Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The Business Rusch: Sneaky Growth

Written By: Kristine Kathryn Rusch - Feb• 15•12

The Business Rusch: Sneaky Growth

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

 

My website crashed just over a week ago, through no fault of my own. My ISP had a catastrophic server meltdown that took more than 36 hours to fix.

I had a startling realization in those 36 hours. This website has become an important part of my business.

Now, to many of you, that’s a well, duh. You’ve been coming here faithfully every Thursday for nearly three years. Some of you come for the free fiction on Monday, and the novel excerpt that appears in the middle of the month, and the recommended reading list. Many of you show up every time I make a short post or put up an announcement.

I appreciate that.

I didn’t really realize, however, how big this website had grown until it disappeared. Let me explain.

I’ve had a website for more than fifteen years. I got my first one while I still edited The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, a job I quit at the end of 1996, although my issues of the magazine continued to appear for the first half of 1997.  I don’t remember what promoted me to get the website. I do recall writing an editorial about it, and having a reader correct me about the proper way to write down my website’s URL. I had no clue how it all functioned back then.

Now we call what I had a static website. It simply informed people who I was, what I did, and what books I had published. Not too many people had websites back then. Not too many people were on what we called “the worldwide web” back then either. Websites weren’t all that important.

Over time, I changed service providers. I expanded the site a bit. I got a lot of volunteer help designing the site, and keeping it up, which was really, really beyond me. Web hosting was expensive, so I hired a nice little service out of Seattle to handle it for me.

My website crashed once every quarter at least, but so did everyone else’s. What irritated me then was that my main e-mail ran through my site, and when the site crashed, so did the e-mail. I really didn’t care about the website disappearing, but a day without e-mail was worse than a day without sunshine.  Most of my business came through my e-mail, even all those years ago, so the silence was deafening.

Then I switched to the current provider, and while the site is hard to get to during maintenance, it’s rarely down for more than ten minutes. Until this past weekend.

And that’s when I realized how much things had changed.

When I designed the new site several years ago, I wanted it to run like a magazine, with regular features and reliable commentary. What I thought I would do and what I’ve actually done are very different things. The only thing remaining from my early vision is the Recommended Reading List.

The Business Blog came out of The Freelancer’s Survival Guide, which I wrote on my blog during the worst of the recession to help people whose layoffs forced them to freelance. Freelancing is hard, and I didn’t want them to fail when they had no safety net. The Guide is still on this site for free, and you can get the book as well. (Be warned, I’m currently updating parts of it. The second edition will be out later this year.)

I started the free fiction  a year ago Thanksgiving, and enjoy doing that. Plus it gives me incentive to put my backlist at the top of the work priority list so that I don’t repeat stories.

Weirdly enough, e-mail isn’t nearly as important as it used to be. I can reach almost all of my e-mail contacts through Facebook or Twitter or (heaven forbid!) the phone. It’s easier now than ever for my business colleagues to reach me. I’m not just relying on one tool there.

But the website isn’t static any more. More than 3,000 people a day come here most days, and significantly more on Thursday.  I am running that magazine that I wanted to run, and through the donations that I get on this blog, I’m funding it as well.

In the last fifteen years, my website went from “oh, yeah, I have a website too,” to the main way that my friends, fans, and colleagues interact with me online. It is, stunningly enough, the centerpiece of my writing business.

I knew that, but I didn’t know that. I think somewhere in my head, it was still the static website of the 1990s.

My business had grown in an unexpected manner, and I hadn’t even realized how big it had gotten.

What that means is that the service I bought from my ISP is much too limited for something of this importance. I need to move away from the cheapest service to one that gives me daily back-ups, a mirrored site (if I can find it), a rebuild, and more importantly, I need to back-up off-site regularly which I hadn’t been doing.

Before the crash, the last off-site backup I had done was in November, and then only because I was updating my word press theme. I have to change my habits, but more than that, I have to change my way of thinking.

My website is more than a promotional tool. It’s now an integral part of my business, and I must treat it that way.

