the original Ghostbusters, so it’s not like I could see that one in the theaters unless my parents were being very irresponsible.

I love both of those movies. My wife and I quote both of them at each other almost daily. We’re so simpatico that when I started telling her what the opening of the Eurythmics Walking in a Winter Wonderland, she stopped me and said it’d always creeped her out because it sounded like the music that plays when Janosz in ghost form kidnaps a baby in Ghostbusters II.

Needless to say, Ghostbusters has always been a big part of my life. I’ve been quietly optimistic about the new movie coming out in 2020, that we now know is being titled Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Now that the first trailer is out, I can say that I’m totally stoked and can’t wait!

The movie seriously looks like it’s shaping up to be something special. Jason Reitman clearly has a love for the franchise and wants to do right by it. Finn Wolfhard was great in Stranger Things and one of the best parts of IT. I’ll watch anything that Paul Rudd shows up in.

Watch the trailer up above. It looks like this is shaping up to be something special for a fandom that had a lot of years in the wilderness.

Cover reveal: Princess by Mia Archer

The cover for Princess by Mia Archer

There you have it! I’m putting the finishing touches on a new novel, Princess, and this is the cover I’ll be launching with in a few days. It’s a lesfic romance so it’ll be releasing under my Mia Archer pen name.

I had a lot of fun writing this one. It’s the story of two young women working in the summer internship program at Royal Realms, a massive theme park in Orlando that’s in competition with Universal and the mouse but is a totally made up and distinct place for legal purposes.

Aubrey is a photographer, Lucy plays a princess for meet and greets, and they’re going to have to overcome some pretty strange obstacles before they can find love in each other’s arms!

I had some fun making this cover. I wanted to go with art rather than photographs for this one, and I found some amazing stock art that totally clicked with what I was going for. I tried to make the book have a slight YA feel to it since the characters are younger. Technically it’s New Adult or Adult Contemporary, but one of the great things about lesfic is you can be experimental and have fun with covers without being completely on point like in other genres.

Princess should be released sometime next week. I hate releasing on the holiday week, but I’m already behind on my release schedule.

2020 Goals: Branch into audio including podcasts and audio books

Time to talk about my first big goal for 2020! I’m getting into audio.

This is a big one that I’ve been working towards since 2017 when I started building an audio studio to do podcasting and audiobooks. I hit a bit of a snag when my daughter was born and I focused on being with her for her first year instead of doing audio, but now that things have settled down a bit at home I’m ready to do this.

My strategy for hitting audio is also part of my strategy for going wide. Audio is the fastest growing corner of the publishing market right now, and there are a lot of people listening to books and podcasts. These are my people. I’ve been an audiobook listener since the mid ’90s when the only way you could get audio was on tape. I haven’t listened to radio or music all that much since I got an iPod in the mid ’00s and discovered podcasts.

In addition there’s still a high barrier to entry for creating audiobooks, which means that there’s less competition in the market from indie authors. It can cost thousands of dollars to produce an audiobook, but if I’m able to do the recording and editing myself in my home studio then the only investment I have to make is time. It took hours spent learning Adobe Audition and audio engineering and the investment in creating the studio, but I’m hoping it’ll pay off dividends.

I’ve also wanted to start a podcast for years but never felt like I had anything to podcast about. That’s changed, though. I have ideas, and this is the plan:

Podcasting

Nonfiction Podcasting:

Motivrite: A podcast about what goes into being an indie author. I’ve learned a lot about the market over the years and would like to give back to the community by releasing a podcast with advice for authors. There are a lot of podcasts out there that focus on marketing a book and getting it to an audience, so I’m going to hit a different niche at first and talk about tips and tricks for getting the words down, and how to navigate life as a part time or full time indie.

Stretch goal – Indie Day Job: If I manage to complete all my other goals and I still have time then I’d also like to start a podcast where I talk to other indie creators about their day to day. I’m not sure if this will be happening because I already have a lot on my plate, but we’ll see. As the year goes on and some things succeed and others don’t I might have more time to launch this project.

Fiction Podcasting:

Avallanath: This is a story that’s been rattling around my head for the past decade about an author of very fat books, the fans who love to hate him, and what happens when his creations take matters into their own hands.

I started writing it while I was in grad school a decade back, and I released it as a webcomic at one point that got to be sort of popular with a few hundred people a day hitting the site daily. The problem is I’ve never been that good at drawing and I don’t feel like webcomics are a real growth area. So I plan on releasing it as an audio fiction podcast with a chapter or two a week.

Blake Byron: Paranormal Investigator: This is another story that’s been rattling around in my head for more than a decade, but I only sat down and actually wrote it in 2017. It’s the story of a former special forces soldier turned campus cop who wanted a nice quiet life. Then he came across the victim of a vampire attack, killed the vampire that killed her, and found himself in the crosshairs of the local vampires. I tried releasing this in 2017 and it didn’t meet with much success, but it’s a fun story that I enjoy and I feel like it could do well with a bit of a marketing push so I’m going to try it out in audio and see what happens.

GameLit: I have a couple of GameLit stories I’ve been working on since 2016ish when LitRPG first started taking off. The first one I plan on releasing in audio and as a wide book release is Dice Mage, which is going to be a complete rewrite of a book I released near the end of 2018 that had some moderate success, but I think it would do better being rereleased with the new longer outline I’ve worked out that tells more of a story.

Audiobooks

The plan is to release these novels wide on all ebook platforms once they’ve been finished, and then start releasing the audiobook episodes with one or two chapters being released per week to drum up interest. I’ll push people towards the finished ebooks at the end of every episode if they want to hear the whole story at once.

I also plan on releasing episodes early to backers on my Patreon which I plan on really hitting hard in 2019-2020. With a little luck I’ll be able to build an audience of readers and audiophiles who contribute for a chance to get episodes early while also adding another leg to my income table that isn’t Amazon and Kindle Unlimited.

When the books are finished in podcast form I’ll eventually release them wide as paid audiobooks as well. I won’t be going exclusive with Audible, but instead going wide with services like Findaway to diversify my income base.

Daily steps to achieve this goal

Having a lofty annual goal is all well and good, but it’s also important to think about the daily steps that’ll be necessary to make it happen. There are only so many hours in a day, and if I’m going to do everything I want to do in the 2019-2020 year then I’m going to have to focus and do it one day at a time.

The daily goal for this one is easy enough though. I’ll disappear into my home studio for a couple of hours every night after the kids are in bed and work on recording stuff. I’ll probably only do this Monday through Friday, taking weekends off to relax and have a little bit of fun.

Wrapping up

And that’s the audio plan for 2019-2020! I’m in the middle of production of episodes of Blake Byron and hope to start releasing that podcast in October to tie in with the horror vibe the book gives off. I’ve worked out outlines for nine episodes of Motivrite so far as well. I have about ten episodes of Avallanath written and will start recording that soon, and I’m currently working on finishing the updated version of Dice Mage and probably won’t begin recording that until November or December.

It’s a lot on my plate, but I really enjoy sitting in the booth and doing some recording. It gives me an opportunity to explore a new market, give another polish run on the manuscript, and flex my acting muscles which I haven’t had a chance to do in years. I’m looking forward to seeing where I’ll be in audio by next year!

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.

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