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Valid? Musings from a semi-invalid writer. Hmm.

Hi folks!

Just a quick progress note, plus random thoughts. I screwed up my big toe somehow–no idea what happened–and have spent a lot of time lying in bed lately, keeping the toe elevated, figuring this is probably what it feels like to be old: stuff stops working, you have no idea why, and it seems basically unfair.

So, wah.

I’ve gotten a lot of things done, though. Haven’t repaired the passenger-side quarter panel of my car–an insurance-free individual skidded into that while I was stopped at a red light a couple of weeks ago. Kids were in the car; my daughter in the seat next to where the guy hit us. Just a very slippery road, not really the guy’s fault beyond that. It was interesting to watch him driving away afterward, shredding a totally flat tire, in order to avoid having his car towed by the police. Basically? He had no money for insurance. Unfortunate, but my primary thought is this: if I hadn’t been paying for insurance myself all these years, paying for the repair would easily have been covered by the otherwise entirely useless-to-me premiums.

Never mind. No, wait, two more things. First, I’ve been involved in three (3) accidents in my life to date. In all three cases, I was stopped and the guy drove into me. In no case did the other driver have insurance. This time, I saw him coming and heard his tires skidding–ran the light myself (no oncoming traffic) to try to get away from him, but he still hit me. Second, I found it interesting that Geico’s “comprehensive” insurance does not in fact cover collisions. I’m pretty sure we weren’t offered collision coverage separately when we set up the policy a few years ago, so my suspicion is that was no accident. Oh, a third thing: after this, though they said it was in no way “my fault,” my rate went up quite a bit. So, insurance shopping, from bed. Fun.

Oh yeah. Writing. That’s been going pretty well. I’d written “Undue Death,” an odd little witch-hunting-vampire novel, in present tense. Because it was fun to write it that way. So, I had that fun and all, but I knew all along it was unlikely to be the best choice if I wanted anyone else to read it. Which I did. So I’ve nearly completed going through the thing again and changing all them words to a more sensible past-tense arrangement. Well, probably all of them. I may have missed a few. More editing needed, still.

I want to publish something on the first of next month (personally my wife and I prefer to celebrate the New Year on November 1, because we can). So will UD make it in time? I’m not sure. Another possibility: it’s always seemed to me that my first novel, previously titled Shiver on the Sky, had a really strong division between its two halves. Almost as if a new novel were starting in midstream…though I didn’t have that thought until recently.

So, I’ve been going through and updating/editing the whole thing. Also sort of upping its magical content, because that piece was always a little slow getting started. (I don’t know that I’m any better at writing now than I was when I wrote that book, but I do think I’m probably a better editor these days.)

Maybe it’s actually two novels? It’s easily long enough for that. The only arguments I can think of that might dissuade me are that not all threads are resolved and the first one would end on a bit of a cliffhanger. A less-than-happy cliffhanger, at that. I suspect I should do it anyway. New title, by the way: The Shivers Between.

Hell, maybe both of them will be ready. Maybe neither? But I would find that irritating, so I doubt I’ll go that way.

I’ve got a sequel to UD in mind. But I also have stuff written in a couple of separate novels–all in the same fictional universe, but not involving the same characters. Each of the others actually seems like the start of a separate series. So…is it a thing, I wonder, to publish an interleaved sort of series, with different titles not necessarily–but maybe sometimes–involving the same characters? Maybe alternating the three main branches, at least most of the time?

I kind of want to try that. But I’m pretty sure it’s not a good idea. At least not from the perspective of getting the things read by people who are not me. New author, Book 1 of a series, Book 1 of a different series, plus Book 1 of a third series? Or a series published with no detectable continuity? Worse, potentially somewhat different genres: urban fantasy, young adult horror, and quirky humor/horror, all together? Possibly not the best move there.

Though I’m not sure I care. I’m not sure I even have a choice about what I write, really. I’ve never felt especially in control of the story. I’ve tried to impose control, and that has stopped me utterly from writing. Long story there, most likely not worth going into. But if I’m going to write, I really need to just play with it. Let the stories come out as they choose.

That said, there are still publishing-type decisions to be made. Should I actually hold off on publishing Book 1 of a series until Books 2 and 3 are ready? Quite possibly so. That being the case, if I split Shiver into two books as mentioned above, should I publish both of them–plus the third book, previously known as the second book, at the same time? Thing is, that last book was also written in the present tense. I know, I know, but it’s what I wanted to do. It would take some time to change it to fit the others.

Eh. I’ll do something. Do you guys have any preferences? On the publishing side? At this point, starting over as I am, none of it is likely to matter for a while. “Matter” in a financial/readership sense, I mean. Maybe I’ll just publish stuff as I get done with it, then look back at some point in the future and decide what to do with it all.

On the publishing front, though, short-term? I still have to decide whether to make stuff exclusive to Amazon. Financially, if that ever matters, there is more money available that way. Amazon has the largest E-bookstore in the world. The second largest? Kindle Unlimited. Plus, borrows in KU count as sales for purposes of calculating a book’s ranking in the Amazon store. Better ranking means better visibility. Plus, a single upload to a single retailer is far easier to manage than a bunch of them.

Against all that, Amazon seems lately to have changed to more of a “pay to play” marketplace: sure, royalties are okay, but from what I’ve read lately? If you don’t spend money advertising your books, Amazon probably won’t put a lot of effort into showing them to people. If people don’t see the books, it’s quite unlikely that they will buy them. Or read them, obviously.

If you’re not aware, putting a book into KU means agreeing to keep it exclusive to Amazon (in ebook form, anyway) for 90 days. It’s not forever. But I still don’t like it. I also don’t like this advertising-almost-required setup they’ve got going.

Frankly, I don’t want to get caught up in all that. I don’t want to be exclusive to Amazon. I don’t want to figure out their advertising system right now. It almost doesn’t matter anyway–the advertising is quite expensive, and I’m not aware of anyone who’s tried it who feels it’s worth doing for a standalone book of any sort. First in a series? Maybe, viewing it as a loss leader, to be made up as readers move through future books.

I did publish The Apocalypse Bug into KU. I haven’t checked sales…but i suspect there haven’t been many, because I haven’t advertised it. (And it’s a somewhat reasonable test, since the book did pretty well when I released its original version without advertising a few years ago.)

Which is fine, actually. If that’s the case, I have no reason to bother with KU at this point in time. Except of course that KU is actually less trouble than dealing with multiple retailers…but anyway having very few sales, potentially even no sales, would be a useful thing in a decision-making sense.

As a writer, I need to write the stories that flow out of me as long as they’re willing to do that. As a publisher, I need to make whatever decisions I can from a financial perspective. Truthfully, with exactly one work of fiction public at the moment, none of the decisions are going to matter a whole lot.

Ah, the hell with it. Whatever I publish on the first, I’ll “go wide” with it. Put it up everywhere. It’s a bit more work, but I can’t possibly lose a lot of sales at this point, and I’ll feel better about it. That has to count for something.

Maybe I’ll revisit all this in a year or so, when there’s enough published material that thinking it over might be productive. Till then, I most likely ought to put it out of my mind and get on with the writing.

So. I’m sure it’s past the time for me to stop rambling/musing (see, dictating all this, so those happen simultaneously) and do something more productive. Thanks for your indulgence, if any of you have read this far!

Meanwhile. Have fun out there!

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