Open Floor

Jon is under the weather today, so we’re throwing the door open and letting you guys ask questions and suggest future blog topics. All we ask is you leave the place standing when you leave and lock the door behind you. Oh, and don’t drink all the coffee or let the cat out. Cranky writers are even crankier when they don’t have coffee and their feline overlords are nowhere to be found.

The floor is now yours.


  1. Sha-na-na-na, sha na-na-na, hey, hey *races for the wide-open door*

    Idea: incorporation for the single writer. What are the advantages, disadvantages? I know Dorothy Grant covered it last year, but tax stuff keeps changing, and perhaps a re-post with updates might be useful.

    1. Races right past you out the door, ears flat and tail straight out, bag of Black Rifle Coffee’s Silencer Smooth firmly gripped in feline teeth….

      Can’t catch me and make me do it over! I have coffeeeeeeeeee!

  2. *Pours self gallon of coffee, cleans the filter, reloads, and starts another pot*

    I have a question that I’ve been pondering for a bit. The second book in my series is currently going by the working title “The Changeling.” Since I wrote the first draft, I’ve realized that there are a lot of books with that title, and I’ve thought about changing it to avoid confusion. Then I wondered if I actually WANT some confusion. I don’t want people to buy my book thinking its something else, but if they search for one of the others, see mine on the list, and maybe click on it out of curiosity, that might be a way to get discovered.

    Thoughts from the genii?

    1. I believe I have commented on the somewhat tedious (and insanely long) Star Force series (note that they are not “bad”; I did read over 40 of them). I recently discovered another series with the same name, which is better and shorter.

      You can tell them apart because the first 20 or so books in the first series all have (had? perhaps updated by now) the same cover. The latter series has unique covers. Obviously the authors are different, but I must say that I remember neither of their names (nor their genders).

      I recommend against duplicating a series title. A book title? Maybe. Perhaps add an adjective? The Unexpected Changeling, My Favorite Changeling, Etc… The duplication is not confusing on Amazon, where one sees both in a search. The duplication is confusing in forums such as this when “talking” about it. If some of the other The Changeling books are awful, do you want to be mistaken for one of them?

  3. Progress report and Question.

    Progress report: Unfair Advantage, Book 1 of the series, now has a cover. Next job is to go through the Kindle process to get it published, something I will have to study up on myself. Plenty of posts and comments here have been made on that issue, my work there is cut out for me.

    Therefor for all you kind people who have been asking, PUBLISHING WILL BE SOON. Does anyone want a cover preview?

    Question: Having missed the Christmas season, what is the most advantageous day/week/month to publish? Does it matter, or is there a “everybody releases on Wednesday” type thing?

    1. Pen names: Denizens of Chez Phantom claim “Edward Thomas” is boring, and say “Jyoti Sanyi” will give me some “wamyn of colour” bonus points, while “Victoria Peach” is interesting and also has wamyn bonus points.

      Do I want to go there? I kinda want to because it will irritate the idiots, but I am not fond of false advertising. Thoughts?

      1. Phantom I like both Jyoti Sanyi and Victoria Peach, though I think maybe Victoria B. A. Peach might add a pinch of picanté.

      2. Combine them. Ed Sanyi. It will fit well on a cover in a big font. Throw in a “P” for “phantom” (and a dash of “pretentious”): Ed P. Sanyi.

        1. Don’t take that the wrong way, please. “mrsizer” is Mark R. Sizer. Now the Googlebots will find me!

    2. Phantom – there’s really two questions: what is the best day to push publish, and what is the best day to do a release announcement that book is live?

      There’s some thought that you want to push publish on a weekday due to faster approval on weekdays than weekends, and then can immediately publicize and wring every minute out of that 30-day new release boost.

      There’s some thoughts you want to do it on weekend so you have lower visibility while double-checking that your blurb doesn’t have a typo that escaped all the double-checking, that your cover and book all made it through correctly… setting you up for a release announcement on Monday. It’s debateable.

