Monday, February 28, 2011

Where We Are

In the film LadyHawke the bishop  says "Great storms announce themselves with a simple breeze, Captain".
Whether the breeze of ebooks is announcing a storm or not is hard for some to say.  I had a conversation with a Christian writer this month who was very sure this breeze is announcing nothing.

From her POV it may look like that.  Christian publishing is extremely vital and she's selling books like crazy.  I don't know there's a market for digital Christian novels.  Yet.

For others in the legacy business, many are in denial.  The barbarians are at the gates while the elitists continue on as though nothing has changed.  To them, they have every reason to continue the pretense they are still in control.  Some people can't bear to confront reality no matter how much they claim to be "reality-based".

The storm is announcing itself.

Listen!  The Storm Also Calls To Us: Be Daring

Saturday, February 26, 2011

What Floats To Shore On Saturday

Apparently a wholesaler is selling ereaders for £ 30 in the UK.

<5% of YAs are digital sales.  (When this changes, yippee!)
I read a blog post on Writer's Digest about effective covers.  Most of it I have said to you already--readable, big title, think in terms of thumbnail-- except they basically said don't do it yourself. 

I also read a blog post which said traditional publishing is like Marxism.  Bleed the proles dry.

These last two paragraphs are linked by the confidence those in traditional publishing have that you cannot do your book better than they can.  Joe Konrath said a short while back that no one in the real world works on a royalty basis like publishing (or entertainment).  You give them your book.  They edit it once, they make a cover once, they do the publicity once, and in perpetuity for all known and unknown reaches of the galaxy they are entitled to more profit than you receive.  Everything is weighted in their favor, it is in their best interests to assure you that you are dope without them, you need them and you're not "certified" until you are published by them.

Off-Topic slightly--Introduce yourself to the great American writer, Walker Percy.  He was a physician from Louisiana and so marvelously a clear thinker that you will do yourself a favor to read his work.  That's where "certified" comes from.

Yes, I understand, easy for me to say.  I've been certified.  But it's still illusory.  Be certified in a new way this century by creating your own lovely, intelligent digital book and finding your audience.

And while you're introducing yourself to marvelous writers, read Laurie Colwin.  You can learn more about writing from her than anything I can think of.  What do these two have in common?  Clean, crisp writing, sleek, pointed, aerodynamic.  They're both compassionate observers with an intense understanding of human behavior.

I'll end by saying Not Low Maintenance is (for me) skyrocketing in sales at Amazon this month.  It's #40 in it's category.  Even if its review says it's too much about food for people on a diet.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ruminations While Waiting For The Storm

Sure, another snow combo storm is predicted for today and tomorrow.  I've had enough of winter as I'm sure most people have.

I used to write for One Life To Live.  I have a peculiar history with this show as I watched it for years before I was hired.  That made it very easy to step in because I knew everything.  But every few years they take a bad misstep and I wind up quitting them.  When they killed off Dave Siegal I quit for years.  Then when they had a Dr. Mengele style whackjob implanting devices in Larry Wolek's brain, I quit for years.  I may quit now because it's just so poorly written.  I'm starting to miss the dialogue because I'm shrieking so loud.  I think audiences are extremely forgiving but you can't mistreat them forever.

Are soaps a reflection of the society or not?  I think they are.  Unfortunately they are reflecting a culture I'm not so crazy about.  When I was at Another World Betsey and I protested a teenage girl moving in with a late 20's doctor.  We said "Mothers across America are screaming." Last night on OLTL two teens were desperately attempting to have sex, the mother knows this is going on and is ok with it and I thought mothers across America are not screaming.  Couple yeah, but not enough to make the producers take notice.

There was an incident last week.  A young Catholic boy defaulted his wrestling match because his opponent was a girl.  One thing he said was so poignant.  "This is some man's future wife and he wouldn't want her touched in this manner."

I believe this is true and correct.  I also believe any man who will marry Cassy won't care.  She'll probably be atouched plenty before she gets married, if she bothers to do something as retro as getting married, because that's the way it is now.  Sex is commonplace to most young people now.  It's not sacred, it's not special, it's an activity. 

I'm sure I'm in the minority.  There are people irritated by the notion that she could be perceived like chattel (favorite word) and she's not a possession that can be sullied by a mere man.  It's her choice if she wants to wrestle or be touched.  It's none of any man's damn business.  Okay.  That is the other POV.

One thing I can say for sure, there were mothers across American screaming for Joel's phone number because that's just the lovely kind of young man their daughters deserve.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Building a Cover

Okay.  Let's see if we can have this make sense.

