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Showing posts from January, 2016

Pre-order: yea or nay?

For some time now, Amazon has offered self-publishing authors the possibility to have their books available for pre-ordering before publishing. The advantage is, for example, the potential higher ranking on the publishing day, as all the pre-sales are counted on that day. Smashwords offers the same option, too, for the books distributed through its channels. I have now tried the option twice, so it’s time to sum up my thoughts.
The first book I had available for pre-order was A Warrior for a Wolf that came out in November. It’s the fifth book in the Two-Natured London series, so I figured my readers might be interested in pre-ordering the book. Especially, since I had recently uploaded the series on Smashwords and other vendors, and the books were selling fairly well there.
You can set the publishing date as far as a year on Amazon, but as I had everything ready, the cover, and the edited and formatted manuscript, I was a tad impatient and set the date only a week from uploading. (If…

Letting a lesser character take over

Everyone who has read or written – or both – a long series knows that alongside the main characters there are lesser characters that appear every now and then, but who don’t really push the story forward. They are necessary, but they don’t require or merit much attention. They appear often enough to have names and descriptions, but they get less page time than the trusted best friends who help the main characters achieve their goals.
But occasionally these lesser characters grow larger than their original role. Maybe something interesting happens to them in the side-lines, or they show up so often that they become proper side characters. And sometimes, they grow into main characters.
That happened with a character in my Two-Natured London series. DS Adrian Moore appeared in the second book, Warrior’s Heart, and has shown up in pretty much every book since. I intended him to remain in the background. He is human in the world of vampires and wolf-shifters and his role was to reflect th…

Another point of view

I’m partial to the subjective, ‘close’ third person point of view in my novels: the reader sees what the character sees and feels, and not much else. Since I write romances, I usually show the action through the eyes of two main characters – the star-crossed lovers – although the style would allow me to use a wider range of characters too. I especially like to show the action through the eyes of the antagonist, a device I’m yet to use in my Two-Natured London series where it would fit well.
As a reader, I’m not as particular. The third person objective point of view, the omniscient narrative where the narrator knows more than the characters, is interesting to read, even if it’s seldom used in modern literature anymore, though particularly well done in Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel by Susanna Clarke. And first person narrative can be fun or intense, depending on the genre. There’s something very intimate about not knowing more than the character does, which is probably why it works s…

Not so good publishing year

Last year was my fourth as an independent author. I enjoyed it as much as before, but the results of my toiling weren’t as good as they have been in previous years. In short, in 2015, for the first time, I didn’t earn enough with the book sales to cover the expenses of publishing them.
The reason for the poorer year-end result is a combination of dwindling sales and slightly bigger expenses. Book sales have been dropping steadily since I started publishing, and even though I have many more books out, the combined sales aren’t even close to the numbers they were when I published my first book in 2012.
In June, my sales cut to half for no reason that I can see. At the same time, Amazon changed the system whereby it paid for books in its Select system – per pages read instead of per books read. While the new system is fairer than the earlier, for my books it meant that my earnings per book halved. So I was earning less as well as selling fewer books.

I compensated for that by taking the…

A good reading year

Retrospectives are more traditional at the end of the year than at the beginning, but here’s one anyway. I had a very good reading year last year—both numbers and contents wise. After publishing my first book in 2012, my reading dwindled, as I felt vaguely guilty if I wasn’t constantly writing. Reading twenty books a year was an achievement. But in 2015, I managed to read 58 books, a return to normal.
Goodreads Reading Challenge helpfully keeps track of everything I read, provided that I remember to add each book in the list when I start and finish them. I pledged to read fifty books last year, which I surpassed by eight books. According to their statistics, I read 22,954 pages, 396 on average. The shortest book I read was Brighter than the Sun by Darynda Jones in 115 pages, and the longest was Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb in 768 pages. Of the books I read, the most popular among the Goodreads’ readers was Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier, which was read by over 70,000 readers, and the least po…