What I’ve experienced here is something I’ll call “sneaky growth.” Most growth isn’t dramatic at all. It just happens, and we flow with it, making small accommodations along the way, but never really considering what that means.

Sneaky growth is the easiest to deal with and in some ways, the hardest to deal with.  Generally speaking, improper growth can kill a business. All good businesses predict their annual growth, and most businesses miss.

Most businesses miss by a small margin on their estimates and no one thinks anything of it. But if you routinely read stock reports (and sadly, I do), you realize that when a business misses its growth projection by too much or too little, the stock price tanks.

That’s right. You understood me. If the business didn’t grow as much as predicted, the stock price goes down. We all expect that. But if a business grew more than predicted, the stock price also goes down. Why? Because rapid and unexpected growth kills more businesses than an unexpected loss.

This is a hard concept to understand, but Dean and I lived it when we were doing Pulphouse Publishing.  We had a growth plan when we started the business. Our first product, the hardback magazine, was a limited edition, set at 1200 copies. I recall doing our first projected profit-and-loss statement on the dining room table. We figured we’d sell maybe 200 copies of the first book, and the growth would be slow. So we did all our finances based on that.

Toward the end of the evening, I asked Dean to pencil out what would happen if we sold the entire run. He laughed, and said, “We’ll make a fortune.”

We did sell out the run before it was published, and had a waiting list for all of our books. And while we did make a fortune, we also spent a fortune plus some. The problem was pretty simple: our expenditures came first. The money came 90 days after the books got shipped to market.

We started that business in the hole, and we never really recovered. That we actually built the business from that mistake was both a good and a bad thing. It was good in the sense that we learned a lot, produced a lot of good books, and wouldn’t be where we’re at now without that experience. It was bad in the sense that we paid for it and paid for it and paid for it, long after we closed the doors. The amount of money that we lost on Pulphouse Publishing is staggering by today’s dollars. It was really staggering then.

All because we grew too fast—and we didn’t plan for it.

We’ve been on guard against rapid growth ever since then, and now whenever we start a business (and we’ve started a few since Pulphouse), we plan for no-growth, too-much growth, and not-quite-enough growth, as well as desired growth.

Most writers expect too much growth when they start. Last week, I covered how writers take on employees much too early, often in anticipation of a growth that might never happen.Those writers will never make a living at writing, because their expenses are too high for their actual income—and will always be that way.

There are other ways that writers expect too much growth. In fact, most writers publish one book and expect it to sell either a million copies and/or make them a million dollars. When it doesn’t do that, the writers get upset and quit.

That expectation is why so many writers constantly promote their works. These writers never do the math. They never think about the fact that they can’t reach their million readers by advertising or blogging or doing interviews. They can reach their million readers over years in a slow-growth method, if those writers write more than one book per year.

It’s pretty simple. People get tired of a single product and they lose interest in it. Or they were never interested at all.  But if you offer more than one product, then there’s more to tempt them. And once they’ve bought one thing—and consumed it (in our case, read it)—then they’re likely to become repeat customers.

James Patterson and Nora Roberts did not become repeat New York Times bestselling writers by selling to a new and different bunch of readers with each book. Patterson and Roberts (and every other bestselling writer that you’ve heard of) have a core readership that expands with each book.

I have more than 100 of Roberts’ novels in my house—and that’s not her entire output because I don’t read everything she writes. Dean has at least 30 Patterson books, maybe more, and he doesn’t read everything Patterson writes. I don’t read Patterson (except the one book Dean made me read) and he doesn’t read Roberts (except the one book I made him read), and I doubt either one of us will change.

But I’m one of Roberts’ core readers and Dean’s one of Patterson’s. And every day, some other reader picks up one of their books, likes it, then searches out both the new releases and the back-list.

That’s how writers grow a readership. Not by doing ads. (How many of you bought Patterson’s latest book based on the Nook ad that he did? If any of you did, was it because you were a core reader and were startled to realize that he had a book out? I can’t imagine that ad brought Patterson new readers. However, I suspect the ad brought the Nook new purchasers, and that’s what it was designed for. That’s why Barnes & Noble paid for the ad, not James Patterson. Patterson, at the time of the ad, had more customers than the Nook did.)

