Tag Archives: looking through lace

Cracking 1,000 ebooks sales (and other good news)

Sometime this week, I seem to have cracked the magic number of 1,000 ebook sales. We will see if this gets me into more “also bought” lists or other kinds of nifty attention that will help my visibility! It would be lovely to just lean back and get more writing done, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. Besides, those sales are across all my titles, and I’m not sure if the good stuff I’ve heard about kicks in for total sales, or only if a single title passes the 1,000 mark. If it’s single titles, I still have a way to go. My best seller (not to be confused with bestseller!), Yseult, is at just over 450 sales now. I’m also not sure how borrows factor in. I’ve had a little under 200 borrows (over all my titles) as well.

But however these sales get counted on Amazon, and despite the fact that the summer slump is hitting me hard, I think I can still say I’m off to a good start on this new indie venture. 🙂

Unfortunately, I still don’t have Shadow of Stone ready for publication. On this final editing pass, I’m up to chapter 25, so that should be only another day or two. Then I need to update the map for this book and do the formatting. I’m now shooting for a publication date of June 5.

To hopefully coincide with the release of the next book, I have three free promotions scheduled for next week:

The Future, Imperfect, free June 2-5
Looking Through Lace, free June 4-5
Dragon Time, free June 4

I got some nice feedback yesterday that I want to pass along. Looking Through Lace got a lovely review that you can read here. And Webbiegrrl based a great blog post about indie promotion on my post about going free with KDP Select.

I wish everyone else encouraging developments in their writing!

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Back to Aphra Behn and Chameleon in a Mirror

The new version of Chameleon in a Mirror, my literary time travel featuring Aphra Behn, is going quite well. I’m 7,000 words in now, and if this keeps up, I can increase the target word count. Of course, I have a huge advantage in that I have the print-out of a completed novel by my side while I work. It may seem ridiculous to some that I have elected to type the novel in from scratch when it would be that much faster to just revise it, but that’s the point. I originally wrote this novel over fifteen years ago, and while I think the structure is still sound, my style has changed quite a bit. Sometime last summer, I had considered bringing Chameleon in a Mirror out as my first ebook novel, but when I started revising it, I realized it would need a lot more work than I originally envisioned. Then when my freelance editor of choice said she was booked through January, I decided to go with Yseult instead. I wanted to get a novel up by the new year, traditionally the best season for ebook sales, and Yseult had already been through both editors and translators and had been published in three languages (just not the original).

Then naturally, after I published Yseult and it was doing pretty well, it was much more logical to get the next Arthurian novel, Shadow of Stone, ready for publication.

But now that’s off to the editor, and Fragments of Legend is in need of more research, I can devote the time and effort needed to Chameleon in a Mirror. If I were just to revise the file, I would be much more tempted to leave things as they are. I’ve used the method of typing over from scratch a number of times, and I find it very effective in liberating myself from my old word choices. It also helps in questioning research and enlivening dialog and even in big picture elements like character motivation. The thing is, if I’m typing rather than just reading, I’m much more likely to hit a spot where I say to myself “Now wait a minute!” And then instead of revising, I’m writing completely new passages, which are (I hope) more in keeping with where I am now as a writer. 🙂

As Aphra Behn once said, “Faith, sir, we are here today, and gone tomorrow.”

In the marketing and sales realm, “Looking Through Lace” is doing quite well after its four day freebie, garnering another 5 star review and climbing through the paid ranks better than I expected. Here’s where it stands as of this post:

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,532 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
#15 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Short Stories
#23 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Anthologies

It’s still one of my favorites of the things I’ve written, even though it was first published almost ten years ago, so I’m very happy to see it reaching so many people. 🙂

Marie de France, Aphra Behn, and changing horses midstream

So here we are, at the beginning of a new round of words, with new targets and new projects, and I’m finding myself having to admit I need to change my goals. After months of concentrating on ebooks and editing, I returned to Fragments of Legend with the best of intentions, especially once I looked at the numbers and realized that with only 500 words a day, I could get a complete rough draft finished in a couple of months. Then after several days when the writing was like pulling teeth, I realized that for the section I’m working on, I not only need a compelling complication, I need to do way more research.

Sometimes resistance does have meaning.

At first I was hoping I could brush up on what I needed as I worked, and I started going through my books on Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine again, consulting the web for more sources and to look up references the books only mentioned in passing. And then I stumbled across Marie de France.

Since I’ve done plenty of research on Arthurian literature, I know of Marie de France, but I was unaware that the works that have come down to us are in Anglo-Norman French, and many experts place her at the court of Henry II. And since my main character, Judith, is a medieval woman who will eventually write an epic, Marie de France would be a perfect addition to my cast of characters! (I love those kinds of moments while writing.)

