Apologies for the longer radio silence, things have been rather hectic.
And it’s not officially done, but here’s a sneak peek at part of the cover for Magpie’s Fall – I’ll be giving my newsletter peeps a more complete version in a bit once it’s done, but it’s exciting to have things moving on it.
That said, part of my lack of posts and whatnot is because I’ve been busy editing and rewriting the aforementioned book. I was actually fairly unsatisfied with my original draft and after I got my notes back from my editor I ended up reworking the first 150 pages or so and then adding an additional 50. Word count ended up increasing by about 20k initially, but I’ve pared it down some by getting rid of a lot extraneous filler sentences. I always end up with a particular phrase or word and use it to death, so at this point I have a running list of overused phrases that I do searches for when I’m done. I get really picky about word echoes – I hate them so much.
But I finally got those edits done and back off to the editor – there are still copy edits and cold reads to be done, but we’re that much closer to being finished and I think I should be able to get this out in December like I’d planned, so that is quite nice. (Wasn’t sure there for a bit, it took me quite a while to really dig into all those changes – it was a very painful process, but I’m much happier with it now.)
It’s a dark book, though. Probably a bit darker than the first (although hopefully the next one will NOT be as dark, so there is a light at the end of the tunnel.) Suffice it to say, living in an underground mine filled with plague victims does not lend itself to niceties.
I’m officially taking this week off from writing – the last few weeks in particular have been very stressful and it’s taken a toll on some of my pain thresholds. (Plus I want to take advantage of some guilt-free anime binging and some gaming, since I stopped all that during the editing process – just not enough spoons to do it all, as the state of my house can attest, so there’s some hardcore decluttering in store for next weekend also.)
Not that it’s been all work, no play – I did manage to go hiking in the Shenandoah Mountains one weekend, and I went to the Maryland Renaissance Festival this past weekend, though it was very crowded and full of yellowjackets.
Like it was a damn yellowjacket convention.
Look, I bought a witchy broom –>
But I’m looking forward to not thinking of much for the remainder of this week – I hardly knew what to do with myself last night, as I’d gotten into the schedule of logging off work and immediately plunging into the manuscript.
I did submit a short story off to an anthology – not sure if it fits the bill though – it’s one of those stories that gets really nice rejections everywhere, but just doesn’t fit? So we’ll see how it goes this time.
Next week? I’ll be continuing my draft of Magpie’s Flight – no ETA on that, though maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get it out by March/April, though we’ll see.
Oh and here – I’m sure everyone’s already seen this, but it’s awesome, so watch it again!
The Cost of Doing Business
Just a quick PSA rant on book piracy and how it affects indie authors: It sucks.
Actually it sucks for traditionally published authors too – the main difference is that with my traditionally published books, I got paid up front, so at least I got SOMETHING out of it. Plus most of the larger publishers now have nice and handy take-down portal sites where I can simply upload an offending link and let them do the grunt work.
In other words, it still sucks but it’s way less time and money out of my pocket.
This is my first go round with the whole indie-pub thing so I’m sure I’m going to make some mistakes and whatnot, especially when it comes to marketing and publicity and just overall trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Which means everything comes out of my pocket and I don’t get paid until the books actually sell.
And I know the old argument. Hey if it’s on the web, it should be for free. Or it doesn’t cost anything to publish an ebook, so blah blah blah. Okay then. Let’s break this down a bit for the costs of Magpie’s Song, shall we?
Editorial Services: $1500
Cover/Formatting Services: $900
Additional Formatting: $140
Publicist: $2500 Wasn’t sure about this, but figured I’ve been out of the publishing loop for a while and it couldn’t hurt to have someone do some of the legwork for me. I probably will not be doing it for the next two books simply because I think it could be better used for marketing, but eh. You live, you learn.
Ads: $500 (so far) A crapshoot. I got a whopping 10 sales with one particular ad, so that’s a bit iffy. But it’s always a gamble. What worked on the last book won’t work on this book. Or this week. Or because of some other reason. I’m less concerned about the sales and more concerned with exposure. People won’t buy/read it if they don’t know about it. I’ll be modifying my next ad if I feel like doing another one. I could also just flush the money down the toilet.
Professional Reviews: $500 (so far). This is a bit of a sticky wicket because paying for reviews is one of those things that sort of pisses me off. I mean the money I spent on NetGalley (thank you SFWA membership!) is well spent because that’s a nice way to get readers looking at it and reviewing on GoodReads or what have you. But trying to get an indie pubbed book looked at by other places is a bit more difficult – many places will either not review them at all, or only for a fee. (So, I skipped out on Kirkus, went for RT. PW is free but still hanging at 10 weeks so who knows if they’ll do it or not. Crapshoot either way as far as their actual reviews go.) But even so – you’re paying about $450-$600 PER review and with a rather finite amount of money I’m trying to go for where my base audience is.)
Setting up for Print books on IS/CS: $90? (I don’t remember). I do remember dropping about $150 on a box of books and about $100 in postage to mail out physical copies to various reviewers. Let’s call that $300.
