Another Round At The Crow Bar #33 September 2019


Hello friends and fans!

Welcome to my 33rd newsletter!

In Brief:

With August at an end, and at the start of September, it’s time to face the reality that we’ve already nearly run out of 2019! This has been one of the busiest, most productive years in writing I’ve had in a long time, if not ever!

Let’s get this road on the show!

Discontinuation of the .net website

This is probably the biggest nugget I have under the “news” heading this month!

Those of you who visited my website in the past month using the .net url have probably noticed that the christinaengela.net address got redirected to christinaengela.com. This is because I’ve discontinued the newer website for a short list of reasons – the first one being that it would cost me nearly R2000 to renew the domain and services with GoDaddy in September – whereas the current agreement with WordPress still has roughly another year to go before the .com domain expires and the site address reverts to christinaengela.wordpress.com again!

I opened the new site a year ago, and set up onboard selling tools – but although I had just three direct sales from that website in the past year (amounting to a whopping $6!) the cost of renewing the service just doesn’t justify the expense. I have no intention of renewing the .com domain either when it expires in 2020, since the cost of that would be actually three times the renewal cost of the .net site! I will nevertheless do my best to keep all my url mentions updated.

At least the original Crow Bar website on WordPress – even without the domain and bells and whistles – will remain free, and living in South Africa with its greedy, capricious, incompetent government and a resulting fading currency and tanking economy – that makes all the difference.

My original author website after all (also called The Crow Bar), is an information resource about me and my writing, with links and cover images linked to my shop pages on Lulu and Smashwords, and a good platform for my newsletter and updates. That’s all it is and has to be – and as such, especially while I’m seeing hardly any income from my writing at all – free is best.

As you might notice further on in the newsletter, I’ve also updated the covers with correct links from last time, and also updated the previous newsletter as well to reflect the  correct links.

Sales & Downloads

Since I’ve made a host of new free promotional items available on Lulu and Smashwords, interest towards the end of July – particularly on Smashwords  – downloads have definitely started to improve, and I feel a little encouraged. On the sales front however, things are still pretty dismal.

I noticed a while back that some authors are selling their titles on PayHip, and several have gone so far as to recommend the site for various reasons, saying how well they’re doing… unfortunately for me, despite having 38 individual items up there (12 of them free) for around 6 months already, I’ve seen about as much movement as an inebriated slug trying to sail across wet cement with its handbrake on! There’re plenty of “views” as a whole of each item – and more each time I share one of the links to Facebook or Twitter, but not one single download – not even a free one! This is definitely a head-scratcher – as in WTF did I do wrong? Is it me? Is it the site? Or is it that people just don’t know or trust PayHip yet?

On the bright side, my mother’s English poetry collection “When Day Is Done” sold a copy via Lulu on the 30th!

Current Writing Projects 

I was busy with the short free promotional items for most of July and August as a way to encourage and attract new readers and interest in my writing. Whether of not this effort was successful of not, it’s probably too soon to say!

Once that task was completed, I also went on with refurbishing the website and restoring broken links in pages and posts and all 32 of my previous newsletters! “Not a small task” I hear you say – and you’re quite write – er, right. I’m sure you’ll be relieved to hear that for the remainder of the month – from the 26th or so, I worked on the incomplete, unpublished titles!

“Underground Movement” is book 7 in Quantum, and although I haven’t a page or a link or even a cover to share with you just yet, the story is already at over 23000 words, and growing a little more almost daily! Regardless, there’s still a lot of work to be done – and ‘only’ about another 30000 words – minumum!

I also wrote a short story inspired by the upcoming “Storm Area 51” event supposedly taking place this September in Arizona, at the actual Area 51. I think my amusement at any potential massacres disasters cover-ups outcomes shows in the story titled “The Storming Of Area 51”! It’s likely to appear in “Space Sucks Too!” in future, but more on that another time.

I’ve also done my level best recently, to start making a post via my website blog daily and then sharing that across social media instead of posting directly to Facebook, Twitter et al. So far, that seems to be helping! Below are links to a few of my most recent posts on The Crow Bar:

Anyway, let’s move on to some more new releases!

New Releases

Under FREE promotional items this time, you will see “Overkill” (Galaxii), “A Nine In Time” (Quantum), “Chasing Ghosts” (Panic! Horror In Space), “Escape From Paradise” (Galaxii) and “The Jug Of Death” (Panic! Horror In Space). All five were released in August, and each gives clarity on characters in their respective series. Now all these series have three free samples and previews each.

All of the free short stories are available as published independently through both Lulu and Smashwords – except for “Chasing Ghosts“, because for some weird reason, the almighty Smashwords – being anal and pedantic about meaningless things – decided that that short story was a “part work” and took it down without giving me ANY opportunity to lodge a dispute! Aside from this leaning towards outright totalitarianism, I still feel Smashwords is an impressive service provider, and their sales tracking tool gives the author access to live-stats unlike Lulu, which has long been my mainstay in self-publishing.

Chasing Ghosts” in spite of Smashwords’ facetious cheese-moving, is still available via Lulu (and Amazon).

Now that I’ve reached my goal, it’s unlikely that I’ll be putting up any more like that for a while! You’ll see them all displayed above and further below in this newsletter – just click on the covers to find out more about the individual titles, or to purchase or download any you fancy!

Currently Available Titles:

I currently have 22 unique titles available in 4 series (not including the 15 free promotional items).

Alternately, you can view Christina’s books at Smashwords, Lulu or Payhip.