So, unrealistic expectations on both ends of the spectrum—too high and too low—are dangerous to business.

And so, in its way, is sneaky growth for the very reason that I outlined up front.

I did not have the right website provider for my needs. It took a crisis for me to realize that. The fault was mine, not the ISP’s. I did not have enough insurance—for lack of a better term—to deal with the problem I was faced with.

Nor did I have the right tools to handle it either.

Sneaky growth is a problem that writers often don’t recognize. Even if they do, those writers in traditional publishing have little control over it. The traditional publishers are the ones who deal with sneaky growth the most, and they usually mishandle it. Most of my traditional publishers have failed to handle my sneaky growth.

St. Martins Press never ever printed enough books to handle the demands of the Smokey Dalton series, and whenever a growth event happened (an Edgar nomination, a book tour!, an Entertainment Weekly  review), SMP didn’t take the books back to print to meet the demands. The company never sent me to Chicago bookstores, despite requests from the stores, and they often didn’t ship the books to booksellers who had put in late orders (after the first solicitation).

By taking the fourth book of my Fey series out of print and refusing to bring it back into print when the fifth book came out, Bantam Books effectively doomed that growing series.

A decision I made concerning sneaky growth killed one of my pen names. My agent at the time asked me if we should ask for a higher advance for those books. I agreed that she should try, and she got that advance. It was double the original advance. The next two books grew, but not at a rate that justified the advance. The publisher declined the next book. Why? Because the growth, while significant, wasn’t great enough to come close to that higher advance. The publisher didn’t want to “insult me” by asking me to take a smaller advance. In those days (the late 1990s), such a request simply wasn’t made. And to be honest, I’m not sure I would have taken the smaller advance. I would have thought I could get the same or greater money elsewhere. (I would have been wrong.)

Sneaky growth will be a problem for the indie writers who over-promote. Those writers will blame the growth on their promotion, and not on their writing skills. So those writers will miss the opportunity that the growth is providing them. Those writers will be so busy promoting that they won’t write the next book in a timely enough fashion to encourage the growth.

Note, please, that when I’m talking about the next book in this context, I’m not talking about the next book in a series. Just the next book under the same name. Readers come back. Not just series readers, but all readers. Readers believe if they like one book by a writer, they’ll like the next or the next after that.  So keep that in mind.

Another way that writers get surprised by sneaky growth is when we go out in public. A few years ago, I realized that my effectiveness as a teacher was waning because of the growth in my career. For many writers, I am the woman with some success in the front of the room. But for some writers, I am “Kristine Kathryn Rusch” their favorite author, and everything I say is True. This attitude makes any negative comment I make extremely damaging, and overinflates any positive comment I make into something so precious that it’s like liquid gold.

The other problem happens as well. Occasionally a writer will come to one of my classes to prove to me that I am as crappy and stupid a writer as they believe I am. (Why someone like that would spend the money to come to a class is beyond me, but they do.) So I limit my involvement in the teaching now to classes I can screen heavily, to make sure the writer-student is there for the right reason (their reason), not because of their reaction to me.

But it took a few uncomfortable classes to learn about that problem, a problem caused by the sneaky growth in my career.

This happens to writers who grow their way to a large fan base or a bestseller list. Stephen King used to faithfully attend the World Fantasy Convention, but he had to stop going when he could no longer walk the hallways without getting mobbed by fans. (He snuck into a few later on, but he could never enjoy them like he used to.) I watched the same thing happen to other writers over the years. I was rather surprised it didn’t happen to George R.R. Martin at the World Science Fiction Convention this past year, but I suspect that might the last worldcon where he can comfortably walk the halls.

Sneaky growth appears to the business owner after a marker makes it visible. The crash of my website for me, the inability to attend World Fantasy Con for Stephen King. That doesn’t make sneaky growth a problem, per se, but it does cause a change. Not in the business itself, but in your attitude toward it.