So we’re up to about $6340. And that’s without selling a goddamned thing. Now, yes, I make 70% of each sale on Kindle, but that’s about $2.50 a book, so okay that’s cool. Oh wait. TAXES. Guess who’s gonna have to drop 40% of each sale to taxes. (Assuming I turn a profit. *laughs hysterically*)
Oh, and the next book is supposed to come out in December. Already spent about $2k on that as well. So now we’re up to $8300 I’ve spent this year just to self pub a couple of books.
All this and that doesn’t even begin to cover the number of hours I’ve spent writing/rewriting/editing I’ve had to do. I’ve lost more weekends than I care to tell when I could have been hanging with my family/watching anime/playing video games/traveling. Which is hard enough when you’re healthy. It’s a shit-ton more exhausting when you suffer from chronic pain and you’d rather be doing pretty much anything else than slogging through another rewrite. (Yes, I am whining. Sorry.Magpie’s Fall is due to my editor on Friday and I’m going to miss that deadline and be forced to spend all of Labor Day weekend working. Call a wahmbulance.)
So when my sales are so-so and yet I see my book was pirated within 2 days of publication with 1000’s of downloads, it absolutely chaps my hide a bit. How did it get stolen? *shrugs* Maybe off of NetGalley? Maybe someone just bought it and ripped it off. I don’t know. I don’t care.
I’m not even going to do anything about it, to be honest. I don’t have the energy. And frankly every take down I’ve ever sent has just resulted in it returning a few days later somewhere else.
I mean, I’ve done pretty much everything I could to make sure it’s available in all the formats I could manage. It’s even available on OverDrive – which means if you have a library card (usually free!) you can request your library to order it if they subscribe to the OverDrive database. Which means you can read it. FOR FREE! (Except the library actually buys a copy, so yay I get paid!)
And yes, I realize if you actually use libraries you probably aren’t pirating books, but, you know.
So here’s the thing. I get why people do it. I don’t know many people who haven’t downloaded SOMETHING. A song. An album. A book. A movie. It happens. But don’t lie to yourself insisting it’s a victimless crime and that you never would have bought XYZ anyway so the creator isn’t losing anything.
Sure I am. I’m out $2.50 every time someone downloads it.
Anyway, rant over. I’m not going to try to stop you, but if you’re going to do that? At least pay it forward in some way. Leave a review on Amazon/GoodReads/etc. Tell other people about it. Draw some fanart. Make some buzz.
Don’t get me wrong – I’d much rather be rolling in money for my work, but I’ll take what I can get. I just want to tell stories.
Buy my book.
Magpie’s Song: Happy Release Day!
So excited to finally have Magpie’s Song out and in the wild!
I’m still out and about in Moab (which if you follow me on social media at all, you probably know quite well as I’ve been uploading a fair amount of pictures/video of some of the off-roading stuff.) Internet is still rather sparse, and today I’ll be hiking around somewhere so if I don’t respond to emails or tweets or whatnot in a timely fashion it’s because the signal is so bad – but I will as soon as I can!)
In the meantime, LilyElement is doing a giveaway on her blog, so if you’d like a chance to win a copy of Magpie’s Song, head on over that way and take a chance.
If you’ve already read it/plan on reading it, I’m just going to ask that you take a few moments and throw up a review on Amazon (or wherever you bought it from.) Reviews are the name of the game when it comes to indie pubbing as far as visibility goes and I would greatly appreciate it. (And if not reviews, then spreading the word in any fashion you so choose.)
Haven’t bought it yet? Want to buy it? Links below!
Amazon (Ebook and Trade paperback)
Everywhere else (ebook)
The trade is also available on the CreateSpace store as well as B&N, Indigo, Book Depository and pretty much everywhere else!
Oh, and here’s a little playlist with some songs I was listening to when I was writing Magpie’s Song.
So in about 6 hours I’ll be on a plane headed out west for a short getaway to Moab.
It’s a family thing – Jeeping and hiking and probably melting into a canyon somewhere along the way.
It’s an awesome bit of planning on my part really – what better way to celebrate the release of Magpie’s Song than to ensure I’m in the middle of nowhere with limited internet?
Well anyway, yes. Tuesday is the date – I am hoping to at least get a couple of posts and social media things scheduled but to be honest, the way things have gone this week, I have my doubts. I sort of envision the next few days will be less Fury Road and something closer to the peyote scene from Young Guns.
You know. This one:
Yeah. One can hope, maybe.
Eh. I’ll post some pictures up on Instagram – it should be a really good time – I’ve never really been to the midwest except for Vegas a few times, and I’m not sure casinos really count. So I’m excited to see what there is to see.
And speaking of WTF, I apologize in advance for any issues with this website. Something happened with the back end yesterday and I attempted a restore but it crashed part way through and now I’m missing images from posts and pages and fuck all. I spent about 3 hours today trying to get it back together, but should you stumble across a post or a page that is clearly in need of some attention, let me know so I can try to fix it. No idea what happened, but it’s a mess.
I had been hoping to set up a Rafflecopter to do a book giveaway on Tuesday and if I can get that figured out while I’m traveling, I will – but I’ve already spent too much time looking at code and my brain is fried so I’m going to give it up for now. (Psst – > if you’re on my mailing list, your chances of winning will be higher than if you are not….)
