When I sat down to write this morning’s post, I already had an idea in mind. But, because I hadn’t inhaled enough coffee to be fully awake, I checked a couple of sites to see if anything jumped out at me. The very first site I looked at linked back to a post by Kris Rusch, one I suggest everyone here take time to read.
Yesterday, I finished the final edits for A Magical Portent. As I’ve noted here and on my personal blog, I hadn’t set out to write this novella, at least not at this time. But it was something my muse demanded. What I haven’t talked about much is it also fit my personal business plan of starting to put our more work at a faster interval.
The key has been finding a way to do so without sacrificing story, quality or editing. Fortunately for this particular title, not only did it basially write itself–which means it was a quick write–I knew going in it was going to be a short work. It is much easier to push out a 30-40k word work than it is an 80-100k word work. Also, one of my final readers/editors was able to fit me into his schedule after having to take time off.
But one thing had been pecking at me as I set my updated publishing schedule. Why this sudden desire to increase my release time? Trying to stick to a new title every 3 months can be trying enough. Life happens. Hell, Covid happened. Did I really want to push it to a shorter window of opportunity?
The answer was yes. My gut told me it’s necessary. My numbers seemed to confirm it when I’ve published titles closer together before. Still, was I opening myself to a headache I didn’t want or need?
The answer is no and Kris explains it a great deal better than I can. In fact, she confirmed everything my gut and my subconscious had been telling me.
Covid-19 is doing a hatchet job on traditional publishing on a number of different fronts. Everything from the office end (editing, page composition, etc) to publishing to distribution. Then entire process is, basically, fucked right now and it’s the authors who will be the ones hurt in the short term and possibly the long-term if they can’t adapt and adjust to their changing circumstances. If we don’t see more mergers or bankruptcies coming out of this on the publisher end of things, I’d be surprised.
But what about the indie author?
According to Kris:
We need to continue producing. Consistency is the key for indie writers. Making sure we have a release every six months or a year at minimum. Along with a good static webpage at minimum. . .
But do give your readers a respite from all the noise. Keep your publishing schedule going. Keep your ebook prices low. If your books are similar to an overpriced and underpublished bestseller, then make note of that in your social media postings and maybe in the key words (or whatever that’ll be called next month).
Because I can guarantee this. Readers who want a certain type of book Right Now will try to order their favorite writer’s book, and won’t be able to get it. They’ll balk at the ebook price. They’ll be unable to get the book at the library.
They’re going to want something to read. They’ll be amenable to trying something new but similar.
And that just might be you.
When I read that this morning, I realized that is exactly what I’d been seeing and feeling and trying to respond to. Mind you, I think you must, absolutely must have a new title out every three months at the minimum. No, not every title has to be a full-length novel. After all, A Magical Portent (and Cat’s Paw after it) are novellas. Both come in under 40k words. But both are priced accordingly at $2.99.
As a reader, I find Kris is right about what I’m doing concerning my reading habits. There are very few traditionally published authors I still read–or at least who I actually buy. I might borrow their books from the library. Of those, I’m seeing publishing schedules pushed back. Even when they have a new book come out, I hesitate to pay $14 or $15 for an e-book.
Instead, I go looking for other authors in the same genre. I check the preview chapters. I look at their websites and blogs. I look at recommendations from authors and others I respect and, if it’s an author, whose work I enjoy. I’ve found several new authors that way. It is, as I’ve said before, how I rediscovered Jean Rabe. (Faith Hunter recommended Jean’s work).
Last night, as I entered the last edit into A Magical Portent, I received notice that a book I’d pre-ordered had been delivered. I’ll admit, I had forgotten about the pre-order. But I quickly found myself not only smiling to know I had new reading material, but I was grabbing up my Kindle Oasis and starting on the new book. I looked at it as my reward for having finished my own work.
And, yes, this is a book by an indie author I discovered based on someone’s recommendation.
I guess this has all been a roundabout way of saying a couple of things:
- if you are a traditionally published author, start looking very hard at your options. That’s especially true if you are new (or newish) with the publisher,
- If you are an indie author, look at your publishing schedule. Is it where it needs to be? Is there any way for you to keep your level of quality and still do quicker releases?
- If you are a reader, are you leaving reviews for the books you read? Are you recommending books via your social media outlets? (this is so very important for indie authors because you are our best form of promotion/advertising).
Finally, as I mentioned above, A Magical Portent is finished. I’ll be uploading the final files either today or tomorrow. Once that’s done, everything will be ready for the release of the e-book on Sept. 29th. The print version will be available around that date as well. Here”s the blurb:
Storm clouds gather. An unknown danger nears, one that may spell the end of Mossy Creek, TX, and all those who live there.
Dr. Jax Powell and her best friends, her sisters from other misters, are determined to do whatever it takes to protect their town and loved ones. Each of them, once considered the town’s wayward children, have returned home. All but one: Magdalena “Maddy” Reyes. She’s not refused to return to Mossy Creek, but she appears to have dropped off the face of the Earth—or at least from the streets of London.
Can they find Maddy and save their town or is it already too late?
I had a blast writing the novella and am having to fight the urge to write the next full-length book in the series. Next up is a new Mac Santos novella, one that will help set the scene for the new story arc in the Nocturnal Lives universe, one that will see us visiting familiar characters as well as some new ones. And, yes, Mac is being very loud as she reminds me she’s waited long enough for me to get back to her.