For years, you behaved one way. Now you can no longer behave that way because of the reality of your business. You probably should have made the changes some time ago, but you didn’t, because the growth was slow and steady and snuck up on you.

The way the changes in the website had snuck up on me. I was aware of the numbers of visitors that I had, but only in an abstract kind of way. It really got brought home to me when the site went down and I got dozens of e-mails and messages to my other accounts, informing me of it. (Thank you! Those helped.) Dean got more than a hundred messages about it as well.

It was both a lesson and a reminder. Growth happens in a lot of ways, some expected, some unexpected. The website grew while I was doing other things. Now I must make some changes, changes I probably should have made when the growth became obvious in the numbers, more than two years ago.

I’m playing catch-up now, which is what often happens with sneaky growth. It’s a nice problem to have, because with sneaky growth, the expenses usually don’t overpower the income like they do with rapid growth. Nor do the expectations overpower the reality, like they do with no-growth (or not-enough growth).

So I’m off to do research. But before I do, I want to thank those of you who have made this blog your Thursday destination. (And those of you who cross-over with the Monday folks [who are often a different group].) You’re one of the main reasons for the growth of this site. I appreciate it.

I also appreciate the financial support. Without it, the nonfiction side of this website wouldn’t exist. So, thanks, everyone. I could not do this work without you.

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“The Business Rusch: “Sneaky Growth” copyright © 2012 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.

 

 

 

 

 

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36 Comments

  1. Michele Lang says:

    Thank you for another terrific post. I had my own “well, duh” moment reading this — I never thought of your wonderful site as a magazine, but that is a brilliant way to think about what you are doing here. Yes. Yes! I need to re-conceptualize my own (currently very static) website along these lines.

    As for fame sneaking up on you and your students, I say any student who is lucky enough to have you as a teacher needs to learn how to handle your fame :)

    Thanks again — I learn so much here every week.

    Michele

    • Kris says:

      Thanks, Michele. The magazine concept was the only way I could figure out how to blog every week, back when I decided that might be important. (2005?) I couldn’t keep myself interested otherwise. I have such a magpie brain…oh, shiny! :-)

  2. Nancy Beck says:

    But if a business grew more than predicted, the stock price also goes down. Why? Because rapid and unexpected growth kills more businesses than an unexpected loss.

    This reminds me of when my husband and I were really in to microbrews; the whole microbrewing thing exploded in the late 80s/early 90s. There was a fantastic microbrewery called Catamount (in Vermont) that made some really good beers; my husband actually went out of his way to visit when it was a going concern after visiting up that way.

    Was a going concern. Like you said, Catamount had grandiose visions. They expanded and expanded and expanded. They did well for a while, but it was obvious they had overexpanded, and what had been one microbrewery with several different delicious beers went bankrupt.

    If they had kept themselves small, well, maybe they’d still be in business today. Who knows? But their rapid growth became their downfall, as they expanded too much and too quickly. (As a contrast, there’s microbrewery near us, and they’ve expanded, but they’ve done it on a slow, step-by-step basis.)

    I’m not in a position as yet to have to pay for a my own site (although I do have one), but it must be major suckitude to have it unavailable for that long.

    Those writers will blame the growth on their promotion, and not on their writing skills. So those writers will miss the opportunity that the growth is providing them. Those writers will be so busy promoting that they won’t write the next book in a timely enough fashion to encourage the growth.

    Which is why I’m trying to write as much as I can every day…and even going off into another genre (pen name, too) because it’s fun to do something completely different.

    And I do appreciate your site here. It’s the easiest way to keep track of the next Retrieval Artist novel or novella I have to buy. :-)

    • Kris says:

      Nancy, good post about the microbrewery. Exactly. And nothing wrong with pen names. I rather like having mine… :-) Thanks for the kind words.

  3. Good post as usual, Kris. The problem I see with ads (as in TV ads, Kindle ads, Nook ads) is that the tracking is old-school — iow, non-existent. People may buy your book because they see an ad, but unless they tell you, you’ll never know it was because of the ad.