Oh, but hey – Amazon currently has the paperback version of Magpie’s Song up on sale, so if you wanted to buy a hard copy, now is the time.
Between all that nonsense and my AC dying and turning the house into a mini inferno (good desert training? Maybe? At least it will be a dry heat and not the armpit that is Northern Virginia in the summer) I’ve gotten about 2 hours of sleep in the last 3 days and I am running on empty. (But I can sleep on the plane I guess…)
In other news, I got my edits back for Magpie’s Fall and I’ve got about a month to turn it into something that actually reads like a book and less like word vomit, but as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, this is apparently how I do things. Write crap, polish into something shiny and chrome. Rinse, repeat. Rewrite maybe. Not the most efficient, but it is my MO so that’s just how it goes.
Also, after a 2 month hiatus, Fox & Willow is back online – Aimo and I really appreciate all our readers giving her the time needed to heal from the tendinitis and we look forward to continuing this story. I’ve got the script drafted for Chapter 4 – fair warning it’s going to be very sad. I’m sorry.
Witness me, yo.
Unicorn Fezzes and Other Assorted Weirdness
So first off, I’m really bad at con recaps. Usually because by the time I get around to thinking about writing them, I’ve forgotten everything but the highlights.
Which I think tends to happen at most cons in general – you meet so many people and have so many conversations and things happen and then it’s all a big blur anyway.
That being said as a first time attendee to Necon, I really enjoyed it. I’m mostly an introvert and I did do a bit of wallflowering for the first couple of days. Con sizes tend to have interesting dynamics – the really big ones are overwhelming because there are SO many people, but on the other hand, it’s really easy to sort of blend in and do your own thing. You lose that ability to hide with the smaller cons, plus in this case, it’s the first time I’ve been to a con where everyone seemed like part of an extended family. Sometimes it feels intrusive to wander into that, even if I actually did know a number of people attending.
(I did have a fatigue flare-up for a good chunk of Friday, but that’s another post – I’ve got some thoughts on Spoonie writers that I think might be worth discussing later…)
At any rate, it wasn’t until the second evening and a late night round of Cards Against Humanity that I actually felt like I was getting into the groove. And then my panel the next morning. Never mind that I have no idea HOW I got onto a panel, but in either case, it’s was nice to be included as a first-timer.
Which brings me to the panel itself – it was a typical sort, and the topic was about writing a series. Which given that my first series/trilogy has been out for a while was a little awkward, since I don’t really talk about it that much these days. My initial goal had really been to talk about my NEW series, but that was never brought up – there just wasn’t time and I was specifically asked about Abby.
And while I haven’t been to any cons for quite some time – I haven’t talked about the Abby books at ALL. Aside from reader questions on Facebook, or whatever – it hasn’t really been much of a point of discussion. In some ways it’s a bit sad because I’ve moved on from them – though I will say some of the topics of the panel really made me miss it. The Abby books were fun – silly, smutty, ridiculous and amusing, even with the more tragic bits worked in. (And yeah, now I really want to go back – the story isn’t completely over and I think there’s at least one more grand adventure awaiting.)
But Necon is more of a horror-writers con – so my books probably hadn’t been on anyone’s radar, really. (Unlike all my previous RWA/RT/etc type cons.) But in either case, it was nice to revisit some of the reasons as to what I wrote and why I wrote it.
Ah, but then I had to open my mouth about that one particular character that everyone either loves or detests.
Which is Phin, of course.
I had been trying to make the point that as far as heroines go, Abby was mostly normal – she didn’t have a destiny, etc – she was basically a regular person who’d had some bad luck, trying to survive in a world full of crazy magical beings – the elves, the angels, the tiny unicorn masturbating in her underwear drawer…
And then suddenly I remember I’m on a panel with Craig Shaw Gardner – who I started reading when I was like 11 years old and Jesus Christ now I’m next to him talking about the sexual proclivities of unicorns.
But then, you know. You gotta own that shit. Because of course I figured it would blow over at that point since it’s probably not the typical sort of horror-con topic. Everyone would most likely just nod and go “Ah. You’re that sort of writer.” And I would be forever shunned into the pervy bestiality corner.
But then someone in the audience had to go and ask just how unicorns masturbate.
Which I answered.
I’m not sure what sort of impression I’d hoped to leave at Necon, but I guess I made enough of one to warrant awarding me a coveted Necon fez (with a unicorn patch on it, no less. ) I have no idea whose idea it was and I’m pretty sure I don’t WANT to know. But, uh – THANK YOU.
I probably didn’t help things much by cross stitching a Whatever Bitch unicorn while I was there as a gift for a fellow writer. (Should I go back next year, I plan on making several projects ahead of time and putting them into the charity auction.)
At any rate, the fez is on the grand piano as pictured above, next to the whiskey-guzzling Phin. As you do.
Is there more? Of course there is, but that’s about all I can manage for the moment – I made a ton of new friends while I was there, so thanks to everyone who made me feel welcome and I hope to be back next year.
Maybe with less unicorns.