Some of Christina’s titles are available in other languages: Afrikaans.

The Galaxii Series

(Click on the cover images to view product pages for each title.)

The Quantum Series

 

(Click on the cover images to view product pages for each title.)

Panic! Horror In Space

Space Sucks!

(Click on the cover images to view product pages for each title.)

Other

 

(Click on the cover images to view product pages for each title.)

Non-Fiction

(Click on the cover images to view product pages for each title.)

Edited by Christina Engela

 

(Click on the cover images to view product pages for each title.)

FREE Promotional Items:

    

(Click on the cover images to open free samples.)

On A Personal Note

As I related to you last month, I have opted to sell via Amazon again, however, Amazon just isn’t playing nice. Surprised? Not!

Two different earlier editions of my dad’s collection of short stories “African Assignment“, as published under two different publishers, are listed on my author page there – and although I sent them an email requesting they merge them (so that only the latest one would show) – and although they said they’d do it, this still hasn’t happened.

To add insult to injury, Amazon sent a performance survey almost immediately after saying they “would” attend to it – and a month later, still haven’t! How did they do? Umm – lemme think?

Also, of my new, updated novels have shown up on Amazon’s database yet (although they’re already visible and selling via Apple and Barnes & Nobel and others!) so I still can’t update my Amazon listing! This is very frustrating for me, as you may imagine!

In the meantime, I’ve updated my GoodReads title listing, having finally figured out HTAF to merge different editions of the same work and to select which one shows up under the title! (If only that worked the same way on Amazon, right?) Unfortunately, GoodReads also relies on the ubiquitous and petulant Amazon to refer readers to for sales links – and so if the book isn’t listed on Amazon, then you don’t sell anything via GoodReads either! *sighs*.

In a follow-up email exchange on August 29th, Amazon informed me that if there’s a fault, it’s not on their end (typical!) and that I should consult my publisher (myself) as to the reason for this problem!

I detest monopolies and conglomerates – and this steadfast self-justifying tendency is only one reason why! If you ask me, the wrong Amazon is on fire!

Hopefully some headway will be made soon in this regard, and I will as always, keep you posted.

  • Fan Mail, Reviews & Honorable Mentions

I caught up with my various reviews and found the following items to display in this months issue:

  1. Surprising Vampire Twist (“The Thirteenth Ship“) “Surprising vampire twist… Intimate and tender while making use of general stereotypes to propel the story forward. Easy to read, I enjoyed it very much.” – H.G. Emert (via Smashwords).

  2. Absolutely Refreshing (“Death By Vampire“) “Absolutely refreshing. Not the same stale story with vampires in it. Loved it!!!! Keep up the great work!” 5 stars – Anonymous (via Barnes & Noble).

  3. A Brilliant Story (“The Thirteenth Ship“) “A brilliant short story. Full of mystery. I love Christina’s writings!” – 5 stars – Anonymous (via Barnes & Noble).

  4. Brilliant! (“Black Sunrise“) “Brilliant!!! “Brilliant!!! Absolutely unique story-line and characters! I am A huge fan of Christina Engela’s books!!!” – 5 stars – Anonymous (via Barnes & Noble).

  5. Excellent Tool (“Other Kids Are Kids Almost Just Like You“) “Excellent tool to teach children to accept people who are different. I would recommend it to anyone who has children and is against bullying.” 5 stars – Anonymous (via Barnes & Noble).

I display my Fan Mail, Reviews & Compliments with pride, gratitude and humility. You are always welcome to have a look.

  • Hate Mail & Horrible Mentions
  1. Had Potential (“Death By Vampire“) “This book was only 19 pgs. Had potential. ***spoiler seemed to have a lot of unnecessary information. Also the description of the blood diamonds didn’t make any sense, they are named for their color but the color is green? Needs some editing.” 2 stars – Anonymous (via Barnes & Noble). [I know this person didn’t actually READ the story, because in it there was a whole paragraph that EXPLAINS how the aliens called the green stones ‘blood diamonds’ because they had GREEN blood – but it “needs editing” because they didn’t understand it? As to length, it was a free short story, but they obviously missed that part too.]
  2. It’s Okay (“Wiggle Room“) “This book is about 20ish pgs. It’s okay. Predictable. ***spoiler the biggest problem is the author telling you about good vs evil, and that evil wins, but in the end evil doesn’t wn. Then you have the author comment about perceptions of good vs evil, in this case it’s pretty easy to assume the creature was evil. So considering the ending was predictable and the creature was evil I am not sure why the author had any commentary.” – 2 stars – Anonymous. [Summary: The same person again complains about the length of a FREE short story, gets tangled up in the “about blurb”, and then laments their own inability to comprehend what they read – a common and tragic consequence of a failing education system.]

I’m rather proud of my hate mail, and you can review it here – but be forewarned, don’t do it while eating or drinking or you might choke while laughing!

  • Interviews

I have nothing new to show you here this month.

All my interviews are linked to from this page. If you would like to do an interview with me about my work, please do get in touch!


CHRISTINA WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM YOU! A few nice words go a long way! Please leave your REVIEWS wherever you see Christina’s books – or send her an email via the Contact form!


In Closing

Well, that’s all for this time, folks! 🙂

Thanks again for all your support, friendship and interaction!

Until next time, keep reading!

Cheers! 🙂


If you would like to know more about Christina Engela and her writing, please feel free to browse her website.

All material copyright © Christina Engela, 2019.


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