    As for businesses, something like 95 percent of them fail within the first 5 years, which is a staggering number. Mine was one of them. I had a really successful, growing business on eBay, and I didn’t plan to take out a loan to buy inventory. I couldn’t compete with the other stores in my categories, and I had to close down. Lesson learned.

    Now I’m prepared. I have backup funds in case I don’t make the money I need to keep going at the pace I have planned and my author collective is ready to take a slow but steady course for publishing.

    • Kris says:

      Marian, I haven’t looked up the exact statistic in years, but the most successful business owners have at least one and usually 3 or more business failures behind them. Why? We learn the lessons that we need to stay in business down the road. That doesn’t mean we won’t make mistakes, but we might have a better chance of recognizing the catastrophic ones before they get to be catastrophic. The best business people learn and grow from their mistakes–which it sounds like you have. Good luck with the writing biz! I suspect you’ll do just fine.

  4. D.J. Gelner says:

    Kris, I can’t thank you enough for these posts. Still grinding away on my first novel, but the end is starting to come into focus. You, your husband, Konrath, Eisler; all of you have given me a lot to think about in trying to start my career.

    I just hope that I can get to the point where “sneaky growth” becomes a problem–I think it’s the new fiction writer’s dream, and if it’s not, it definitely should be. As Dean is fond of saying, books aren’t like produce anymore, so that kind of “sneaky,” sustained growth of a reader base is what will put food on the table in the coming years.

    Thanks again!

    • Kris says:

      DJ, congrats on approaching the end. Celebrate when you finish. It’s quite an accomplishment to finish your first novel. So many “writers” never do. (They talk about it, though.) Good job. And I hope you’re right: I hope writers want sneaky growth. I suspect most of them want to be showered with millions without having to work too hard. But I’ve become cynical in my old age…

  5. Walter Hawn says:

    Speaking of Pulphouse, is there any possibility of re-issuing as e-books? I suppose getting the clearances and all would be a deep challenge, but it’d be marvelous if it were possible.

    • Kris says:

      Walter, we’ve discussed rereleasing Pulphouse as e-books, but we have several problems. First, we were dumb and didn’t reserve the correct reprint rights, so we don’t own any of them. We’d have to resolicit. Which brings up the second problem, which is that a goodly portion of the authors in the various volumes are no longer with us, and their estates are scattered to the winds. It’ll take a lot of work to reconstruct, and until WMG has a much bigger staff, we simply don’t have the time to do it. Which makes me sad…

  6. Steven Mohan says:

    Great stuff as always, Kris! I think we writers have a good chance of surviving sneaky growth, b/c our expenses are (or should be, IMHO) pretty low. We don’t have to maintain a storefront, employees, and our inventory (e-books or POD) are not generally a variable cost that increases as sales increase. But there is another side to the sneaky-growth problem: expansion.

    As a person who is right now experiencing unexpected growth, what I wonder about is how to appropriately expand my business. For example, I’m thinking about buying ID or Photoshop, venturing into POD, thinking about starting website(s). I am always thinking about how I should balance my existing business with where I want to go next (popcorn kittens.) And sometimes the cost isn’t in dollars–it’s in hours. Sometimes time is a more precious resource than money. Expanding a business is an entirely different skill set than STARTING a business. If you’re looking for another blog topic, I’m sure there’s a few people out there who might be interested in what you have to say on the subject.

    S.

    • Kris says:

      Oh, expansion is quite a problem, Steve, as a couple of other people discussed. And so is time. There really are only so many viable hours in the day. It’s annoying, but that sleep thing does get in the way. And you’re right. There’s a column in there somewhere…

  7. Joshua Kehe says:

    Kris, it’s not just your cynicism. Speaking as one of the lazy ones, most of us would love to be showered with millions without having to work too hard. (Then again, maybe I’m a cynic too.)

    But that’s the weird thing about being human: we often adopt simultaneous, contradictory desires. At the same time that the thought of easy money appeals to me, I still want to work hard at this career and folks like you and Dean are helping me to see how to do that. (Also, we change, and you’re helping me to swing my opinions/desires over to the long tail side of things. A much more productive and satisfying attitude than the glimmering possibility of becoming the next Rowling, Sanderson, etc.)

