y1 will die

What prompts an author to kill her own book?

On January 1, 2019 my second novel is scheduled to die. I admit the prospect makes me sad. This book, with its fiery sunset-themed cover, has been part of my life for a while.

I finished it in early 2012, and released it on Kindle September 2012. Shape shifter Zane and his unique crime solving skills were a source of pride and joy.

As with my first book, x0, I’ve never totaled up the exact sales, because it’s not easy to separate a sale from a give-away. I’m pretty sure I’ve been paid for at least three hundred copies, and have gifted at least as many more. I’d hoped for more sales, of course, but every time a stranger liked my book and let me know, it delighted me. No regrets.

Times change. Sales of y1 have gone from small to nearly zero.

A few months ago, I attended a conference of science fiction writers, and signed up for a mentor. It may have been one of my more useful decisions. This guy pointed out that I could still have a marketable product in this particular story, but I needed a more genre-appropriate cover, a much better title, and an updated and aggressive marketing plan.

I can change the title of my book? Apparently I can. I do need a new ISBN number (no problem). I also need to acknowledge to the new reader what has been done (just in case he or she is one of the 600 humans who already read this story.)

And …. I need to kill y1. That is, I must take it off the market completely. No electronic versions for sale, although those who have it obviously always will. No new paperbacks printed and sold, although nothing can prevent current owners from reselling their copies on Amazon and elsewhere.

Over the years, I’ve eliminated all the hyperlinks in the book, and the text that went with them. I’ve made corrections and done minor clean-up. Why not. But I’ve refrained from doing anything major.

Because this will be a new book, I have the chance to do some serious editing. So I have. The original y1 came in at just under 125,000 words. The leaner new version is under 103,000. I’ve broken the chapters into smaller chunks. I’ve given more attention to point of view. I’ve taken the techniques I’ve learned over the past six years, at conferences, from other writers, and simply from practicing my craft for hours every week, and I’ve done my best to fold those learnings into telling my story better.

I’m pleased with the result.

So while y1 will soon cease to exist, it will give birth to a new and better novel. I’ll be blogging all about it soon

Making a New Plan

I love planning.

I recognize that not everyone is wired this way. Some of you folks out there get the most joy out of your life when circumstances let you wake up and do whatever seems best to you at that moment. I think that is terrific, even though it doesn’t work so well for me because I just love to make lists.

c3 FINAL ecopyToday is a special day as it is the first of the month. That means that I get to make my plan for writing for the month of September. Figuring out how and when I am going to find the time to indulge in my most favorite activity brings me no end of joy. When I do this, I feel like I am somehow outwitting the gods of practicality, who rule the mundane world. They have decreed that doing my laundry and paying my bills will fill all my free hours and no time will be left for what I love.  I make my little list, looking for pockets of time I can claim as my own, and delight in the fact that THEY ARE WRONG. I’ve proven them wrong for 32 months in a row now and I intend to keep right on doing so.

This first of this particular month, however, is even better than most. I have finished my fourth novel, c3, and it will be out on Kindle by the end of the year. Each book has been a challenge to get into for its own reasons, and this one was no exception. Once I became immersed in it, though, it took over and now I am sad to leave its world. I already love its newly designed cover, once again expertly done by Jennifer Fitzgerald at motherspider.com.

I will spend September moving c3 along to my first group of beta readers, and making minor changes as they get back to me. This will be fun. I enjoy getting feedback on my stories and tweaking them to make them better.

The activity that really excites me, however, is that I will also begin research and planning for my fifth novel d4. Because c3 and d4 overlap in time, and tell the tales of two sisters having simultaneous adventures far from home, I have had the plot of d4 in the back of my mind as I finished c3. I already know that it involves subjects that fascinate me, and I can’t wait to start researching.

There is an old and frankly kind of stupid expression that goes “whatever blows your skirt up” and I probably don’t even want to know where it came from. The fact is that nothing seems to blow my skirt up more than planning to start a new book. It’s enough to make me want to dance for joy.

#SFWApro