Friday, April 27, 2012

What I've Learned

I'm blogging today at Crime Fiction Collective about a few of the things I've learned so far about this process, and asking what I might prepare to learn next.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Freakin' Free Frenzy

Photo by Tomboy
Why in the world would a writer want to give away multiple copies of his or her book? There are probably as many reasons as there are authors, but here are a few based on my experiences and discussions. All of them make sense:
  • A new release is coming up, so an older title is offered for free to create buzz;
  • A new author (a la moi) who wants to give readers a reason to take a chance;
  • Lagging sales. Sometimes a little goose will redirect attention to a good author;
  • A strong desire to see their book(s) in as many hands as possible;
  • A landmark celebration (ie: 1 million books or ten years or The Sinking of The Titanic);
  • A poorly written and unedited book that wouldn't make it out in the world any other way.

Red Tide was officially published on March 28th. Between then and now, with a total four Free Days, I've been excited to see about 10,000 copies land in the hands of people who don't know me. My after-the-fact sales have encouraged me and I'm grateful for all of the people who took a chance then found they could support a fledgling author.

There is a lot of conflict among authors surrounding free ebooks. While everyone wants to find readers and give them a good read, there's the question of devaluing a creative work. One figure that's bandied around is that we actually work for about thirty-five cents an hour. I'm in the fortunate position of not really needing to care. I'm not independently wealthy, I simply have other resources. I have the luxury of focusing on doing what I love rather than fearing starvation.

A friend of mine who is a best-selling author recently had to seriously consider finding another job in order to pay the bills. Fortunately sales picked up and we're all better off because she can write another great book.

A huge concern that's bandied about in "Author Land" is that with all of the gazillions of free books, where do ours end up in the queue? When might we find some affirmation? It's tricky, if not downright impossible, to stand out in the crowd. And at about thirty-five cents an hour, it's not the money that drives us—at least not most of us. It's the verbal currency that counts.

In addition to the gazillions of books and the queue, the last reason I listed above, the one about poorly written books, becomes a concern. At least it was until I struck on an idea that sort of solves both worries with one concept.

Here's my working theory: free downloads are like sample downloads. Readers will be able to tell in a few minutes (if not seconds) whether or not they want to invest more time. Because they don't have a greater commitment, it's much easier to acknowledge a DNF (Did Not Finish) and move on. Almost all of those people who have my book would not have it had it not been for free. They would probably have not even bothered with the free sample. I'm trusting that many of the people who downloaded Red Tide and multiple other books will work their way through the poorly written and unedited ones and find their way to a pleasant surprise.

Will there be more free days for Red Tide? I don't have any planned at the moment. I'm hoping that with almost 10,000 copies working their way through the e-readers right now that I'll find a few people who will help spread the word.

Note: I'm hard at work in the initial stages of the editing process for my next book, and that first reason is looking pretty good to me right now.

What do you think about free ebooks? Good or bad or indifferent?

It's all better with friends.

Saturday, April 14, 2012


This is what we try and do within the covers of the books we write.


It's all better with friends.

Friday, April 13, 2012


Today, on Friday the 13th, I'm over at Crime Fiction Collective. Oh, and I'm sharing some terrific information about where you can score some free ebooks.

Life is soooo good.

It's all better with friends.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Editing Avoidance

Yep.  That's what I'm doing. I have about a hundred pages left to go on the quick read-through.  The one where I look for plot holes, poor characterization, over the top writing, confusing sentences or paragraphs, etc.

I've filled pages with notes that identify a page number and a paragraph number. The most common comments are "awkward" or "re-do", and of course my nemesis, "OTT".

I makes me wonder why in the world I'm telling people I'll have another book published later this year.

What was I thinking?

It's all better with friends.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Up, Up & Away—Way, Way Away

I seem to either write stripped down or over the top, and as embarrassing as it is, I think over the top is better. It's easier to tamp out the flames rather than fan cold embers to life. At least for me.

My editor called me on it a few times and he was right. Elizabeth George talks about going through her first draft and making note of the places where she's written over the top. She even uses the same shorthand I do—OTT.

This morning, I read my current book on craft and wouldn't you know it… the section was about OTT writing. It's like the cosmos are in collusion to knock it into my head.

I get it already.

Here's some of what Kenn Amdahl says in Joy Writing about OTT:

You can't transform emotion into art if you're conscious of the reader. Therefore, write the first draft as if no one will ever read it. When you revise, delete whatever's embarrassing, corny, graphic, or unnecessarily angry before anyone reads it. Emotions are the force that drives fine writing of any kind, but Colonel Klink (Colonel Klink is the name Amdahl gives his internal editor, who he keeps in the closet while the mudslinging creative Bart Simpson gleefully throws words on paper) pounds on the closet door every time you try to access them.

One of two bad things happen when you let someone read a first draft: they like it or they don't.

I think I'll get better as I begin writing my third book (the second is in the self-editing process now) but I'm not taking any bets.

What about you? Are you a "just the facts" kind of writer who needs to fan the embers or are you someone who emotes to the max?

On a personal note, thank you to everyone for all of your good wishes and support for Red Tide. During its debut weekend, when I offered it free to honor my mom's birthday and try and grab a little attention, it rose as high as number 8 on one of the Amazon lists. Pretty darned good for a brand new book by a brand new author who hasn't been tested. I know it happened because of people who want to help me succeed, and for that—and for you—I'm very grateful.

It's all better with friends.