I read Chris' book years ago.  I don't remember much about it.  Someone is reviewing a murder case.

While he did have Photoshop experience in the past, he hasn't worked with it in years.  And it wasn't on any of his computers at home.  Chris sent me this image he tinkered together with some program.

Wrong shape.  1000 pixels X 1500 pixels.  Start with the correct shape and configuration.
It's arty, good for a gallery show but you can't tell what any of this is.  Too much text for a novel.  

Then he sent me this.  Apparently the book has something to do with a doll but I'm not sure.  This did give me an idea. What are the lines over the image?  They're supposed to represent puzzle pieces, some are missing, that's the black parts.   I don't think it works.  It's cluttered, you can't tell.  Or at least I can't tell.

I did a quick image search and turned up this

Wrong shape.  But I specifically looked for something with high enough resolution that could be manipulated and I wouldn't lose clarity.  It was also way too dark.  So I tweaked it and configured it correctly.  (Come on, it's not that complicated!)  And I added a watermark just now but ignore it.

I was happy.  Now to the text.  I wanted something bilious.  You can get fonts that are distressed looking, but I did it myself.  You simply use a grunge brush on the text.  There are tutorials you can follow.  It's easy.

Didn't show up.

This didn't work either.

This was it.  I placed it on top of the image.  You know me, I like to echo colors that already exist in the image.  I used the blue of the eye for his name and I was done.

I'm sure I haven't convinced some how really easy this is.  I didn't convince Chris!

I'll let you know when he gets it published and I certainly encourage you to buy a copy because he has pushed the envelope of what is being done with graphics and images in a digital book.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Morning Thought Dump

Heather asked yesterday what promotion I do for my ebooks.  I don't.  I did try to hang around the Nook Forum and Kindleboards but I actually don't think of it.  I think there is logic behind it.  My books don't fall into what they seem to be excited by.  I encourage everyone else to do it.

Reviews.  Great.  No one that I know of  is reviewing middle reader books.  Or YA for that matter.  If you wrote a thriller kind of thing you can approach Red Adept for a review.  Of all my books only Not Low Maintenance was reviewed.  It got 5 stars, I'm sure the review is buried by now so I don't see how it can be a help.

So do I have a reason why my books are found at all.  What sell sells.  If you get on a list--the top 100 or whatever--it's easy to be found.  Because the book is selling, it sells more.  Charlie (Dream Horse) and Summer Horse have both been on the top something lists at Amazon and Nook for about 3 months.  They sell because they're easy to find.

There is no better advice than from King Joe himself.  Have a good, eyecatching cover.  Write a scintillating description--yes, I hate doing it, it's like writing a query letter in that I have to be in the right mood for it.  Tag your books.  I still don't know the alchemy of how you're found.  People must search based on their own preferences or desires of the moment.

One thing I have most writers coming to this don't have, is my entire lifetime of being a writer.  So I have lots of books listed on amazon, some aren't digital, some I don't have the rights to.  It's all self-referring.  And I've going through most of my digital books to put in pointers to other works.  If you liked Not Low Maintenance, maybe you'll like Sweeps.  

The best advice I can offer and always offer is--DO YOUR BEST WORK.

A friend wrote a very inventive book quite a few years ago.  Again mainstream publishing didn't understand it.
He has finally decided to go forward with it.  He's such a good writer but like some of our compatriots here, he has no faith in his ability to do a cover.  So I'm going to do one for him and perhaps he'll let me use the images as a tutorial for you.  It's likely to be a very simple cover.

Let me stress now that you are better off with something simple.  If you have a strong image, you don't need anything else.

Take a look at the Bad Apple cover.  What's that.  A close-up of a bad apple.  And the title.  I don't think I'll change it.  Someone suggested a gun on the cover would be stronger but here's the thing--it's not what I want.  Apparently I'm willing to lose potential sales in order to offer my sincere artistic vision.  The whole Bad Apple series isn't catching on the way I would like but I want to write it.  

So that's something a writer always faces.  Do you write for the market or do you write to express something in you.

In Bad Apple 1, I quoted from The Thomas Gospel.  This is part of the Nag Hammadi Library, fragments of original Biblical writings discovered in a cave in the 20th Century.  There are some scholars who believe The Thomas Gospel may well be the only recording of what Jesus actually said. 