The problem is, I know next to nothing about Marie de France, and have only ever read one of her lays, many years ago. So it’s back to the books and the doodles for a while until I can get this section worked out in my head (or on scrap paper).

So in order to get back into the habit of writing regularly, I’m returning to my old Aphra Behn novel project, Chameleon in a Mirror. Rereading the old material a few months back, I realized that my style had changed quite a bit, and I’m going to have to start all over almost from scratch. But as compared to Fragments of Legend, in my Aprha Behn time travel, all the parts are there and all the research has been done; the words getting me from the first sentence to the last just have to be different. So here are my new research and writing goals:

– Read up on Marie de France and her contemporaries, while beefing up on Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine in the 1180s. From this research, come up with appropriate complications for Judith’s time in England.

– Write 1,000 words a day on a new version of Chameleon in a Mirror.

In other news, “Looking Through Lace” is doing much better during this promo than during the last. During the first 24 hours, I had over 2000 downloads, and it is now in the top 100 Free in the Kindle store, and #2 in Science Fiction. (Carolyn Ives Gilman is beating me out, but that is definitely something I can live with.) If you don’t have my novella yet, please download a copy!

“Looking Through Lace” FREE from now until Friday

I’m getting a little burned out on doing free promotions so often, so I’m using all the rest of my free promo days for my award-winning science fiction novella “Looking Through Lace” this week. Available for Amazon Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/Yseult-Tale-Love-Arthur-ebook/dp/B006SJLSDA/

I’m planning on taking it out of KDP Select after that, at least for a while, so get it free while you still can!

Becoming a writer again — switching from editing to writing

The last few weeks, months even, have mostly been spent either revising Shadow of Stone, or tweaking old short stories, formatting, and putting together collections. But for Shadow of Stone at least, an end is in sight. I wrote five freelance copy editors / proofreaders and have heard back from three. I should be able to make a decision on who to hire by the end of the week. Right now I’m going through the manuscript one last time in order to make a glossary, but of course I can’t resist tweaking as I go. 🙂

Once the book is off, though, I will have the time I was spending rewriting for writing again, which I am very much looking forward to. I plan to resist the temptation to put together another collection for at least a month so that I can get some languishing short stories finished. I also need to get back to my novel Fragments of Legend and finally finish that. Hopefully I haven’t forgotten how to actually make new words rather than shoving words around that are already there.

Reminder: my award-nominated novella “Looking Through Lace” is FREE today! Believe me, you’re doing me a favor if you grab yourself a copy, so please be my guest!

“Looking Through Lace” free tomorrow, March 14

I fear I’ve been neglecting my science fiction while concentrating on promoting my fantasy. Now, in order to celebrate my new science fiction collection The Future, Imperfect, I’m offering my Sturgeon and Tiptree Award nominee, “Looking Through Lace” as a free download tomorrow, March 14. It will only be available for 24 hours (at least this time *g*), so grab it while you can!

While I’m at it, I have some good news to report (besides the fan letter I got today, which I always love): Yseult is #2 in Arthurian Fantasy on Amazon! For a little while, it was even #1, but that was too late last night for me to write a coherent blog post, so you will have to take my world for it. Actually, you don’t — I took a screenshot of it, natch: 🙂

Yseult#1Arthurian

Please, pass the word along about “Looking Through Lace” tomorrow!

How Much Blog is Enough Blog? Or; how I doubled my fiction output in just one month!

I’ve been doing some reassessing (as well as a lot of fiction writing!), and both are part of the reason I haven’t been posting to my blog much lately. I’ve met tons of wonderful people through the blogosphere, but at some point I realized I was spending way too much time on this stuff, to the detriment of my fiction production. While I was reassessing, I read couple of posts that really struck a chord with me. In “Blog ennui and platforms built of bodies” Susan Bischoff summed up pretty much exactly the way I felt:

We’re all under so much pressure to publish content, any content, just to get it out there, on a regular basis, regardless of its quality. Okay, most of that’s pressure we put on ourselves because that’s what we do. But still, we’re not the freakin’ Borg and that idea’s coming from somewhere.

We’re going to commit to blogging three times a week. Doesn’t matter what we blog about. Doesn’t matter what our motivation is for typing the words on the screen, the important thing is just to get it out there and then go promote it. Do I know in my gut that this is a good post, that I wrote it for purpose, that I had something to offer? Screw that, doesn’t matter, promote that bitch and let’s get some numbers on that stats page. Because if we don’t, someone else will and we’ll be lost in the sea of social media noise. If we don’t stop moving we’ll die, DIE!!! and then this platform we’ve been struggling to build, body by b–er, I mean, plank by posty goodness plank of brilliance will be CRUSHED!