      As for what day to publicize – on weekends, you have lower web traffic as most people are out, off doing things in real life. So, generally less amenable.

      Some people recommend at or right after payday, so you can get people with money in their pocket to burn.

      Everybody who’s watched their sales sink will conversely advise you to stay far away from Apr 15 – tax day – and the runup to presidential elections with all the drama that makes people not want addition drama in their entertainment. Public holidays where people are out and about – 4th of July, Memorial Day weekend, the week around Thanksgiving and Christmas… also lower traffic, lower sales in general.

      Beyond that, pick a day. Any day. whatever makes you happy. And don’t worry about it too much; it’s your first book. Get it out, celebrate getting it out, and then keep writing!

      1. “the runup to presidential elections”

        You mean, like now?

        I think this criterion has to be a bit more precise to be useful.

        1. Dorothy is right. I will add one thing, however. Right now, the trend is for release dates to be on Tuesdays. Usually the first and third Tuesday of the month.

          1. Amanda – that makes a great deal of sense, as it puts it close after payday (1st/15th), and 4 business days to promo and be seen before lower weekend traffic. I shall keep that in mind, thank you!

    3. Middle of March is the start of “Spring Break” in a number of places (TX, AL, possibly others) here in the South. Lots of people headed to the beach might want something to read.

  4. If I may, I would like to again express my sincerest thanks to Amanda for taking on the RWA fiasco, and for the rest of you for adding your witty and informed comments. As I said in the comments of the first installment, if not for finding this blog I would have surely thought I was a lone wolf howling insanely because NO ONE was saying a word against the goddess divine Courtney Milan.

    Now, as we enter Week #2 of the still-raging storm, more authors are speaking out, although not too vocally as they get eaten alive real quick. At least it is a start and it helps RWA members and authors like me to become braver. In fact, I am now brave enough to reveal that Siobhan is a pen name used briefly for a couple of novellas I wrote. Most of my novels are under my real life name, which is…. drum roll… Sharon Lathan


    Whew! Sky did not fall! Not yet anyway. LOL!

    Again, thanks SO much. I really love this blog and will be checking in often, RWA crap blogs or others. 🙂

  5. Did he drink too much celebrating the tragic death of that wonderful Quds commander?

    With some of the recent controversies here, I’ve found myself wondering if the seemingly incomprehensible positions could be explained simply in terms of Romance readers and writers having mindsets that I find very alien. So, I have some questions about the romance genre.

    Am I correct in remembering people mentioning historical romances with heroines who were disproportionately written engaged in feminist activism, compared to more period probable activities?

    Would a 1950s historical romance work if the heroine was running an illegal abortion practice?

    How about if the motivation was a period correct eugenics one, perhaps defined in racial terms?

    Does romance cover a wide enough range of subgenres that there is room for something that is both a romance and a psychotically paranoid thriller?

    What is the definition of Romance? How does it compare with the definition of pornography?

    1. Am I correct in remembering people mentioning historical romances with heroines who were disproportionately written engaged in feminist activism, compared to more period probable activities?

      That’s my experience, too.

    2. It depends on how much of a know-it-all the writer wants the heroine to be. Traditionally you got a lot of fun and drama out of your historical characters not knowing the future, but not so.much now.

      It is possible that some Woke readers no longer recognize historical irony or.imperfect heroines as acceptable story techniques, because their heads have been kept in a bubble; and so they want everyone else bubbleheaded, too.

      1. But there are also the readers who object to the inaccuracies.

        I once witnessed a long discussion of a historical novel where a Regency heroine’s big issue was that her husband actually slept with her — even though she had many other gripes, many of which would actually have been regarded as a problem in the era.

    3. Bob, as a published romance historical novelist, I can try to answer some of your questions. Alas, the answers are not easy, nor are they the same today as they were even 5 or 10 years ago.

      The RWA, as a representative of the romance genre which has been around far longer, once defined a “romance novel” as the romance being the main point of the plot, and the ending being one man with one woman living happily-ever-after (HEA) or at least the promise of an HEA. Meaning they did not have to actually get married, for instance, but the concept of being together forever was the desired goal.