If you bring forth what's inside you, what's inside you will strengthen you.
If you do not bring forth what's inside you, what's inside you will destroy you.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Making Enemies of The People You Need

I'm on a list for Avalon writers.  Most of them just love everything about it.  I don't get it, to be honest (and you know I'm honest).  

Say it takes 6 months to write a book.  Say you can't get it published anywhere else.  Then a flat fee of $1000 and a professionally (I had to look for a word) produced hardcover book as the result, under certain circumstances can seem to be a good thing.

But, still, it's nothing to rejoice over.  You sold your hard work for a pittance, you've experienced a parade of editors and you're not going to reach the public.  You're going to reach library sales.  Of a certain kind.  You're not getting any royalties and if you are so misguided is a possible word you would sell them forthcoming books as well, you have dug a hole for yourself.  You now have no money and not much of an audience.

Avalon has certain procedures which benefit them (as if it all doesn't benefit them) and don't consider the writer at all.  Blah blah blah.  Like they don't pay in a timely fashion.

Someone wrote a long rant against the publisher recently (well-founded and well-stated) crickets chirped in response.  I think most of the very nice ladies were shocked into silence.

I would think this is the very last thing you would want is to have authors really furious with you and praying you will hate their next book so they don't have to deal with the right of first refusal.  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  We are moving to a point where the only people who will submit work to traditional publishers will be unpublished writers or those who haven't been....(searching for a word) mistreated (didn't think I could find something that wasn't a vulgarity did you) by tradpub already.

Joe Konrath had a good post about the numbers of it all.  You make money FOREVER on an ebook.  That book that the publisher gave you $1000 or $100,000 was underpriced.  It will be remaindered, pulped, forgotten in less than a year if traditionally published.  It will never earn back its advance.  I don't know what more to say.  

So I wrote to Ms Ranter and told her my situation.  Ebooks aren't attractive to her and they're so much work, time, investment in promotion.  She has a niche market and she could well be right.  For now.  We don't know what's going to happen in 6 months or a year.  No one knows.  Not even Joe.

But promotion?  I don't do it.  I should.  I still don't.  I put The Virgin Warrior up this week to no fanfare.  Someone found it and bought it.  If you have a good book, readers will find you.  That's not true in traditional publishing.  Books aren't given time to find an audience.  Difficult, challenging, off-genre books aren't published at all.

Have I said this before?  Not Low Maintenance is all about Jews.  No one wanted this book because it was too nichey.  It's not only my bestselling adult book, it grows in strength every month.  And readers either don't realize all the characters are Jewish or it doesn't matter.  It's just a good book (although very far-fetched as we've discussed earlier).

the great Helen Hokinson

Saturday, February 19, 2011

OMG best book ever

Wow, how can I be unmoved by a review like that?  But I did what?  And I need to write another book?  Read Summer Horse and then we'll talk.


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars Dream horse, February 18, 2011
This review is from: Dream Horse (Kindle Edition)
OMG best book ever. I really loved this book.but u wrote l's as a one.U really half to write another book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I think what makes these 2 books work is they're actually about girls dealing with horses.  It seems that some of the Saddle Club or whatever books are more about bitchy girls, heavy on the competition and not so much of the riding life.  I'm sure that appeals to many readers because they like did a tv show about the saddle whatever, right.  Well Disney was interested in Charlie for a time, so I don't feel ignored.

I would also like to point out to ALL the agents who said I and my writing style is hopelessly mired in the past that this book is 30  years old and it's selling like hotcakes at Amazon this month.

Isn't this just too cute?  (Look at how nice and tight his knees are, good little jumper pony.  He probably took a really big leap to propel her that far out of the saddle but she's keeping the form so well.)  Good job!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Creating the Framework

I don't know how instructive this will be but I'll try to explain the steps as I think about a new book.

My horse books sell well so I've been encouraged to write a new one.  Problem--no idea.  Then I remembered, vividly, an incident from when I had my stable and was teaching quite a number of students.  It wasn't just the incident, it was the situation this student was in.  She may not have been particularly interesting in real life but dramatically, there is something there.

Now I have to think about whether she's the main character or is the story told through someone else's eyes.  Does she have the biggest transformational arc or does someone else.  What do I mean by transformational arc?  Usually the main character starts at A and winds up at Z.  You want to see them change and grow.

Okay say Miss Smith goes from A to Z.  Good for her.  What if Miss Smith makes this journey but we have another character, Miss Williams, that also goes from A to Z but for other reasons? That's another layer of complexity to the story.  It also gives us an A and a B story.  I like that better.

