Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What next?

Long time, no blog. Last week was hell at the day job, so I didn’t have as much free time to blog or do much of anything else online. We had a nasty lightning strike at work (the joy of living in Florida) that fried our phone lines, killed our network server and generally wreaked havoc with everything else. As the closest thing to an IT person they have, it somehow landed on me to oversee a lot of the repairs, and as such I was stuck at the office more than usual. Good for the paycheck, bad for the writing career. But it seems to finally be winding down now, so I’m trying to get back in the groove of things.

Now that Destined has been out for a little over a month, I’m starting to think about what book to work on next. I know I still need to keep up with the marketing and promotion, because let’s face it, sales aren’t stellar yet. I get a couple a week on Kindle, a couple a month in paperback and Nook, and have no idea yet what my sales via Smashwords (iBooks, Sony, etc.) are. It’s still not on Kobo because of some backlog they have, which means anyone with a Kobo reader is stuck either waiting indefinitely or buying the ePub directly from Smashwords and uploading it manually to their reader. Not optimal, but I guess it’s better than not being able to get the book at all?

Anyway, I realize that sales take time. Getting the word out about a new book without a marketing department backing you up is tough. I don’t have the budget for splashy ads everywhere, so I’m relying mostly on reviews, which are good so far, but not yet plentiful. I can be patient, though, and wait. My Facebook page, which was stuck at 24 likes a few weeks ago, has now jumped to 186 and counting, thanks to an ad I placed there. Now if only likes would translate to sales, I’d be a happy girl. Patience…

So, while I work on my patience (never my strong suit, sadly), I’m turning my thoughts to the next best marketing tool: releasing more books. I have two completed novels still unreleased, one that’s almost completed, and a couple that are barely started. (One of which is a sequel to a completed book.) One of the completed books is going to be next up, but I have yet to decide which.

The first, which I was originally sure was going to be Book #2 for me, is a light mystery: think Janet Evanovich meets Medium. It’s funny with a dash of romance, and may even become a series. I was nearly done with my first editing pass, however, when I decided I really wanted to add another character to it. The main character needed a best friend to talk to, and up until now all she’d had was her parents and sister. Adding a brand-new person into an already-finished book isn’t going to be a quick fix, so I think I got a little frustrated by that. Another issue I have with the book (still untitled because I suck at coming up with those) is that it’s too short. Though I suppose for a mystery, 65,000 words isn’t that short, but Destined was about 89,000, and anything shorter than that just doesn’t feel long enough to me. Adding in the new friend will give me extra words, so that should help some. We’ll see what happens.

Unfortunately, while I was starting the add-a-friend project, my attention began to wander from it to my other completed book, Bloodstone, which is the first in an Urban Fantasy series and has the opposite problem: it’s too freaking LONG. At one point, it was over 200,000 words. It’s actually my first novel, written about a year before Destined, which is probably why it’s so bloated. Years ago I managed to cut it down some, but it’s still over 170,000. It needs some serious hacking and slashing before it’s publishable (I’d like to get it down to 100k). The only thing that’s going to get it cut down to that degree is removing an entire storyline, and that’s not going to be easy. That said, right now it’s the book that I’m more excited about editing, so that’s where my attention has been focused. I was doing pretty good until I got to the first candidate for major cuttage: a love interest that could easily wait until a later book to be introduced, or never introduced at all. He’s not the main guy in the story, so his presence creates a kind of triangle, which is pretty overdone lately, so it might be best to chop him out for good. Logically, I know if I do this, I can shave down the word count significantly and possibly even make the story better. Problem is, writing isn’t always logical. You get attached, and I’m finding it hard to cut him out. For now, I’m going to read ahead and see if there’s anything else that could go instead, despite knowing deep down that he’s my best option. He isn’t central to this book’s plot, and in the end he might even be a detriment to it, adding one too many storylines for people to keep track of. Cutting him makes sense. I just wish it weren’t so hard.


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