The thinking took some time. Basically i had three books. They were somehow unbalanced. The more i tried to balance them, the longer they got. And the more out of balance.
I took some time out. Some more time out. I spent a lot of time on twitter. Getting retweeted is affirming, no doubt about it, and i enjoyed catching up with people i adore and had forgotten existed.
My head’s like that. Involved in a book, i can forget my own family. Even myself. Reading a good book should be like that, writing them possibly more so.
I did quite a lot of research while i tweeted, figuring out the intricacies of crowd-funding, on demand publishing, and deciding whether the previously only e-publishing model was worth sticking to. Quite simply, it wasn’t.
When i first published The Birthday Dragon, i accidentally took it off public display, not realising Adult (it was adult fiction, not ‘young adult’ or ‘children’s’) meant the same as X rated on the prim US site i was on, and my book was literally only available to those looking for porn. So sales were, to put it mildly, minimal.
It took me nearly 3 months to realise what was going on, and by then it was too late. I’d missed what booksellers call the golden window for sales. The book never sold. People agreed it was wonderful, reviewed it glowingly. Still no sales.
Even today, it’s one of the highest rated books on Smashwords. Out of all books on the site over 100,000 words, it’s still on the front page, admittedly at No 20, but it was published back in 2011. Put in ‘under $2.99’ and it’s number 8.
Currently, if you look at Sci Fi over 100,000 words, it’s number 1. Fantasy over 100k it rates highly, but if ‘under $2.99’ it’s number 1 again. But it isn’t selling. At all. It’s one of those questions – is it me? Or is it Smashwords?
I tried competitions, blogs, tweeting, sacrificing small geeks, edits, and still, no sales. So i gave up. It would be alright when i did Book 2.
Right before publication of Book 2, the person doing the cover art decided not to. Two weeks before publication. It rocked me more than a little. Doing it for free doesn’t mean to me that it’s ok to be unprofessional. I didn’t pillory him on Twitter, which shows control i didn’t think i had. I tried to do some artwork myself, and my graphics tablet blew up.
Mr Whatsit (and some articles i read confirmed the notion) suggested i leave Book 2, do Book 3, and put them both out at once. Maximise sales, give me time to do some artwork myself. Then my landlord at the time served notice.
A new graphics tablet dropped into my lap (via the post, a friend upgraded and sent me theirs), i completed the books, the interstate move (2013) plus three more (1 more in 2013, 2 in 2014) .
Finally settled, i finished off Book 3 and organised the artwork. I did take the nutso artist’s cover off Book 1. For all i knew he was about to demand i did and the cover didn’t match the book, so what the hell.
I had other real life problems. Mr couldn’t manage even the few stairs here. We were supposed to move. Again. Scheduling a book release when i couldn’t promote it seemed nuts, so i put it off. Again.
The move, late 2015, didn’t happen. My car needed a sudden injection of funds, all the moving money, and fortunately the landlord didn’t mind us begging to stay. Never mind, we’ll move in 2016.
Cancer clawed at me, thankfully caught by signs my doctor paid attention to. Not just one cancer scare, but possible tumours in breasts, back, uterus, and brain had my whole attention.
Not just moving was cancelled. My life was. Then it wasn’t. Thankfully they caught everything early, or it was benign, or it wasn’t cancer. I did go through major abdominal surgery, and ended up minus womb and ovaries, which seems a small price to pay for life, but did put paid to moving.
I was off Twitter. It seemed i had nothing to say, or at least nothing i felt like sharing. “My life is fucked, how’s yours?” I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like discussing depression with others. My depression that is, i’ll happily discuss other people’s. (I will go to a psyche, and endure the tears and laughter that make up a talking cure.)
I hit Twitter again. It was lovely, and i cursed myself for a fool for not enjoying my friends. Or for not giving them credit for being whole humans who might actually care about other people. I carefully avoided thinking about the books.
Suddenly, it came to me. The books needed to be a … wtf do you call a four book set? I pretended not to hear the thought for weeks. I did surreptitiously do that research on crowdfunding and print on demand. Under my own radar, while shouting about goddamn fascists on Twitter.
After some Googling and more thought, i decided a quartet was the right name. We were supposed to be moving mid year, so i was thinking seriously about how to schedule moving and books. Then Mr got some good news, the operation he’s been waiting years for is happening this year. So we’re not moving. Again.
And i have no more excuses. Unless the landlord springs the kind of unpleasant surprise every tenant dreads (Guess what? I’ve decided to double the rent/knock down the house and build an apartment block/evict you cos it’s a Leap Year) and i have to move.
My health isn’t good, but it never is. I wrote the books despite that.
So i’ve started splitting them into 4. Gives me 4 books of about 100,000 words. I’m hammering out the chapter summaries, which as the books changed, stupid me had not kept up. Without them, editing the books further is tricky, i can’t see the flow.
Looking at the price of self-publishing books this size, i may have to cut them further, either with editing or cutting them into more books. I’m not sure. Depends on what i want to crowd-fund. My education in that and Print on Demand is cursory, and to be honest, it’s more than a little scary.
Not as scary as real life with the continued demonisation of anyone on welfare – what we in Australia called ‘benefit’ up until the current right wing government decided we were all probably criminals and as ‘welfare’ was already a dirty word thanks to US hatespeech, it worked for them.
Freedom of speech as the USA calls it, and now our government’s borrowing that notion too – they want the right to call anyone non-pinkish coloured a n________. The right to discriminate against brown or black people, against non-Christians and anyone who dares dissent.
Yes, the same LNP government that when Trump declared his ‘Muslim Ban’, crowed, delighted that in their words, someone was copying their policies.
You know the disabled people of Germany were the first to the gas chambers? As the sick, disabled, and aged are called non-profit-making drains on society, as the government (of rich white men and their sycophant women) say they’re going to cut ‘welfare’ to ‘bludgers’, well, real life is a place i really don’t want to be.
As i said on Twitter….
enough of this – with govt war on ppl on welfare, must find way of getting food on table, shouting about politics won’t do it #amwriting
— Queen NomNomDePlume (@stinginthetail) May 1, 2017
Time’s a wasting.
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