We need a C story.  Do we need some comic relief?  That's always good.  And it should have nothing to do with the plot of the A or B story although it may intersect at times.  I have a thought about this.  It's a little like mud daub.  When you build a wall, there are always spaces that need to be filled in.  This C story can be thrown in whenever the story needs a little tweak, when it needs a respite.  I'll bet the characters learn from it, too, but I don't know how right now.

No, I'm not going to start writing, I'm going to look for incidents that move the characters from A to Z.

What's Z?  Plotwise, I have no idea.  Thematically, I want the characters to get to a place where they have sacrificed for someone else.

Already this becomes a story that has something to say.  That's not very commercial.  It would be better to have no one sacrifice and someone just win the Grand Championship at the horse show.  That's really easy to understand.  I doubt if I could maintain my interest in the book for that long and I have to live with the thing.  I'll think about dumbing it down, though.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Still More Talk About Covers

I was dismayed (as much as I could muster which admittedly wasn't a lot since I'm still under the weather) to see the comments from yesterday's post about covers.  I am o'er washed with a feeling of sorrow to see anyone limit themselves.

I never designed a cover before Impossible Charlie.  Yes I was a photographer, so yes, I was exposed to composition early in my adult life.  You can find sites where artistic or photographic composition is explained with many illustrations.  You can look at great art.  You can study covers.  You can learn.  You can grow.

This is a moment in history when writers should be feeling empowered.  Try to expand your skills.  Try to create a cover.  It took me probably 8 hours a days for about 4 months to become somewhat competent in Photoshop basics.  I did the tutorials online, I researched every question until I had the answer.  All knowledge is power. 

To be brutally frank, far too many writers feel quite confident and empowered to be publishing their work with no reason to be so pleased with themselves.  I've never yet heard (I was a creative writing teacher for a while) a writer express doubt that the work was good enough and they just didn't have what it took to keep going.  Even when that was so obvious to everyone who read the material.

Have you ever seen the American Idol auditions?  Does anyone try-out thinking they didn't put in enough effort?  That would be a big no.

So maybe our commenters are 100% correct in their assessment of their design capabilities.  Not everyone can design.  Not everyone can write.  Maybe a cover designer is needed.  Maybe an editor is needed.

But I'm still going to be encouraging those brave souls to take everything in their hands and give it a whirl first.  The great thing about ebooks is you can change them endlessly until you get it right.

The golden rectangle in artistic composition

Learn More About Artistic Composition

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Talk About Covers

It occurred to me that yesterday there were probably some who said "Yeah, easy for you to say, you have Photoshop!"

There's nothing easy about Photoshop as everyone well knows who's been here since the blog's inception.  But yes, if you don't have a copy and cannot for the life of you figure out how to get a copy, here are a couple suggestions.  GIMP is a freeware graphics program that will make it possible for you to build a cover.  For a smallish amount of money, compared to Photoshop, Corel Draw is excellent and is quite sympathetic to newbie users.  Shop around for a legacy version and you'll be very pleased.

Once  you know a couple common techniques, using these programs will enable you to create the same kind of covers you see on traditionally published books.  I do advise you to learn the whole layer thing.  You might not know what that is now, but once you start learning the program, you will be confronted with it  Layers are your friends.  They will isolate potential mistakes and make changes simple.

Cover images for ebooks are still in their infancy.  I expect that over the next year they will become far more sophisticated and designed more for the thumbnail view.  Tradpub books are designed for bookstores.  That they are displayed at BN or Amazon, is an afterthought.  This will change.  So you do want to be aware that anything you design must be understood in a quite small size.

I think I probably failed that test with Virgin Warrior.  There's an awful lot of detail in the image and the text is fairly small in thumbnail size.  But it was a trade off because in the large size, it all looks swell.  Like anything, it was an artistic choice as well as time and energy investment.  If it was a book, I probably would have done it differently but since it's one story, I was willing to do halfway there.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Brief Cover Discussion

I had a retold Carolingian tale so I decided to take out all the Pre-Raphaelite art and publish it.  But I needed a cover.

 I found this

Obviously sort of Arts & Craftsy, William Morrisy,  tail end of the Pre-Raphaelites.  And from 1913 so in public domain.  Not perfect perhaps but then again, free and no one is going to come back complaining.

I had to take out the Capitol Building because it wasn't going to exist for another 900 or so years.  I had to photoshop out their text and replace it with mine.   I'm not sure what the big grey thing is that looks like a sheep but it's too hard to remove so it stays.  I did a minimal outer glow around the text to make it stand out from the background a little better than plain white did.

