Every once in a while, someone will tout the benefits of going with a small or really small press, rather than either scaling the Big 5 wall or going purely indie. So, what is it like from the small press’ end?
From Richard Charkin at Mensch Publishing:
Lesson 1. Finding the right book is by far the most important thing, but getting the small things right is vital and unbelievably hard work. . .
Lesson 3. Treat your suppliers with respect. I’ve taken a policy decision to pay cash owed into a freelancer’s account the same day I receive the invoice. My cash flow is important but respecting other people’s cash flow generates goodwill, and better relationships are vital for a small enterprise—perhaps for big enterprises too.
In unintended contrast, is the following…
What do you do when two series decide to get friendly with each other?
One of the problems with spending January wrestling alligators instead of writing is that it left my muse free to plot in the shadows… and she has a nasty sense of humor. Read more
I should know; I flunked out of rocket science as a major, but I manage to do okay at writing blurbs!
Consider the following a basic primer in blurb writing; I am no master or guru, but while all my author friends are putting out their 5th or 15th story, I am putting out my 35th blurb attached to it. And with enough practice, you can get skilled at something. Read more
I spent some time on Saturday in a large plastic water-tank (about 6000 gallons) – A tank I had inadvertently put a crack into, and was now trying to weld. The tank has been used for at least 20 years to pump muddy dam water uphill to allow garden irrigation pressure – so it had more than a token amount of silty mud in it, and we couldn’t drain the last of the water out.
We tried leverage and to use a suction cup glass transporter to pull the edges of the crack into alignment – but alas, it didn’t handle the convex surface well, and it required more force than the suction could handle. So it had to be dealt with from the inside. Read more
What will 2019 hold for authors and publishers? Change. What sort of change? Ah, there’s the rub… Read more
This week, in between more amusing activities involving a five-year-old on a trampoline and a suddenly mobile baby trying to eat the Christmas tree decorations, I’ve been adding front and back matter to A Revolution of Rubies in preparation for formatting and publishing. Usually I put a teaser for the next book in series at the back, but this time there isn’t a next book in series. I could put the start of the Regency fantasy that’s up next, or the first chapter of the upcoming series that’s kind of a spin-off from this one… or I might do something completely different.
I’ve noticed that a lot of books now have a list of Book Group Questions at the end. I can see the benefit from the publisher’s point of view – getting a book picked up by a discussion group has to be great for sales – but most of the questions seem to be written by literary types who are all about symbolism and subtext and not at all interested in storytelling and having fun. So I had a crack at creating my own BGQ’s for A Revolution of Rubies. And concluded that I’m no good at this; most of these questions are only fun before you’ve read the book. Oh, well. I guess I’ll put a teaser for Salt Magic at the end of the book, after all. Meanwhile, enjoy:
1. Thalia and the rest of the Center for Applied Topology have been sent to Europe to ingratiate themselves in diplomatic circles so that they can help bug the homes and offices of the diplomats. What could possibly go wrong with turning a bunch of topologists loose among diplomats? What couldn’t go wrong?
2. Would you steal a woman’s borrowed rubies in order to get access to her niece’s paranormal abilities? Wouldn’t you even wonder about the wisdom of provoking someone who can become invisible and walk through walls?
3. If a foreign agent and a woman with serious skills in card manipulation walk into Casino Barcelona, who’s going to have to borrow cab fare home?
4. Lensky flatly forbids Thalia to try using her paranormal abilities in certain contexts. More than once. Whatever could have given him the illusion this would work? Will the handcuffs do it?
5. A Revolution of Rubies takes place in Paris, Barcelona, and the imaginary Central Asian country of Taklanistan. Talk about these places from Thalia’s point of view, with particular attention to the various forms of chocolate-enhanced snacks available in each one.
A week ago I finished the first draft of what I’m provisionally calling A Trail of Dragon Scales, and this time I’m doing something a little bit different after that. The first couple of days went as usual: a euphoric sense of accomplishment, slight mystification about why nobody is having a parade for such a fine fellow as I am, the dawning realization that we don’t actually have any champagne… After a few days of trying not to break an arm patting myself on the back, usually I pull up my socks and get started on the next book.
But if you count Dragon Scales – and I do, because it doesn’t appear to need any structural editing, just the usual reading and re-reading for minor fixes – I currently have four completed books in the publication queue. Even I can’t create a sense of urgency about finishing another one in the next couple of months. And the next book isn’t helping out with that, either: there’s this one major theme and resolution floating around in my head, surrounded by huge gaping bubbles of nothing where the rest of the plot ought to be.
And, you know, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Cookies to bake, grandchildren to spoil, all that good stuff.
So I made an Executive Decision: any time I’ve got four books waiting for proofreading and covers and formatting, I’m taking a month off.
That worked fine for the week of babbling idiocy that frequently follows a prolonged writing push, but I started getting twitchy yesterday and revised the plan. Okay, for the rest of the month I will spend half an hour each day fishing around in my subconscious for the rest of that missing plot, and I will do… something… about marketing and promotion every day. Follow up on some of those programs that are recommended for tracking sales or picking keywords or whatever, evaluate some promotion sites, learn how to do Amazon ads. Whatever. I’m just trying to tame the general topic, which right now looks to me like a writhing mass of tentacles straight out of Cthulhu, into… well, at least into a collection of subtopics that can be addressed one at a time. Each of which will, most likely, also look like a writhing mass of tentacles, but you have to start somewhere, right? Read more