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Latest stories

State of the WIP: I Don’t Do That Anymore

Do you remember a time when there wasn't a crisis every single minute of every single day? Me neither. It seems like the universe is stacked against writers who have a full time job and a precocious, iPad obsessed toddler. And yet, we find a way to persevere, because writing is life, and to not write is to let the next great American novel wither on the vine. It may take a little longer, we may lose power and water during a winter death storm, but we'll find a way to keep working. And that's...

Emerging From the Shallow Pool of Amazon Advertising

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When Brigham Plaza launched last September, I decided to go all-in with Amazon Advertising. It made sense at the time: ads for the book would appear on Amazon, where users were already searching for something to read. Armed with a limited knowledge of how AMS works, along with a financially irresponsible budget, I created my ads and let them run. The results were underwhelming, and I've spent the last six months refining and simplifying. Here's what I've learned, along with a recommendation.

No One Knows How Marketing Works; Least of All Me

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I like to try a different marketing approach with every book I publish, mostly because none of the previous ones seem to work very well. I would love to do the same thing twice, as it would save me time and probably money. From giveaways to paid promotions to chucking books at cars from an I-35 overpass, I've tried it all. And yet, I've still got a few (probably dumb) ideas up my sleeve. With Vinestead Anthology Book Seven on the horizon, I've started thinking about what I'm going to do next...

Postcards from the frozen tundra of Austin, Texas

On February 14, 2021, a winter storm unlike anything I've ever seen before descended upon the shorts-wearing, taco-loving, generally good-natured city of Austin, Texas. We knew it was coming. The week prior, we all laughed at the predictions in our weather apps. More snow? Ha! Single digit temps? Ha! Ice on the roads? Yeah, okay, that happens. But no one was expecting what came next: no power, no water, and horror stories of people struggling to stay warm.

How to Mask a URL Redirect with .htaccess

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Did you install WordPress in a subdirectory because you wanted total control of your website's front page but now you're building pages off that front page and you don't want to go through the hassle of manually styling and managing all of them? Me too. Fortunately, you can still use WordPress to build those pages. And as for displaying them as if they were separate from the WP subdirectory, there's an .htaccess answer for that as well.

No, It’s The Children Who Are Wrong

macbook pro beside black pen

Maybe I'm just arrogant and handsome, but I don't think my first draft is shitty. My first draft is awesome, and I bet yours is too, which is why I'm really starting to hate how often your first draft will be shitty is being thrown around as an accepted maxim or worse, as a piece of writing advice. I understand how we got here--if you put a first draft and a final product side-by-side, you'll definitely see a difference in quality--but I think the true intent of the statement is being lost to...

How To Style a WordPress Menu Item

assorted umbrellas hanging on ceiling

Have you seen those websites with a prominent menu item that draws your eye and makes you immediately want to buy a bunch of books? Well, I have, and I wanted one of those for my website. I thought it would be as easy as adding a class and some styling, but WP doesn't actually allow you to set a class in the menu builder. Instead, it does the work for you. Let's take a look.

Flashes from the Verse: The Ghost of Shoalwood Avenue

The email was from Daemon78756. The subject was Anomaly, and the message body contained nothing but an address. Scott selected the address—2811 Shoalwood Ave—and pasted it into Mapquest. A few seconds later, he had a rough idea where in Austin he needed to go. He clicked on Directions, entered the address of his trailer, and printed out the turn-by-turn to get him to his destination.

REPOST: Paw Prints in the Poop – A Petrospective

Dom and I learned a lot about dogs in our first year with Cheyenne, from how to raise a puppy to how to properly scrub pee out of a carpet. It’s strange that even with all the hard work and property damage, we ultimately decided that one dog simply wasn’t enough. This wasn’t a personal decision; Cheyenne really needed a brother. Here’s a look back at 2014 and everything we’ve learned about living in a household with two dogs with two radically different personalities.

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The Vinestead Universe