I like to stay with colors that already exist in the artwork.  You can easily duplicate any color that's there with the photoshop sampling tool.  That "orange" comes from her cloak.

I think it's successful and I mention it so you can see how simple a pretty attractive cover image can be. 

Monday, February 14, 2011


As I've said, Not Low Maintenance is my strongest selling adult novel.  I'm very gratified.  I like the characters, I liked being with them and I still like being with them.

I got a review (!) on this book at Amazon.  It's always nice, well, it's most of the time very nice, to think someone took time to write their impressions down provided (unlike urrgg) they read the book.  This reader actually read the book, and closely.  Thank you for that.

I will readily admit I'm someone who is easily confused.  I don't make any pretense of understanding modern life or pop culture.  I understand, not for me to decide how well, my little corner.  It took a long long time to figure it out, and I give all the credit to my rabbi for giving me the tools to do so.

Ms Reader says Not Low Maintenance is far-fetched.

Excuse me?  No, really, I want to understand.  Since when have romantic comedies been reality-based?  (Does this hold true for all fiction?  Are we going to say Amanda Hocking's books about vampires are a little far-fetched?)

The filmic peak, perhaps, of romantic comedies was in the 1930's.  Preston Sturges invented the screwball comedy and everyone's been copying him ever since.  You remember Bringing Up Baby where Kate Hepburn had a pet leopard (whatever it was) and Cary Grant was trying to piece together a dinosaur skeleton?  Do you remember My Man Godfrey where William Powell was a wealthy man living at the city dump, found and rescued by Carole Lombard in a treasure hunt?  He went on to become the family butler/babysitter.

Here we have one of my favorites (because I just love Joel McCrea), Palm Beach Story.  The husband has a plan to build an airport suspended over NYC.  In order to help him achieve this goal, the wife, Claudette Colbert, leaves him to find and marry a millionaire in Palm Beach to invest in this project.

So compared to that, I thought Not Low Maintenance was quite reality-based.  Even if there was a murder by poppyseed cake.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Our coyotes don't wear bandanas.  They're not cute.  But I was very upset when I hit one with my car a while back.  My rabbi had to explain it all to me, then I felt a tiny bit better but I still didn't want to be the instrument of its passing.

The coyotes in the hills are singing this evening.  Maybe they're celebrating that it's a good 40 degrees warmer than last night.  Last night was brutal cold.  Everyone had problems.  The man up the road had his fuel oil congeal.
There's no salt in the valley--the kind you put on ice so you don't break your neck or can get the car out of the drive.

Why am I saying any of this? 

This is the texture of life.  The details that tell the audience so much with so few words.  Paint your stories with all the colors your palette offers, don't get hung up on the monochromatic world.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thinking Things Thru

I admit it, I'm in the lifelong habit of watching soaps.  But gimme a break with the doppelganger stories!

When I was working on One Life I thought Days of Our Lives was superbly written.  I was in awe of Sherry Anderson and her staff.  Things have changed, of course.  People burn out, they leave, they whatever.  What soap writers don't do is go on to writing movies to my knowledge.  They can barely make it to nighttime.

Writing a soap opera.  This is really really hard to do.  I can't convey how difficult it is to put out an hour show (thanks, Paul, that was a bad idea) 5 days every week of the year for freaking ever.

Now on Days Sami is sleeping with Faux Rafe and doesn't notice?

When I used to go into story meetings the producer would say "Keep your main character smart".  How does this make Sami smart?

I'm perfectly happy to shout at the television set.  But is that good if you have the audience guffawing at you.  They will put their entertainment investment elsewhere eventually and for daytime television there has been a steady degradation in audience numbers for years.

Why?  They tell stupid stories.
Why do they do that?  There's not enough time to think anything through.  (Go back to the 5 days a week forever thought.)

Daytime will eventually die.  But digital books will be forever.  Again I find myself trying to give what's perhaps antiquated advice but it's a calling for me and you came here for me.  Unless it was for an image.

Everything has been said before but it can be refreshed, it can become new again if you think it thru.  If there are 15 plots, you're not going to be the 1 writer in 1000 years who comes up with something new.  What's new to the plot is you.  You can infuse it with your experience, your perceptions and your style.   You can make your characters smart and clever and lead  the reader to unexpected places.

At some point the excitement of digital books will wear off.  Yes, this is true.  Then we will be back to the audience expecting a cracking good story.