      Now, who the hero and heroine were, the period of time, how they got to that HEA, how many other potential love interests were involved, “sweet” to racy/spicy, etc. was wide open. There have always been sub-genres (paranormal, historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, etc.) And even novels with what is termed “strong romantic themes” as in perhaps the romance wasn’t the ONLY or even main plot were okay if the HEA was there.

      Never, to my knowledge, were there “rules” against POC, biracial relationships, or even homosexual. Those just weren’t as common or requested, and this of course gets into the social issues of the past. So good that those barriers have been broken! But, as I think most of the regulars on this blog would roughly agree on, the SJW/progressives of today are never satisfied. Hence the problems we see now.

      But, backing up a bit, in the past 10 years, especially with the invention of and acceptance of independent publishing, the stricter “rules” of what a publishing house would accept (based on what time had tested would sell) opened up. Society had opened up, so even the trad publishers had long before starting publishing novels with once taboo topics, including erotica. I know many, MANY authors of all sub-genres who tackled heavy subjects like you mentioned. Not those particularly, although someone might have, but things like mental illness or disabilities or older main characters or darker social issues (past and present). On and on, these getting published by the big NY houses!

      When I first got signed and joined RWA in 2008, these once-touchy topics were already being tackled and becoming acceptable. Were M/M romances or erotica as widely written? Were novels outside the standard formulaic HEA widely published? No, and perhaps some of that was letting go of old-fashioned stereotypes and prejudices, but it also was simply a matter of what the market (ie readers) wanted! Even as more diverse material became available, guess who sold most BY FAR? Harlequin and Mills & Boon! I am not sure what the romance market stats are for 2019, and while I am sure the percentage of non-traditional stories has greatly increased, I am gonna go out on a limb and bet that most romance readers want one man and one woman (any color or not even human) with an HEA. I know this also because unless the stats have changed in the past two or three years, Amish romances are BIG sellers. And it isn’t only the Amish buying them!

      A very long comment (sorry Amanda!) that hopefully gives some insight. Romance readers have always been very forgiving because they just want to enjoy a romantic story that in the end will make them feel good. Same reason the cheesy Hallmark and Lifetime movies are SO popular. This tragic notion of romance novels focusing on preaching some SJW agenda probably already has backfired. Again, not sure of the stats, but I do know that where just a few years ago I could walk into any bookstore and the romance section would be WAY bigger than the other literary subgenres, now it is barely one row, maybe two. Undoubtedly indie publishing is part of the reason, but I don’t think that is the whole picture.

      Lastly, “erotica” is the term for written porn. The difference, technically, is that where in a romance it is “true love” with the mechanics of how the couple gets to the HEA (with or without sex added), in erotica it is ONLY about the sex with no promise of a story (there can be), any other action along the way, or the couple having a future (they usually don’t).

  6. How fat can a novel be before you really should start seriously looking for good break points for separate volumes?

    1. If it needs two hands to hold the paperback up without wrist strain… It’s probably time to break it up. 🙂

      1. Yes, but I want an estimate before I order the pb. At the current moment, it’s 120,000 words, the climax is in hailing distance but not in sight, and it’s just the first draft. My stories almost always expand on revision.

        1. Is there a single story problem, that gets solved? Then try to keep it in a single cover.

          If there are multiple problems, such that you can break the book at a point that will satisfy the reader, then yes, you can break it.

          120k is fine for a single volume trade paperback. If you go much larger, there are multiple size options. Or reduced fonts and skinny margins.

          1. I assume you’re going Indie? Amazon KDP will tell you when you hit the point where the spine’s so wide the book won’t work well, and send you back to the drawing board to either split it, or jump to a larger size book. I’ve got books in 5×8, 6×9, and 7×10.

            I found that big one awkward, and probably ought to have reduced the font, the line spacing and tried to get the size down.

          2. It’s going to go past 120k. By large bit, though I can’t estimate it more closely now.

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