From time to time, I’m asked whether I think a writer should publish their book as an indie or try to go the traditional route. Depending on who it is, I might temper my response a little. By that, I mean I will tell them the decision is theirs to make. Then I ask them why they consider going the traditional route. Almost every time, the answer is the same: they want to get into bookstores. You know me. So you know my follow-up question is to ask them where the closest bookstore is, when the last time was they were in the store and how many books a year do they buy from there. Almost always, you can see the lightbulb go off over their head as they consider the question. Read more
Posts from the ‘WRITING: PUBLISHING’ Category
Those of us who are writers might want to read The Passive Guy’s description of a problem that arose with Mrs. PG’s books on Amazon. How often do we triple check things we released a year or so ago? I know I haven’t in quite some time, unless there are edits/corrections that I have to upload.
As he puts it: Read more
As pointed out last week, Mad Genius Club has been around for over 10 years, now. This means it’s older than the average career of a fiction writer… and more than twice the lifespan of the average indie writer. The advantage of a group blog is that as writers get burned out, they can take a break or leave, but the group is still here – and thanks to Dave Freer, Sarah Hoyt, and Amanda Green holding down the cornerstones and surviving through it all, this place is still awesome. (Check out their books! Good stuff, and thanks to long careers, they have lots to choose from!)
As the bloggers and commenters have been here a while, the questions start to change. Starting out, the problems are simple, clear, and everybody has them. How do I tell the story in my head? How do I get published? How do I get noticed? But when you’ve been around long enough, you have the problems of success, and the problems of having a career. When and how do I end a series, and how do I minimize the impact to my income, and draw readers to other books? When do I rebrand all of my covers, and rewrite my blurbs? What are the advantages and disadvantages of anthologies, or of going hybrid? How do I get my rights back? When is it time to incorporate? What provisions do I make for a literary trust in my will?
Ah, ghost-story and spook season! And the time for telling creepy and terrifying stories to make everyone nervous and edgy. There are a number of them going around, tales that will make writers twitch, glance over shoulders, and mumble about looking for silver bullets and crucifixes. Read more
When is the best time to release and promote your books? Usually, indie authors look at me and say “Uh, when they’re finished?” or they start thinking about staggered serial releases. But in our wonderful world of not planning releases a year out, there’s an interesting question: when do you release Holiday-themed or seasonal books? We all know the outcry when Christmas decorations appear in the store before Halloween, but is it better to release a Christmas romance before in early November, or early December? Read more
It’s happened before, of course. Three-quarters of the way into a book, it suddenly appears to me as a huge, lifeless pile of words. The ending is not credible. The characters won’t talk to me. I should probably give up even trying to write.
The difference is, in earlier times there were constraints that forced me to go on and finish the book anyway. I usually had a contract. A delivery date. An editor who was expecting a book bearing at least a passing resemblance to the synopsis she’d signed off on.
Not to mention a nice chunk of money to be paid on delivery of the completed manuscript, and a mortgage payment that the bank was going to expect to see no matter how I felt about the matter.
Writing indie has meant flying free of all these constraints, and for the most part I’ve loved it. I’ve been writing faster and more happily than I did back when every word had to be filtered through an editor’s belief about what readers would like.
Two weeks ago I wrote about being derailed and muscling the train back onto the tracks. Then I got sick again, and stopped writing again. And now I’m looking at the manuscript that’s been just lying there limply for nearly five weeks, and I’m seeing a huge lifeless pile of words. I look at my synopsis – my map of how to get to the end – and all I can see is a heap of rocks lying across the road. And the old motivators aren’t there any more. I haven’t promised this book to anyone, nobody’s going to be peeved with me if I throw it away, there’s no guaranteed financial reward for finishing, and thank goodness the mortgage is paid off.
Freedom. If I really believe this project is hopeless, there’s absolutely nothing to stop me from dumping this book and starting a new project? Except – as soon as I think that, the voices of despair switch from “This is a terrible book” to “You don’t have any good ideas.” So evidently they will not be satisfied with anything less than my total defeat. Well, good. At least I know where I am now. I’m not looking at a dispassionate critique of this partial book; I’m looking at the personal demons that want me to stop doing anything at all.
Time to start moving rocks.