This is way, way fun!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I know I've been rambling lately.  Probably because of a fairly large change in my life.  So for those of you interested in your work, let's have a reminder about dialogue.  Dialogue is not talking.  It's not conversation.  It seems like it is but it's not.  Keep it specific.  What is your character trying to convey?  Next, what are you trying to convey.  Can you say it in fewer words?

Why should you?

I honestly don't know.

I saw that HP Mallory's paranormal romances are over 100,000 words each.  In the past, only a book like Gone With The Wind was that long.  This is, to me, a very long book.  I'm surprised that with our much touted short attention spans, people actually rush to these books.  In order for me to read something that long, it would have to be beautifully written and realized.  Certainly with HP Mallory's success, many people think they are wonderful and I'll have to give it a whirl one of these days.

Are people actually reading all the words or are they just skimming to the "good parts".  Long ago I took out all the parts people, or I, would skim over.  I thought that was a public service.  Now we're into a Charles Dickens kind of mode where the more words you have the better.

If you have the sales, I suppose there's no reason to change anything.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

So in about 100 years we went from Robert Browning saying "A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?"  To "Git 'er dun!"

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In a Perfect World I Could Include This in Bad Apple #3

One of the characters is dashing back and forth across the country.  This should be in the book.  For now, pretend.  Eventually such things will be possible.

Time Is Flowing Like a River

I've always loved The Alan Parsons Project.  As I was thinking about all the hours/days and yes even years I could be said to have been stalled because of tradpub, suddenly this song came to me.

Many years ago, Atheneum  was my publisher.  And, I know, unbelievably it was before computers or printers or copiers at home.  I needed to copy something so I went to my favorite town that had an office supply store.  That day I met a man I considered, for years,  my best friend.  Allen Atkinson was an illustrator.  He was so incredibly talented and creative.  We eventually worked together and it was perfect.  He would practically perform the scene and I would turn it into words.  We shared so much my husband at the time was irrationally jealous.  Allen and I both liked men.  We also loved Alan Parsons. 

Allen has been gone for many years now but I'm sure he would have been into computer animation and graphics and everything else.  He, too, was abused by tradpub, to some degree.  I'm sure he would have taken his career into his own hands and created unimaginable worlds the hacks in publishing can't fathom.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Many Months Later- Rejection City

Thank you for letting me consider BAD APPLE. I read your pages with interest, but after some deliberation I just don't think I'm the right agent for this project, although it's clear to me that it promises to be a fine book.

I'm sorry to disappoint you, but others will surely feel differently and I certainly wish you every success.



XXXXXXXXXX Literary Agency

Okay I give her points for being nice.
I don't understand it.

"It's going to be a fine book but I don't represent fine books, thank you for thinking of me!"

I had to think for a moment, what book is this?  Then I realized, that was the Bad Apple that is selling nicely. 

Just let me say this for anyone new to the blog.  The book is published and selling.  I have the satisfaction of knowing it's reaching an audience.  The 2nd in the series is published and selling.   I have the satisfaction of knowing it's reaching an audience.  

If I had put my life on hold for tradpub, I would be NOWHERE now.

Why did I bother?  I knew I was going digital with it the moment it was finished.  My books don't sell in the vast numbers that other more commercial writers do, and I can use the money from an advance. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Quite a few years ago I wrote a book called Inhibitions.  I was attempting yet another foray into commercial fiction.  I got an agent for it, she loved it, and began sending it around.  By the response, editors weren't reading this book for meaning.  I was shocked.  This simple, straight-forward piece of women's fiction was eluding them.  I rewrote it to take out objectionable (graphic sex pretty much) material.  No one liked Fling any better than Inhibitions although one editor did say the writing was lyrical.

I put it aside and I think I did Not Low Maintenance next (which also no one wanted).  I proceeded with all the things you know I've done in the last few years but I resisted Fling for a number of reasons but the main one being--how many times am I gonna take a big hit on this one?  To me, there is so much specificity of emotion in this book, and an exhibition of far more emotional bravery than I possess (as proven by the years it took me to go forward), that I saw no purpose in opening it and me up to more uncomprehension.

I don't know what's changed but I'll get it published today.  It was born to be in the world and it was said well.

My sincere advice is to always write commercial fiction.  Copy what other people are doing and what's successful.  Don't bother yourself with plumbing the deepest depths.  No one cares.  Especially for digital where so many books cost less than a comic book, it's worth less than a happy meal. 

One thing I have noticed over my long career and I don't see this has particularly changed, is that it's a lot more acceptable to write difficult, important material for the Young Adult audience than adult readers.