    • Kris says:

      Joshua, I suspect if you can be swayed away from your dreams of millions, you’re not one of the lazy ones. :-) Glad we’re doing a little good. And besides, if you have a lot of books and one hits the jackpot, well, then the jackpot grows significantly. :-)

  8. Another great blog, Kris – thanks.

    As a romance writer, I always enjoy the Sneaky Growth that happens in some love relationships. The friends-to-lovers trope especially speaks to that idea, where *suddenly* everything that’s slowly been changing becomes obvious as a new paradigm. :)

    • Kris says:

      Anthea, I never thought of the relationship between sneaky growth in business and in romantic relationships, but you are so right. (Julia Quinn’s latest is about that very thing.)

  9. JR Tomlin says:

    A VERY thought-provoking blog post. I can’t tell you exactly what thoughts it has provoked or not completely because I’m still processing some of the things you said. It did make me realize that I did some things right in this whole indie author transition. I kept my costs low and only pay costs out of profits, keeping them below profit level. Maybe my historical novel readership has grown a bit faster than I have managed well though. I only have 2 of those out and I should already have the third one out. Which means I had better get it finished. This week.

    I am REALLY glad your blog is back up. Really. You can’t imagine the alarm when it wasn’t. LOL

    • Kris says:

      JR, I never know if the silence after a post is because it’s thought-provoking or just dull. So nice to hear this one is thought-provoking. :-) And it’s nice to hear that other folks wondered what was going on when the blog was down too. Me, I was frantic. More frantic because they kept telling me it would be up in an hour. If they had told me that it would take several hours or that a server had melted down, I wouldn’t have checked so obsessively. Tech Support and I had a discussion about those false expectations… :-)

  10. Rob says:

    Kris,

    You might want to take a look at the Amazon web services platform for hosting. They basically sell off their excess bandwidth (a sizable amount) to host websites.

  11. Laer Carroll says:

    I’m an aerospace software and systems engineer retired from NASA and Boeing. I worked often on cutting-edge projects which once were science fiction. I also helped create and maintain Web sites for Boeing.

    So take what I’m about to tell you as that of a high-priced expert. You get it for free because your blog over the last several years has helped me as a pro writer. Some of the results you can see on Amazon and B&N. Look up Laer Carroll.

    First an executive summary – use WordPress.com. WP gives a short overview of why in their intro Web page: http://WordPress.com/features.

    You can see an example writer’s Web page at http://ShapechangerTales.com, my SF alternate-history series. Or for multithreat writers like yourself look at my personal Web page at http://LaerCarroll.com.

    A few notes.

    You should have a server which NEVER GOES DOWN. WP and similar companies do this because their “server” is actually hundreds in sites widely distributed geographically and networked together to look like a single entity. Even (say) a huge earthquake in California will not take down their server. Nor will site maintenance.

    WP pioneered a technique which combines “pages” with “posts” – static (rarely changing) pages with blog pages (changeable daily or even hourly). Other free Web sites such as Google’s Blogger have added static pages, but those are still less flexible than those of WP. You can have a front page which is a blog, but a menu atop it which lets you link to (say) an author bio, short stories or chapters, and background for your fantasy or SF series.

    WP is far out in front of competitors in how easy you can set up, customize, and change your site. They have well over a hundred “templates” which you can change with a single mouse click. The templates are very different from each other and often created by artistically as well as technically talented designers.

    WP lets you put PayPal links in your pages on WordPress.com. You can also include links to Amazon, B&N, and so on. (WordPress.org is a WP service which lets you set up complex commercial Web sites on the server of your choice.)

    I hope this helps you as much as you’ve helped me. Karma, real world!

    • Kris says:

      Thanks, Laer. Very helpful. I’ve been getting great suggestions from folks, here and privately, and I have a lot to investigate. It all helps and it gives me a lot to think about. Thanks!

  12. Carradee says:

    For hosts, I happen to like A Small Orange. They have the best plan for my needs with a good price and service, but my needs are a lot different from yours, so I can’t be sure they’ll be the best for you.

