Feel a change coming on

Been playing around with separating my writing somewhat and then gave into temptation to look at themes. Feel a change coming on. Bit like clearing house, I’m starting to itch to give this place a makeover. A cleaner look website may be on its way in the next few weeks. Maybe sooner, but if later, I hope in time for the new year at least.

Writing wise, still trying to figure out an alternative title for a book I have in edits with Loose id. Goodness, is that a pain. I was only 90% happy with the title I chose, true, but I had thought of a secondary title in case I wanted to write a follow-up and now that title would also have to be scrapped. This is the side to writing no one writers think about. Things get change. Titles are rejected as not marketable or because the publisher already has a similar title on their books. In this case, they have a series using one of the words and they don’t want to confuse readers into thinking my book is part of that. Trouble is, I’m truly stumped for ideas. Often I cannot even begin to write until I know the title I’m going to use, but there’s always an exception and this was that time.

Also working on revamping another romance and expanding it into a trilogy, and looking forward to my next steampunk release. When I’m quiet, either life is getting in the way or I’m writing, but everyone who knows me can work that out.

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Why it helps writers to order from the publisher

Cat among the pigeons time.

Sales are down. Not just my sales. Author sales. Book sales. There’s been many recent reports indicating the average income for a writer to be around £11,000. And, Dear Reader, you thought writers were in this for the money.

What can help is in-house sales, but they are down the most. Print books…generally they go out to distribution, aka shops. I’ll be simplifying here so figures aren’t going to be accurate but to provide a basic idea, let’s say the author gets usually 7-10% but often that’s not even on the cover price. Not unless sold through the publisher. Books (print and electronic) pay this percentage on the income from the seller. So if a book sells at £5 and the shop takes £2, the profit shared by the publisher and writer is 90% to the publisher and 10% to the author of £3. My maths isn’t wonderful, but even I can guess that’s 30p. So, £2 to the store (possibly more), 30p to the writer, and £2.70 to the publisher. Doesn’t sound like much but what if we’re talking about a £18 hardback? These figures get a whole lot larger as does the discrepancy between them, and all three individuals have to pay taxes out of this.

I’m not saying don’t buy from bookshops. I’m saying do–for print. I’m one of those who hates the disappearance of the high street bookshop, and these shops may well take £6 or more of a £18 book but they have overheads and can’t discount the same way as supermarket chains.

On the other hand, electronic books generally earn the writer a larger cut, anything from 25 to 50% is average with some markets. Some books increase percentage after a number of sales so let’s say the author’s cut is at the highest end of the scale at 50%.

If sold in-house this means on a £5 book the writer and publisher split the price so a nice £2.50 each. Less for the publisher but a big difference for the writer from that 30p. Not all cuts are this high though. The split could be £1.25 to the writer and £3.75 to the publisher. Still a big difference to both. But if electronic books are sent out via a distributor they still take their cut just the same as any bookstore would, and this can vary tremendously.

And here is where it becomes necessary to point out to anyone who owns a reader that  suitable files are generally available direct from publishers now for all types of readers and tablets, and you get the ‘file’. You don’t rent it as when buying through certain online retailers. Please bear this in mind next time you reach for your reader and buy with a ‘click’ because as I said at the top of this, sales are down.

For writers. For their publishers. For some publishers in-house sales are a thing of the past. This means less profit for the writer and the publisher and is putting many at threat, especially on shorter and cheaper titles because one particular large well-known online retailer takes a far higher cut on those. FAR higher.

When you buy a book if you’re happy with a distributor taking 60% or more, and only 40% or less of the cover price being split between those who did the work then there’s probably nothing I can say to convince you. All I can say is that even if I weren’t writing, for all the authors I’ve ever loved (and no, not all of them are or ever will be ‘rich’) I know how this makes me feel on their behalf.

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My Writing Process Blog Tour

Pop by my blog to read my post for the Writing Process Blog Tour…and watch this space as I may be shuffling things up a bit to separate my writing genres a bit more. Otherwise, no real news except I’m writing and editing, and re-reading and re-editing things. Busy as always with life generally getting in the way a bit as it has done the last couple of years, but I’m busy working as always.

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Night to Dawn issue 26

Night to Dawn issue 26 available now. Contains my short story Night Train. Are a loving couple about to reach their final destination?

Night to Dawn 26

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Two Contracts Signed

I know a couple of people have been waiting to hear these announcements, which I released news of on Facebook first. Sorry about that. ;)

First, I have signed a contract to re-release Space, Man with Musa Publishing probably sometime next year. This is an interesting exercise for me. It was never sold out-of-house at Loose id, and when I came to edit it, I realised the writing was ‘almost there’ but not quite. My style understandably has changed. It’s an odd practise to look at your old work and to see it needs editing. It’s made me think about a few other earlier titles. Looking at them anew is painful, but also heartening — I can see where and how I’ve improved. So I sent in a re-edited version that Musa accepted and I am sure my editor, Helen, may have a few ideas to incorporate, too.

