Chrysalis update, and the sequel

This week, I finally released Chrysalis for publication. It’s funny, this is my second time doing this, and this time around I feel like I’ve made the opposite mistakes from the first time. The book was copy edited, the typos early readers have found have been far fewer (and resulted in the creation of a secret beta group for the future), I did pre-orders, made some initial social media blasts, the works.

But this time around, I thought I would strike wide, and I now realize that was a mistake. With my first book, I confined myself to Amazon’s Kindle and Kindle Unlimited programs. In fact, most of my “sales” on that first book were in page reads on KU. But with Chrysalis, I thought I would be smarter. Rather than tie myself to Amazon’s programs, I would publish on the Kindle as well as a variety of other booksellers (iBooks, Kobo, Nook, etc.). This decision means I can’t be on KU (it’s a competitive thing), but I thought surely I would do better in the other markets, no?

No. While my Amazon sales have been surprisingly better than I expected, especially in paperback, my non-Amazon sales have been nonexistent. I don’t mean that figuratively – I have literally made $0.00 in sales on non-Amazon platforms.

I goofed.

I should have kept to the one platform, built my reader base over time, and only considered a broader reach when my readership had grown to the point to support and/or demand it. I’m not there right now, not by a long shot. The good news is that all is not lost. Some time in June, if sales continue to be nonexistent on other platforms, I will pull Chrysalis from the other markets and enroll it in KU, hopefully in time for the 4th of July weekend.

In other good news, initial reader feedback has been great for the book. Granted, most of the feedback has been from people I know personally, so a few of them might be pulling their punches, but overall the response has been great. I expect to have some reviews up soon, and I’ve started contacting book review sites to see if I can get it considered. It’s not the speed train you imagine publishing to be, but it is definitely a path forward.

Speaking of paths forward, the next book in the Writs of Blood is coming along nicely. I’m about 40% through the first draft of The Mermaid’s Tears (working title), and really liking how the story is developing. It’s a bit more grown up than book one, but then again, Chrysalis was intended as an introductory book to begin with. Mermaid’s Tears takes place a few years later, so it only makes sense that Niki has grown up a little in that time.

More updates on Mermaid’s Tears to come. I’m trying to convince myself to make these updates a weekly event again, but we’ll see.

Getting ready to move

EDIT: When I started this post, it had the title “Getting ready to move on,” and it was intended to be a reference to our leaving California. Between titling and posting, however, the post transformed a little, but I failed to update the title. I’ve corrected that now, but if you came here thinking I had a huge announcement about work or life (move aside), it was an unintentional piece of click-bait on my part.

In a little over a week, packers will fill a truck with 75% of what we own. The remainder will either be driven up to Portland, or tossed. Despite the fact that earlier this week we officially closed on the house, I’m still in a bit of disbelief that this is all real. When we stopped being homeowners for the move to California, I thought it would be a long, long time before we were back in that boat. Living in the confines of an apartment cured me of that.

Believe it or not, though, this isn’t going to be a reflective post. It almost was – in fact, it was in a few drafts – but I think it will work better as just a note. I’ve spent part of the morning going through A Scent of Roses and fixing typographical errors and, as a copy-editor explained to me on another piece, my penchant for UK grammar and spelling. I can’t change the way I write, but I can at least make an effort to clean it up before you all are subject to it. Once those re-edits are done, I intend to add some front and back material (ie, a note explaining this re-release is just a clean up with no story changes and no significant text changes, and an after you read the book note about how to find me), and then post it up. I’m toying with switching the paper publisher from CreateSpace to the new Amazon POD offering (they’re both Amazon companies to begin with, so I suspect the former will be going away at some point).

That’ll be when the fun begins. I plan on releasing Chrysalis in a month or two, but you’ll have plenty of preamble. This time around I’d like to correct for some of my past mistakes and not just dump the book on the world and see what happens. The next two to three weeks is going to be busy in my real life – next week is prep for the move, then the move, then the whole waiting for furniture – but expect to see some sample chapters gracing these pages in the coming weeks, along with a cover reveal (when I get one), and maybe even a give away.

But wait, there’s more!

You can already order it on Amazon, but I’ll be taking part in a blog post exchange for the release of Enter the Apocalypse, the anthology where you can find my kaiju/vampire mashup. This was my first time working with an anthology release, and I have to say it was a pretty pleasant.

OK, that’s it from this corner of the world. Have a good one!


Nephrology, editing, and a new tool to play with

Today I met with the nephrologist for the first time. All in all, the experience was not as terrifying as I had built it up in my head. Then again, it was only the first visit. What I did learn was that we’re going to spend the next three months reevaluating lifestyle, adding some medication, and doing more testing. In other words, no real prognosis right now, just more tests and comparisons to see if there really is a problem or not (or rather, just how serious it is and how much panic is worthy).

Spinning up on the positive side, I’ve begun my first real read through of the novel I finished in November. I’ve already cut ten pages (ten pages it couldn’t afford to lose), made notes for a new chapter, and changed most of the text in what remains of the first chapter. So that’s going well.

Editing means working with text. In the past I had a tool I loved until I began to feel the weight of how big it was. But I find I miss only one thing about scrivener in linux (and yes, I know there’s a port, but it’s just not the same – or supported), and that’s being able to work easily with discreet segments of text. In scrivener, each scene can be its only file. When writing using markdown, it was all one large file. Sure, I could have broken that up and put it together at compile time, but that still would have required keeping track and organizing of a hundred small files.

Enter Plume-Creator, an application my friend Ken has raved about for years. I don’t want to compare it to another application, because that’s not fair to either. But I will say it lets you work on multiple kinds of fiction writing, and appears (so far) to respect the discreet but whole approach. It’s a little weak in some places (absolutely zero import options? really? not even text?), but I plan on trying to produce the second draft of Chrysalis in it. We’ll see how far I get with it.

And that’s my day so far. Here’s hoping your day is going half as well 🙂