As I’m probably the least musical person you can think of – despite numerous attempts to learn to play different instruments, the most fun of which was ukulele and weirdest was balalaika – I’m obviously not talking about accelerating a piece of music here. No, it’s the publishing I’m talking about. I’m attempting to see if doing no less than a release a month will revive my dormant fanbase. After the last couple of years of virtually nothing, I’m finally beginning to write again. I’m hoping to have the novel-in-progress complete early next year. And to run up to that, I’m putting stuff out.
Like Crow Moon, which launched somewhat by accident last week. Oh, I had every intention of publishing it this month. But when I was finished setting up the ebook, I was distracted by family in the office, looked away from the screen, and evidently managed to hit the big yellow ‘publish’ instead of the grey ‘draft’ button. Sigh. As I told the First Reader, everything was there, and ready to go. It was me that wasn’t ready. And then, because there’s a certain irony to the universe, Amazon approved the book in an hour, so I couldn’t even do a takeback and cancel what I’d done.
Crow Moon is a collection of stories. About half have appeared before, in anthologies or in one case, on my blog as a reader cookie. The others have never before appeared in public, other than a couple of snippets of Honeymooners. All fantasy, they run the gamut from classic fairytale inspired romance – wherein our hero must woo the most repugnant female imaginable by fulfilling her capricious quests – to sword and sorcery. Fantasy has such a broad range. I’d actually considered holding off on doing a collection until I could make it even more granular, but in the end I wanted to keep up this tempo of a release a month.
Will it pay off? Heck if I know. The problem is that I’m scattered and whimsical. If I were, say, writing romance and releasing a novella a month (possible, if I could write romance in any traditional sense) then yes, it likely would pay off. Even if I could just pick one genre I do write, like SciFi or Fantasy, and keep myself to those, building reader awareness would work well. Stay in my lane, and find readers who also liked staying in that lane. Unfortunately, I am constitutionally unable to do as I’m told, and color inside the lines neatly. I write fantasy (and SF, and mystery, and…), I make art, I write non-fiction, I publish recipes. It’s all very messy. Can I make it work? Yeah, for now. I don’t need the income at the moment, although it would be very nice, with a car needing replacement ASAP and a kid in college (doing very well with welding. Proud Mama here). I can run these experiments, collect data, and observe the market.
So, I’ll keep at it. Too soon to tell yet, I’ve only been doing this since September. I figure no less than six months, and that’s with starting to add in the additional marketing of ads and promos of novels into the sales newsletters to try and broaden the fanbase. I’ve finally got the homelife settled into a routine, now, to turn that energy on to the marketing. Onward! Faster!
Cedar, I see your Muse as enjoying doing multi-threaded 3D braiding, in Themes and Genres very associative, with sidewalks going past beautiful vistas, pausing next to a flowering bush, then a very close look at a glittering insect. Keep on, Lady. It is all interesting. Neil Frandsen aka Bigfoot
A few years ago I read a complaint from—I think it was a publisher but I don’t recall—who was complaining/sniffing about how the release speed of some indie authors was damaging the market, because readers wanted the same thing from tradpub. The problem (for the publisher) being that real* books needed time to nurture, edit, and release properly.
*Carefully curated works of fine writing, as compared to, as critic Lee Goldberg put it in 2011, the tsunami of swill that is indie pub.
Goldberg is a writer himself, and eventually came around and started putting his own novels up indie. I stopped following his blog not because he was a bad writer (he’s not) nor because I disagreed with him about things, but because he never learned from being wrong, and remained a snobbish, insufferable asshole about things that he didn’t like. The one that pushed me away, I think, was his blog post about him being a total dick (not his view of it, of course) to a waitress because she didn’t know what “a chalice of coffee” was. And no matter how many commenters on his blog patiently explained that that terminology just wasn’t common anywhere in the country, he wouldn’t budge from his insistence that the waitress was uniquely unintelligent, in part because she misspelled “chalus”.
It was a consistent pattern, too. People who liked the original Battlestar Galactica were stupid (which was big talk coming from a guy who wrote for Diagnosis Murder, The Cosby Mysteries, Baywatch, and The Highwayman, I thought), the reboot was going to be stupid. Then, when it turned out he liked it, it was because the reboot was totally different from the original, and the people who liked the original were still stupid.
As I recall, his evolution on indie publishing was not, in his mind, an evolution. He had not been wrong about it before, he was always right, and indie itself had changed for the better and finally become acceptable to right-thinking people like him.
He wasn’t trying to be a jerk. He just innately looked down his nose at anything that wasn’t in accord with his preferences. And could never understand that he was doing it.
Of course that level of unconscious Hollywood elitism would be an improvement over how fans are treated today.
I had good results with every-six-weeks releases . . . until I ran out of backlog. But that was before KULL, IIRC. I don’t know if that makes it better or worse. Or if publishing often enough that regular readers keep checking.
. . . is the trick.
Must go find caffeine.
One of the things that I find good with Amazon is that you can Follow an author you are interested in, and then they email you when their new books come out. A little free marketing there, you just need to get your readers to Follow you. Maybe updating Author Central sometimes, although I don’t know how often people check that out. I never do…
I tend to follow authors when I buy the first book that catches my eye, whether cover or blurb.
One thing I rely on when reading on my Kindle (OK, Kindle app on a tablet) is that the next book in a series be linked at the end of the current book. I typically buy the books in order, and don’t pick up the next one until I finish the current one. Thus, the links at the end to the next book in the series (and/or other books by the same author) are very important. Without them, I may not buy anything else. I don’t know if Amazon does that automatically, or if authors have to set it up themselves, but however it happens it’s important to making more sales to me.
It has to be set up. I don’t have it in all my books, because other outlets object to having Amazon links. But right now I’m exclusive to Amazon so I should do them.
The version of Vellum on my writing computer won’t add links to epub versions. (Note, the writing computer is old enough that I can’t upgrade the OS enough to take the new updated Vellum.) It’s frustrating.
Depends on whether you just bought their latest before the next one is released (in which case there’s nothing to link to). As authors, we can (and should) update the existing editions to reference the latest when it comes out. Actually, since I list my bibliography inside all my books, I tend to update all existing editions (at least for that series, but sometimes all) when new books come out.
But an Amazon-explicit link is a no-go for wide distribution, and maintaining multiple variants by vendor is a real drag, which I don’t advise.
Draft2Digital has a ‘universal book link’ that links to a page with links to all the platforms the book is on (Including the sites that you go direct to and NOT throught D2D). Might work for the wide folk. I’m trying it in my next release (but I don’t have a lot of books out so not sure how well it would work for sell through.)
Yeah, first they gotta be written.
Adding the “Accidental Collection” to my wish list…
Only comment that I have – with the caveat that I am not equipped to properly judge – but that outfit looks extremely painful to me.
That cover looks hard-core.
Do the stories match?
The stories range from pure old school sword and sorcery to fairy tale.