My second and maybe bigger announcement is that I’ve signed a contract for a new novel with Loose id. It’s called (unless it changes) Going Nowhere, and I can only describe it as a m/m paranormal detective erotic romance. Who said you can’t mix things up? *grin* No release schedule yet.

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So we’re all in it for the money

Writers are rich, right? It’s okay to steal books and therefore sales from them because publishers and writers are all ‘rolling in it’. They’ve got a cushy life, work from home, can roll out of bed when they want in the morning, type a few words on a page and their work for the day is done.

I won’t post a long discussion on how many ways these beliefs are so wrong when someone has already done it for me; check out this article:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/jul/08/authors-incomes-collapse-alcs-survey

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Here be Dragons!

I’ve appropriately returned from Cornwall, a well known county of legend. This week I’ve had the final edit for my next Space, 1889 offering, The Draco Eye, and one cannot get more legendary than the creature that inhabits Jupiter. Blurb coming soon, along with more writing news. In the meantime, enjoy my fabulous cover:

dracoMEDIUM

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A Difficult Choice to Make

I have a difficult choice to make. With a view to writing a third title in a series, I decided to read through the first two. I won’t say which series here and now, but a few readers would be pleased to hear this, and may even guess. My ‘plan’ immediately changed momentum for the simple reason that my writing has changed. Yes, hand on heart, I’ve improved. It’s a strange experience to look at an older work, spot mistakes. It’s also heartening. I can see how I’m so much better now.

The moment I started reading the first title I realised these books need an edit. My immediate decision was I would edit the first two titles as I read and then speed right into compiling the third. So that’s what I’m doing — barring other edits I’m awaiting and a short break I’m going to take soon, this is my WIP.

My next problem will be…once it’s done, what do I do with it next? I’ve just renewed the contract for the second book so I can’t do much of anything for a year, although the first title’s contract will be up for renewal before then. As far as I can see I have several choices open to me:

  • I can leave the two titles ‘as is’ with the publisher,  submit the third and just let them continue. But this begs the question do I want two good but slightly imperfect books to continue to represent me?
  • I can speak to the existing publisher about a re-issue with all three books.
  • I can approach a new publisher will all three books.
  • I can self-publish.

Then I come to the matter of print. Readers have asked for these books in print. If I self-publish, obviously I can provide them in print and e-book. Or I can discuss this possibility of print with perspective publishers, or look for one that provides this opportunity.

Fortunately, I have time to think. My first goal has to be editing and writing and having three complete manuscripts, whilst trying to ignore that little internal nagging voice that keeps rabbiting, “What shall I do? What shall I do?”

If anyone has a clue…fill me in. *laughing*

Categories: Writing | 2 Comments

Is it Summer Yet Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to the ‘Is it Summer Yet?’ Blog Hop courtesy of Julie’s Book Review.

10425658_900888576591705_1157062382_nI spent some time re-branding this site a couple of weeks ago. I call myself a multi-genre author, meaning I write as I read — anything and everything.

This isn’t altogether a good thing. It’s next to impossible to get a reader to follow across brands. There are readers out there, like me, who fall for any story that catches our interest, be it because I already know the work of the writer, or the cover grabs my attention. Or maybe the title, or the blurb, or I’m picking up something owing to someone’s recommendation. If I like a writer I tend to stick with them so if they switch genres, I’ve no problem with that and will trail right along. Even when a writer I love seems to lose whatever it is about their work I used to favour, I tend to remain loyal; it takes a lot for me to give up. I’m a collector.

Alas, I’m the same with my writing — my muse has a wandering interest. It’s not impossible to be a multi-genre writer, but it’s harder. It provides a wealth of story ideas, but makes the job to build a fan base more difficult. I decided I had to consider what I really wanted to write, and at least give people who stumble across my website a better idea. I settled on Writer of Dark and Light Fiction.

My romances tend to be in the GLBT category, and can be completely light and humourous, or deep and dark whether it’s paranormal, or some personal battle a character is going through. This is no more apparent than my latest title with Musa Publishing: Hard Pressed, which is both an Editor’s Top Pick, and a nomination for this year’s Rainbow Awards. I’m offering a copy to one lucky commenter here so read on below, and I will announce a winner at the end of the Hop.

***

hardpressed-200When one man has the worst of reputations and believes any misfortune befalling him is deserved, it’s hard to feel worthy of love. Can absolution arrive in three little words?

Journalist, Phillip Drake, is beginning to doubt the career he’s chosen, his motivation, his whole existence. Despite attempting a change of direction, his paper has informed him that’s not the sort of reporting they want. When an assignment arises — to trail up and coming, and coming out, actor, Gary Caldwell, he’s well aware it’s his duty to dig for dirt…and when Caldwell seems less than co-operative, Phillip half-convinces himself he’ll be happy to do so.