    I started out self-publishing with plans for what I’d do in cases of no growth, little growth, moderate growth, expected growth, hoped growth—but not windfall growth. (Which hasn’t happened yet.) When I realized I had no windfall growth plans, I promptly fixed that.

    Thanks for pointing out another type of growth I’ll need to make plans for. :D

  13. xdpaul says:

    I really appreciate this post. Then again, I’m all about the sneak.

  14. I have to agree with Steve – would definitely like to see a “Business Rusch” column on growing a business without letting it do you in.

    My own non-fiction consulting business was growing at a reasonable, manageable pace, until it abruptly (or so it seemed) took off – too frequently loading me up with more work than I could do in a week of 18-hour days, but not maintaining that load consistently enough for me to bring on extra hands to help me with it. That was my 3-years-into the small business trial-by-fire.

    Thankfully, I survived it, learned a lot, and subsequently built a small team of freelancers I could call on in a pinch, but who weren’t dependent on me for their livelihoods (a good thing when the recession pulled the floor out from under consulting in general, and none of us had extra work to share around). I’m slowly rebuilding, but I know what the warning signs – for good or ill – look like now, and will (I hope) be better prepared to weather the tides.

    • Kris says:

      Good point. Lauryn. I’ll put this in the queue–as soon as I figure out how to attack the topic in a helpful manner. Thanks!

  15. Mercy Loomis says:

    Nancy, that’s a great metaphor. Last year my husband and I were at The Great Taste of the Midwest, which is a beer festival with hundreds of different beers to sample. My husband found one he loved from a small brewery in Illinois. But when asked, the owner said he didn’t have distribution in Wisconsin. “We can’t keep up with how much beer you all drink. If we tried, we wouldn’t have anything left for Illinois.” LOL. There’s a guy who understands growing his business. (When we’re in Illinois, we stop in and buy his beer.)

    My husband keeps encouraging me to promote more. I keep telling him I need to have more novels available before promoting makes sense, but he doesn’t buy it. (I’ve tried sending him some of your and Dean’s posts, but it doesn’t help.) I finally told him he could be my marketing guy if he wanted. I was mostly kidding, but it would be darn nice to be able to say, “I redid this blurb, go log into all the sites and update them” or “I just set up an account at this new distributor, please upload my backlist for me.” Sigh. Ok, enough dreaming, back to work. (The day job, unfortunately.)

    • Kris says:

      Mercy, your suggestion to your husband might be a solution. I have gotten a lot of help by saying “This isn’t possible for me right now, but if it’s important to you, please try it.” Folks do. And it’s very nice.

  16. Just stopping by to say thanks and glad you’re committed to continuing. I think one success metric for a business enterprise is when you find that your product or service is so needed, and that you’re so capable of meeting that need, that you’re not only turning a profit but catalyzing a change in your society. Since you and Dean are doing exactly that for the wordsmith community, I’m glad you’re not one to be intimidated by a mere catastrophic server crash.

    Thanks again.

  17. I don’t dream of millions, although tens of thousands would be all right. My next book will be out by the end of March. (But not on April Fool’s Day.)

  18. Walter Hawn says:

    I was afraid that might be the case, else you’d have issued the ebooks long ago.

    On hosting: my host, one&one, has a system whereby they spread sites across two servers in separate locations, something like the way Google spreads itself around. It’s an extra-cost option that I don’t use myself, but have heard good things about it. Costs $120yr and allows an enormous amount of bandwidth, and an unlimited number of sites. I’ve had a very good experience with one&one for several years.

    • Kris says:

      Yeah. It’ll be down the road, when we have time. Because we do want Pulphouse reissued someday. Thanks for the host recommendation.

  19. [...] Kristine Kathryn Rusch: The Business Rusch: Sneaky Growth. Excellent [...]

  20. [...] Kris Rusch spoke of the sneaky growth (very sneaky in my case, but I’m not despairing yet! ) and Dean Wesley Smith of the reasons [...]