Okay, full disclosure here: Very little in the title of this post is true. I’m not a slacker. I got behind due to Life Events. (See this week’s Business Blog.) Then I spent a week catching up. And then I taught the Mystery Workshop here on the coast—and had a blast. Great storytellers, every one of them. Sunday, I face-planted. But I had work to […]
I’ve been exceedingly lucky and damned determined all at the same time. I have arranged my life around the writing. Unlike most people, I almost never have to arrange my writing around my life.
I was trained in traditional publishing, where writers go begging for opportunity. Writers are taught to beg, from professors (let me into your class!) to critique groups (is my writing good enough?) to agents (will you take me on?) to publishers (will you buy my book?).
We’re not trained to value what we’ve built.
I blame Marvel. As I finished my Kris Nelscott/Smokey Dalton novel, Stone Cribs, I realized that the victim in the book, Valentina Wilson, was one amazing woman. And she needed a story arc all her own. I knew how she was going to end up, and who she would be years after the events in Stone Cribs, but I needed to write the story […]
I remember how overwhelming it was for me to make the transition to mostly indie. I’m not entirely indie. My short fiction is still hybrid, as is all of my work in translation. But I can’t see any situation where I would ever go back to a traditional publisher for my novels. The contracts are awful, the lack of support profound, and the benefits nearly nonexistent.
The traditionally published writers who are being cut loose or who are being offered terrible deals are just beginning to realize this. And they’re at a complete loss as to what to do.
I feel for them. I really do.
There’s less reason to game the Times list now, however. The list has bifurcated so much that you can climb the top of one of the many lists with sales that my first novel (which didn’t even sniff at the list) blew out of the water in its first week twenty-five years ago. Big publishers don’t make a lot of money on 5,000 copies. Indies do, compared to expenses. But big publishers do not.
So, the amount of work that someone had put into placing Sarem’s book on the bestseller list made no sense to me at all. Where was the profit here? What was the point? Bragging rights are nice, but unless you have money to burn, ordering 18,000 copies of your own book is pretty expensive.
I live in the zone of totality for the Great American Solar Eclipse of 2017. The eclipse happened on Monday morning, August 21, 2017. My little town, Lincoln City, Oregon, was where the eclipse hit landfall first in the United States. The eclipse then cut across the entire country, sending a shadow across America. The actual eclipse took about 90 minutes to travel from sea […]
In dealing with movie and TV producers, and foreign rights publishers, and pretty much anyone who wants subsidiary rights to my book, I hold all of the power in the negotiation.
I know, I know. A bunch of you just did double-takes. How can I have more power than a Hollywood studio?
Here’s the surprising post. Many of you who read this blog regularly probably think that I’m opposed to major marketing campaigns. I’m not. I’m opposed to them when they’re done incorrectly. What’s incorrectly? Pretty much everything you see from traditional publishing to most indies. You have to look outside of publishing to see how to do a smart, aggressive growth campaign designed to grow […]
My cat died in June. He wasn’t just any cat. He was what Dean and I call “a heart cat.” We have cats whom we love and cherish, and then we have special cats—the ones who simply take over our hearts and hold them hostage. Galahad was the best of the best, and we had him for fifteen years.
I’m telling you this not to get sympathy, but because Gally’s death factored into my process this summer. I knew he was going to go at some point, but he went fast. Fine one week, gone the next. Not as fast as our Ella, who literally died in an instant (vet thinks heart attack or stroke) in February, but still, faster than expected.
That, on top of the deaths of several friends since the first of the year, some close and some not as close as they once were, left me reeling. I hadn’t realized how down I was until I figured out that my writing had nearly ground to a halt.
In fact, the one thing that kept me going was the schedule I had drawn up earlier in the year…