For Gary, the interaction is surprising — Drake is not all that he seems. Despite trying to be cautious, Gary has always been attracted to the reporter and finds it difficult to maintain a distance. Something is going on with Drake — not least of all the surprising revelation when Gary realises Drake is gay, and the attraction is mutual.

After an intimate encounter, Drake disappears and Gary sets out to unravel a mystery that not only involves tracking down the reporter’s whereabouts, but may also explain why Drake has done the things he has, why Drake harbours more than a little self-hate and more than emotional scars, and why the one thing Drake doesn’t believe he deserves — love — is the one thing he’s worthy of.

***

My non-romance work seems to contain a dark thread, be it horror, or crime, or even gothic with erotic elements, but I’m willing to try anything a little different. When approached to write for the steampunk series, Space, 1889 and beyond…how could I refuse?

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fistfulSMALL

Phobos, fearful son of Mars. A moon often likened to a diseased potato…but is there more to the legends surrounding the satellite than mere rumour? Drawn to Mars as part of a covert mission the team of the Esmeralda 2 are waylaid by Sir Henry Routledge, governor-general of Syrtis Major. Although at first reluctant to take on an additional mission — a search for a missing man — they change their minds upon hearing one Henry Barnsdale-Stevens has gone missing on Phobos, the mysterious moon of Mars that many say inspires fear.

The explorers set out for Phobos believing they may well find the minerals they’ve been looking for, and save a man’s life. Another myth calls to them — the strange monolith that rises from Phobos’ surface…but does it extend below? The team discover this is not an ill-formed ‘bit of rock’, nor a remnant of the Stickney crater impact. It’s much more mysterious and marvellous for there are words and drawings on the stone.

What secrets does Phobos conceal, and why does it inspire dread? Will the team manage to survive long enough to find the answers? Their descent beneath the surface may lead to the most amazing discoveries yet.

***

So let’s talk about genre. What do you love/loathe? Write? Read? Why? Anything you have to say on genre, sticking to one or writing several, say it below before you hop to another blog. And a big thank you for dropping by.

 

And the winner issssssss

Screen shot 2014-06-02 at 09.40.33

…Mindy. However, summer is imminent and I’m feeling generous so I want to give away a special award to Jim for the best comment I’ve received in a long while. I’ll be in touch.

Categories: Event, Writing | 12 Comments

Amazed to be so Pleased

Writers’ emotions fluctuate. It happens during the writing of a story — as we imagine what our characters must be feeling, we suffer with them. It happens when we start a story, when we finish it. There’s that heady rush of let’s get started with this new and great idea, and sometimes we’re elated when the story is flowing or there’s a grind as we struggle through the middle. Then we get another glow when the first draft is finished. During personal edits there’s the delight when we think ‘this bit is good’, the crushing blow when we realise a chapter not only sucks, but blows too.

We finally polish a manuscript to what we imagine is perfection and submit it to then receive rejection or acceptance, and even if things go our way, and the book finds a home, we open first round edits with trepidation, alternatively cheering or sobbing over the changes our editors want. Once published, we then have to decide whether to read and/or take on board any comments made by critics and reviewers. We feel it all.

Writers are plagued — by joy, by frustration, by self-doubt, and a whole plethora of emotions too many to mention here.

Imagine my delight, therefore, when I came to edit Hard Pressed. There were errors — I won’t fool you, Dear Reader, or myself over that. I wanted to scream and rant because the good AND the bad news was my mistakes were stupid things I should have spotted. So, an easy fix, though I couldn’t work out why I hadn’t seen them and said to my editor I must have been wearing blinkers. What was I thinking? Mostly, it was a case of repeated words, phrases, too many sentences starting the same way. I know to look for these things so why didn’t I see them? Maybe because I had worked so hard to figure out my MC (Main Character) and getting the most important part of the book right — what was going on in his life, and why he deserved love. Because the book was good and my editor loved it so much as to make it a Top Pick, I was not entirely disheartened. I felt stupid, but not put out. I had created no plot holes, and no major mistakes.

This week I picked up a romance I drafted last year and which I have to get around to submitting somewhere. I had intended to do this far sooner in the year, but I’ve been working on other projects. I like to let my work ‘sit’. Doing so allows me to view it with a fresh eye, but it’s also a strange experience. When I come across something good, there’s this almost odd detachment from it for me, as if I can’t quite believe I created a good character, or a good story, or got ‘that little bit’ — yes, that bit, right there — just right.

This draft wasn’t as difficult as Hard Pressed to write, but I wouldn’t call it easy, and yet I was surprised. The style is all mine, is just ‘there’ — I can see where it’s developed over time and how it continues to do so. The story flows, and apart from a few tweaks, I’ve not found much to change. I draft in Scrivener so once I’m through with this read-through I will export it to re-read in another format. It will receive one or two more edits before I submit it, and I admit I’ve not reached the end yet, so I may still find some glaring faux pas lying in wait, but today…

Today, I’m experiencing an emotion I wish would last and last and last: I am completely amazed to be so pleased.

Categories: Writing | 2 Comments