The Fear of Long Books

This is something I’ve noticed lately in my time spent in various author places online. There is an almost pathological fear of long books.

I see post after post from people worrying about their word count, that their book is “too long.” I see post after post of people saying “Keep your book short because all long books are unedited pieces of crap and you don’t want to bore your reader!” (Paraphrased.) Many of these posts I see are referring to books in my genre — SFF.

The word counts I’m seeing this about? 150K. 130K. 100K.

*looks at 250K first novel that was extensively edited and also pretty well-received*

It’s really weird to claim that all long books are “unedited”. It’s like there’s this assumption that you can’t POSSIBLY need that many words to tell a story; that if it’s that long, it means you couldn’t cut what was unnecessary.

Sure, there ARE longer works that haven’t been cut down as much as they should have (though to be honest, this usually happens a bit into a trad-pubbed series, when no one dares tell a popular author “No” anymore — see: George Lucas & the prequels). I’m not saying that it never happens; I just think it’s weird to assume it’s ALL that ever happens.

Continue reading The Fear of Long Books

I forgot the bra. Bad Katje.

I’m delaying the release of Stranger Skies in paperback by a month. It was supposed to be out by Halloween, but my editor has found a bunch of things that got missed in the last round of edits, so those need to be fixed before we can release a paperback.

Of course, that means I must also fix the ebooks. That will be happening as soon as I have the full list of edits to be made; I will then be sitting down and doing the print book and all the ebooks in one go. (Read: how to work yourself to death over a few days.)

If you’ve already bought the ebook, then you should get a notice when the updated version is available.

If I’d had the same selling experience since release as I did with Bellica I wouldn’t be concerned about this, but I’ve actually sold four copies of Stranger Skies since releasing it 11 days ago (and one sold via pre-order). Apparently that marketing thing can work.

Hopefully the edits aren’t too major and you won’t notice a thing.

Later today expect to see a vlog of me reading Fifty Shades of Grey and drinking whiskey. No bra on my head. I forgot. I was very tired. Next time.

Pre-order of Stranger Skies now available

Art by Autumn Skye Morrison.

Hey, so, if you didn’t win the giveaway, you can now pre-order the actual book from Gumroad!

Click here to pre-order.

I am also working on setting up a pre-order for the ebook bundle via another service so people without credit cards can get it, but it’s turning out to be a bit more complicated than I thought. It may, indeed, not happen for this book. Sorry, but I’m really swamped, and apparently not technically savvy enough to figure this particular thing out.

On the plus side, as soon as the release date rolls around (October 4th), you’ll be able to get a copy of the book from Kobo, Amazon, the Kat and Wolff e-junkie store, and Tomely! (And Gumroad, of course, and maybe some other places!)

If you do have a credit card, though, you want to get the pre-order — because I’ll be sending you a little something extra along with the ebook bundle. If you pre-order, you’ll also get a full copy of the story “The Murine Invasions” from Kaimana Wolff‘s How to Keep a Human.

The regular Stranger Skies ebook will have a small teaser for How to Keep a Human at the back, but it won’t be a complete story.

Why am I including a story from Wolff’s book? Because the main character of Stranger Skies is based off a character in Wolff’s book, and both stories take place in the loose universe (the universe of the True Woods). I talked to Kaimana about doing some cross-promotion with our stories and she thought it was a great idea, so if you pre-order you get a copy of “The Murine Invasions”.

(The copy will be sent to all pre-order customers separately from the main file you’ll get from Gumroad, and it’ll happen after book release.)

And now, I am getting back to work on the big publishing order we’re putting out.

Winners of the giveaway, check your emails if you haven’t already!

Buying Reviews

Last week I read a bit about John Locke buying reviews in order to hit as many sales as he did on Kindle (which was a million plus — he was the first self-pubbed author to hit the million sales mark, apparently).

I’m not going to get into the details — if you want, you can read Holly Lisle’s blog post, the New York Times article, Karen Woodward’s blog post, the write-up at Three Percent, Julie Ann Dawson’s blog post, and Jane Friedman’s blog post.

My opinion about this can be summed up thus:

  1. If you buy reviews you are an ass.
  2. John Locke is an ass.
  3. Don’t fucking buy reviews; it turns you into an ass.
  4. I swear to gods, some days I just want to smack the world.
  5. Asses.

I am a waffle, and school has never ironed me

It’s not a perfect metaphor. I’m tired, okay.

I’ve been known to waffle about my education. I’ve done everything from Underwater Basket Weaving to Introduction to Finality; from Basic Lupine Urology to Pre-Law. (Yes, two of those are Community episode titles. Guess which ones.) When I finally decided on my BA, I thought I’d reached a point where I wouldn’t waffle anymore. Where I would know what I wanted to study and do it; therefore, choosing my MA should have been easy, right?

Wrong.

A few months ago I was dead-set on an MFA in Writing and Consciousness from CIIS. Just last month it was SFU‘s GLS program. Now I’m going for the same school’s MFA in Publishing.

I, of course, don’t have all the pre-reqs for this program, but I can get them done before it starts next fall. It’s not impossible. It just means I’m looking at going back to school as early as January, which is earlier than planned.

And an MFA in Publishing is, really, quite ideal for me. I run a publishing business and I plan on not only being a niche publisher but also publishing my own books for the foreseeable future. (Read: forever.)

Let’s hope someone’s left me in the iron long enough to become crispy and unyielding. Let me not waffle anymore! Let the liquid batter of waffling cease, and let me become cooked and warm.