I had started feeling like I didn’t really have anything to say, but that’s no excuse: there’s this meme out there telling us if we don’t post at least twice a week, we’re committing social media suicide. I was spending so much time on writing posts and visiting other people’s sites and commenting and trying to be a good community member, it was getting hard to find the time to actually write fiction, which is what I supposedly do (when I’m not translating interfaces and computer manuals). Another thing was, after I started blogging twice a week, I didn’t see any real increase in ebook sales. Yes, my Twitter followers increased dramatically, from next-to-nothing to a little more than next-to-nothing. (For some reason, my number of Facebook “friends” is exploding, even though I don’t use Facebook much at all anymore. Go figure.) But sales? They just trickled along in the same leisurely way they had before.

So I stopped. I dived off the bridge and committed social media suicide. In the last month, I’ve only posted to my blog twice. And I’ve gotten about 36,000 words of fiction written. In the four weeks before that, my output was less than 16,000. Part of the increase in word count is of course due to the fun and games of Nanowrimo, but not all. I’m working on putting Writing First, and while I still get caught in the time trap of reading email when I should be writing, I tend to start writing earlier than I used to, as long as I remind myself of my new mantra: without fiction, platform is schmatform. And – SURPRISE! – when I spend more time on writing fiction, I get more words of fiction created.

A couple of other posts I would recommend in this context:

The Red Pen of Doom, “The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books”

Kait Nolan, “Social Media Ennui”

Kristen Lamb, “Beware the Social Media Snuggie–One Size Does NOT Fit All”

In other news, a Hungarian website put up an article talking about me and my novellas “Looking Through Lace” and “Beyond the Waters of the World,” as well as several other writers with free fiction up on the Internet. I can’t read it, but I still think it’s cool! One of these days, I’ll chase the thing through an online translator and get a chuckle at the results.

Another nice bit of recognition came from the new site for St Michael’s church in Harbledown near Cantebury, the church where the most likely candidate for the real Aphra Behn was baptized. They asked permission to link to my Aphra Behn page, and naturally I told them I would be honored.

I’m off to the next Villa Diodati workshop this week, so my fiction production will most likely drop off again, since I have to read a bunch of stories and write critiques. But at least after that I will have something to blog about — a workshop report. 🙂

Writing Progress Report

So, I’m mostly on track with my new goals. Since we got back from Norway, I’ve added 5000 more words to the medieval level of Fragments of Legend. I’ve also worked on two story collaborations with Jay Lake which should soon be ready to send out. (I think I’m going to have to revise my goals for sending out new stories upwards!)

Goal check:

– Write 5000 words a week – DONE!
– Get three short stories revised and out on the market – WORKED ON IT!
– Update my web page – No progress 😦
– Put two new collections of previously published stories up on Smashwords and Amazon – No progress 😦
– Get my novel Yseult up on Smashwords and Amazon before Christmas – No progress 😦 — but I am working on strategies for how to market it when I do get it up!

I need to add two more goals to the list:

– Fix file for Looking Through Lace on Smashwords (requires modification)
– Upload Looking Through Lace to Amazon again (I uploaded the new cover a while back, but it never got replaced, so I think I’ll just upload the whole thing all over again.)

New cover and some drafting

Still pretty busy with the latest translation project, and I haven’t had much time for writing fiction. That’s the problem with freelance work — when I have a deadline, it’s very hard for me to take time time off for fiction. I did, however, make a bit of a dent in my fiction to-do list. I did a lot of research for the medieval level of Fragments of Legend and did some tweaking on my outline. I’m hoping to get a more logical and compelling plot brainstormed than I had originally and then try to write the whole medieval story line more quickly than I usually do. I’ve noticed that I write faster when I know what it is that needs to be written, so this is a bit of an experiment. I want to see if getting a more detailed outline written beforehand will help me get a complete first draft written faster.

But first, this translation job has to be done.

With my daughter’s help and a little instruction in Photoshop, I also did a new cover for Looking Through Lace:

Looking Through Lace

What do y’all think? I uploaded it to both Smashwords and Amazon, but the Kindle version hasn’t updated the image yet, unfortunately.

I also received my first blog award this week, the Liebster Blog Award from Elizabeth Anne Mitchell! Thank you, my dear. 🙂 I will try to send it along in the next few days.

Entering the Ebook Era

I have finally gotten around to uploading my first ebook to Smashwords, my Tiptree and Sturgeon-nominated novella, “Looking Through Lace.” To celebrate the event, I have also generated a coupon, good for the next month, for 50% off. If you would like to download the story, use Coupon Code: YP88U at checkout!

I still have a bit to learn: while the pdf and mobi versions look good, the html preview has lost the formatting for the front matter. Eventually I’ll get the hang of it, I’m sure.