Skip to content

Posts by TXRed

To Revise and Reissue or Not Reissue: That is the Question

Because I’ve reached the point where I am so far along in a series that I need to go back and fill in some gaps in the series guide/story bible, whatever we call that thing, I’m re-reading the first books in the series. Gulp. One thing in particular leaped out, and that is how much a major minor character has changed. Not the description, but his role in the story, and how I portrayed him.

Should I go back and “update” the early books so they blend better with the later ones? For that matter, should I go back to my very first books (Cat Among Dragons 1-4) and re-do them, polish and improve the writing? Read more

Accelerate to Pulp Speed!

I’m currently on the road, so replies may be slow.

Oops, started another one!

One of the big re-discoveries since the rise of both e-books and Amazon made indie genre-fiction “a thing,” is that fast and good can equal higher sales. I add “good” because while there are a few sub-sub-genres with fans so starved for content that they’ll buy almost anything, since e-books and indie really got going in the last ten years, readers have become more selective and less tolerant of poor writing. They’ve got a lot more to choose from, so they can be pickier. You can’t just toss something on-line that you personally think is The One True Novel!!! and expect to retire on the income. [Yes, I’m thinking of the book you are thinking of, the one that Shall Not Be Named because the author still seems rather protective of the work.]

However. 1. Not everyone writes fast, and not all readers demand a book every six weeks or two months. If you don’t write fast, or have too many life things to churn out words, there is absolutely nothing wrong. Readers will still like you. This is why controlling backlist and the “long tail of sales” is so important. I didn’t plan on writing any fiction this spring, because of Day Job activities. Surprise!

2. If you do like me, and can write fast and decently well, you might have an advantage. Maybe. Read more

Some Interesting Numbers . . .

While US numbers are kind of odd at the moment, a Vienna, Austria-based analyst started looking at European (EU) and British book sale patterns, including e-books, pricing, and audio-books. His big “take-away” is that baseline patterns have sped up, most notably for e-books and what consumers are willing to pay.

Those of us in Indie and Small Press businesses are familiar with some of these, because of Amazon and other sources. There’s a sweet spot for prices on e-books. It ain’t $14.95 US plus tax, even for a title that works out to 600 pages in print (mass market paper back). Readers are wary of free books, although they’ll nibble, and seem happiest between $1.99 and 4.99 (US). More than that unless you are a major, well-known author seems to reduce sales, although I’ve seen a lot of back and forth on that and my own numbers are, let’s just call them Odd.

Read more

To Swag or not to Swag?

Oops, threads got crossed! Sorry ’bout that.

If you go to an event, should you bring author swag? If so, what should you bring? This year, the questions are a bit moot, since Cons and signings are being cancelled and postponed all over the place, and virtual swag . . . I guess you could send a file with a bookmark people could print out, fold, and use.

First – does the place allow swag, especially if you are not a featured author? Some places have a “small items from non-official guests” table or corner where you can leave business cards, postcards, and things like that. [You DO have a business card, yes? No? Why not? Get a file of one of your book covers, take it to Ye Copy Shop, and have them make two-sided business cards with the cover on one side and your info on the other. Around here, 400 runs $70 or so.] If the Con or meeting doesn’t allow that, then don’t do it. I’d still have some cards, so that if it comes up in conversation and the other person asks, you have a card on hand. Read more

Story from the Start: Denouement

So the action/emotional tension/suspense reaches its peak, the detective reveals the murderer or imposter, the hero emerges from the smoking remains of the bad guy’s lair with only a few scratches (and the girl on his arm), the heroine politely but soundly cuts the predatory Other Woman to win her True Love for herself, the cowboys capture the rustlers before they can get the herd into Old Mexico . . .

Story’s over, right?

Well, if it is a short story, it can be. If you are writing a serial and your readers know that in advance, it can be. If it is something longer, and you drop the curtain here, your readers are going to feel cheated. Read more

Story from the Start: Boss Fight!

OK, sorry. The final confrontation between the protagonist(s) and antagonist(s). Everything in the novel has been leading to this point, where the forces of good and the forces of evil collide. I’m going to give you two excerpts, since one leads to the other.

Read more

Various and Sundry

First, times are a changin’ as we all have seen. This can be good for writers, this can be bad for writers, this can mean we’re swearing off any book with cove-copy that starts with “after a microbiology lab accident went terribly wrong . . .”

What are some of the things indie writers have seen? Well, print is having trouble, both Print on Demand (PoD) and tradpub, because paper supplies as well as shipping are so off kilter. With most book stores closed, it means that browsing is mostly on line now.

Read more

Story from the Start: Getting to the Peak

So, we are drawing close to the final confrontation between the forces of Good and Evil, or perhaps in this case, less bad and really evil. We have our nomadic-for-the-moment horse herders, our sophisticated-at-a-price urban dwellers, and a system built on something that the horsemen (and one hopes the readers) consider to be beyond the Pale. We also have something lurking in the background that needs to come to the foreground in order to bring the story to a conclusion: the river that we saw in the very first excerpt. Read more

Story from the Start: Villains

This isn’t really an appropriate topic for Easter Sunday (Western church calendar), or maybe it is. It is about evil that leads to justice.

At last, we get to the guy in the suit, top-hat, and cape, twirling his black mustache and gloating over the . . . Oops.

Some bad guys get to do that. Alas, the rest of the doers of evil deeds tend to be a little less obvious about who they are, and have more complicated motives than getting Pretty Polly to marry them for [insert nefarious reason here]. Nor do they tend to gloat the way Auric [Corrected] Goldfinger did. Unless you are writing a true melodrama, in which having characters chew the scenery is part of the fun, and you should go for it with gusto and humor. Read more

Good: Extended Deadline in the US Bad: We Still Have to Pay

Ugly – sorting out if your writing has reached the point that it is a business and not a hobby (for tax purposes.)

If you have a DBA or are registered as an LLC (in other words, if you are a company already) it’s easy – you are a business, and you can skip the rest of this piece.

For the rest of us, it’s a bit trickier. Here’s one writer’s starting point:

Read more