I really will stretch this metaphor to death.

Why Bellica is $4.99, and why my other books will be too

Friends! Romans! Countrymen fellow indie authors!

We are in a crisis. We have been selling ourselves short. Pricing our books at $0.99 just so we can get the impulse buys, driving the market down, forcing our fellow authors to do low prices as well just so they can compete.

This is all wrong.

If you’re publishing your book via Kindle you only get $0.3465 of that $0.99. Yeah. They take $0.6435. Sell a hundred copies and you’ve just made Amazon $64.35 and yourself $34.65 for a book that most likely took you a few years to write and countless sleepless nights.

Price it at $2.99 and your royalty jumps to 70% — $2.09 a book, while Amazon makes $0.90. Sell a hundred copies and suddenly you’ve made 209 dollars, while Amazon has made 90.

Which scenario makes more sense, here? Who should be getting the bulk of the money for your book? Amazon, who, yes, provides a valuable service but hasn’t done as much work on your book as you have and will still not promote it for you, or you, who’s written it, gotten it edited, found a cover design, formatted it, advertised it, sweated over it, lost sleep over it, and obsessed about it from conception to completion?

Bellica took me 13 years to complete. Why would I sell myself short? It’s worth $4.99 — hells, it’s worth more than that, but I had to drop the price to stay competitive.

Writing is now my full time job. This means that Bellica will remain that price for ebook format, and the paperback will remain $26.99. This means that The Jade Star of Athering will be $4.99 after the promo period price of $2.99; as will Dead Transgressions, Islands of Fire and Water, and any other novels I produce. Novellas and poetry collections will be slightly lower, but I will never drop my books below the price of $2.99.

Continue reading Why Bellica is $4.99, and why my other books will be too

Oregon is a dangerous place for us — and I’m not talking about dysentery

Oregon has no state tax. This is like a stranger in a van offering candy to us 14%-tax-beleaguered British Columbians: dangerous, but oh so tempting.

Our trip to Seattle got delayed a bit when we decided to stop in Portland. Mom bought shoes (so what else is new?), we both got books, I picked up a pre-loved copy of Destroy All Humans, and then we may have wandered into the Apple store and I may be writing this blog entry on an iPad.

Wait! Before you write me off as just another spoiled white kid, let me elaborate. The iPad is a business expense so we write it off. We’re not just writers, you see: we’re publishers as well. Katje van Loon (autocorrect changed my name to “Kate” — bad iPad! No cookie) writes books published by The Pack Press, run by Mom, and Jana van Loon runs Stars Above, Stars Below Publishing, which puts out Kaimana Wolff’s (ie, Mom’s) novels and poetry. Each house also puts out books by other people and non-profit organizations, and we offer publishing services to those who wish to self-publish.

We’ve nothing against being self-published, but many contests do — and we want to enter those contests. Same deal for many writers’ festivals: your publisher needs to get you in. Not to mention, as a mother-daughter writing team who publishes each other’s books, we have many opportunities to promote each other — which is much easier than promoting oneself tirelessly. Less spammy, too.

Finally, my mother and I trust each other’s judgement in various areas: she’s an accomplished, professional editor, fantastic at in-person social networking, has knowledge of how to do business and understands finances (ie, how to make money), and has years of expertise in several areas, most importantly law.

I have a near instinctual grasp of our modern technology and know how to utilize it to our advantage. I understand Internet social networking and excel at it as much as I fail at face to face. I know InDesign, and I’m good at cover design and book block design.

We’re both dedicated, determined, and we have keen eyes for errors in each other’s works — you’d be amazed at what sneaks past in the first 7 edits/read-throughs. We help each other shoulder the burden of publishing a book on your own — being an indie author is difficult, time-sucking work, and it is not an easy way to make a buck. You’re spending almost every hour of the day working — sometimes for very little return, at least at first.

You want a good, professional book that people will a) take interest in and b) love or at least like? You have to put in the time or money, and it takes a bit.

So, we bought an iPad. It is another tank for our arsenal on the battlefield of the publishing world. We’ve small publishing houses; we need every weapon available.

Hot fresh novel, available on Kindle now!

As I mentioned briefly on Saturday, Bellica is now available for the Kindle.

I ended up pricing it at $7.99, which is a bit lower than the $9.99 I had originally planned on, but still an accurate representation of the novel’s length and, frankly, what I feel I deserve for it. Also, this price was decided upon after extensive market research* by yours truly.

I’m currently also working on the CreateSpace file for a new paperback version of Bellica — one that will have bigger font and more pages. It will also be more widely available. More news on that as it unfolds.

Finally, you’ll notice few posts here and at Gossip Diet. I’m currently unable to type while sitting up and typing while lying down (the only position available to me) takes a lot of time and effort and causes me some pain. Therefore I shall be posting half as much at each blog, because that equals one blogs’ worth of posts, I think.

In the meantime, I have to wait for my back to slowly get better. It’s going slow, because it hates me. And now I hate it just as much.

 

*Extensive market research definition: I ran a poll on Facebook.

Writer Wednesday: Answers needed for a poll!

Bellica is coming out soon, and I need some answers.

I’m planning on keeping it up on the site for free and selling eBook and paperback copies alongside it. I’m a bit iffy on this plan, however, because I do need to pay rent and it would be nice if my writing career could support me. I want people to read my works more than I want money, yes, but I also want food. It’s delicious. And filling.

So I need to know from you, the readers, if this is feasible.

[polldaddy poll=4622124]

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