Monday, April 19, 2021

Another Duke Underway

Duke Noble 2 got its start Friday night.  It's standing at 4441 words right now.  I like the idea and I like where it's going.  

For those of you who aren't aware, I never know what's going to happen in a story until I write it.  It's my process.  And for me, doing it this way keeps it fresh and it keeps me interested.  The one time I mapped everything out in a story before I wrote it*, the writing bored the hell out of me.  I knew what was going to happen.  It comes out better if I don't know ahead of time.

Sure, this means I occasionally write myself into a corner and have no idea how to get out again.  Generally, I cut a window and climb out.  Sometimes I walk across the paint and start anew.  Either way, I'm not bored.  And if the writer is bored writing the story, the reader is going to be bored, too.  None of us wants that.

So, I'm feeling my way through another Duke book.  And like I said, I like where it's going.  Right now, it picks up after Rumor Has It - with Duke arriving back at his office in the city where he gets a call that sends him racing out the door to solve another mystery.  A dead body, a mistaken identity, a missing man... and that's all I've got right now.  Should be fun finding out what happens, though.

I've started gathering things for the cover shoot.  Right now, I'm thinking a drink and a cigar.  Maybe an old revolver, if I can find one that won't break my budget.  

In other news, I set up a sale.  A Model Curse will have all its books on sale starting tomorrow.  99c each.  I'll post something about that in the morning.

If you're a writer, do you know what's going to happen in your books before you write them?  If you're a reader, what do you like better: mysteries you can solve or ones that keep you in the dark until the end?

*My second book - Nature of Fear (aka Caldera) - which probably won't ever see the light of readership.  I'd read some stuff that suggested a writer needs to know where the story is going in order to write it.  Man, was that ever bad advice for me.  It might work for some, so I'm not trashing it for everyone.  Just for me.  Bad idea, B.E... and I haven't done it since.

Friday, April 16, 2021

All Sixteen Now Available in Paperback

All sixteen of my novels are available in paperback now.  Mission accomplished.  Now I need to get off my ever-widening ass and write another book.  (Yes, the proofs have their own table and are held in place by two gnomes.)


Serial Crime Investigation Unit (S.C.I.U.)

Dying Embers

Fertile Ground

Early Grave

Dennis Haggarty Mysteries

Accidental Death

Natural Causes

Duke Noble, P.I.

Rumor Has It

Once Upon a Djinn

Wish in One Hand

In Deep Wish

Up Wish Creek

Wish Hits the Fan

A Model Curse

Sleeping Ugly

Ugly and the Beast

Cinder Ugly

Single Title

Project Hermes

Blink of an I

Unequal


Monday, April 12, 2021

Dystopian Novels to Hold in Your Hot Little Hands

First off, I'd like to say that the print versions of Blink of an I and Unequal are gorgeous.  Big, beautiful books with loads of awesome inside. 


And I'd also like to say that both of them are available for sale at Amazon*.  So if you want one in your hot little hands, click one of those links up there.  If you want to know more about them, click this link that takes you to my blog page devoted to those dystopians.  

If you enjoy books like Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, Anthem, 1984, etc., these are the books for you.  Unlike some of the newer dystopians, these end well.  I promise.  I am unable to write a book without some kind of happily-ever-after. doncha know.  I like to think readers will be cheering at the end.  I know I was.

Of course, they're both still available in ebook form.  Buy them there, or read them through your Kindle Unlimited subscription.  

If you do, I'd appreciate it if you dropped a review, too.  It would really give me a happy.  (Well, if it was positive, I'd be ecstatic.)

*They're only available at Amazon because in order to make them available elsewhere, I would have to jack the price up another couple dollars and I just can't bring myself to do that to you.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Why Print Books? And Other Fun.

My proofs for Blink of an I and Unequal are supposed to arrive today.  Umm... I'm not really sure what's going on with UPS here...


I looked up Monee and Hodgkins.  They're both suburbs of Chicago.  Earth City is a suburb of St. Louis.  So, according to this, my proofs went from Chicago to Chicago to St. Louis, back to Chicago, over to Bloomington (in the middle of IL) to St. Louis again and then spent the day there.  Seeing the sights, I assume.  (Note: Checked again after this posted and the package arrived at the closest UPS location at 4:19am.  They'd better get cracking and get it on a truck because our driver leaves out of there pretty damn early.)

As soon as they get here, I'll check them out and if everything is kosher, I'll approve them for sale.  Not that I expect sales, but it's nice to have them available.  It'll be nice to finally hold these books in my hot little hands.  Hopefully, decreasing the font from 11pt to 10pt doesn't make them hard to read.  (All my other paperbacks are 11pt.)  I want them to be legible but I also want them to be cost effective... ya know?

Meanwhile, the author copies of RHI that I ordered back on the 30th of March haven't even shipped yet.  Not sure what the hold up is there.  Those are supposed to be here by the 16th, so they'd better get a move on, eh?

Why print books?  You know, I was thinking about this the other day.  Other than giving readers another way to access my books, print books are physical proof those books actually exist.  Files get corrupted, the grid goes down, all electronics suddenly are kaput... those printed books remain.  Even if Fahrenheit 451 becomes reality, they can't burn every copy.  Especially if more people buy them.  

So, yeah, soon I hope to have all my books in print as well as ebook versions.  I should've done this a long time ago, but you know things go.  

How about you?  If you're a writer, are your books in print and ebook?  If you're a reader, which do you prefer to read?  Personally, I read both.  

Additional note:  It's entirely possible the books shipped in two separate packages under one tracking number which could be why it looks like the package was bouncing back and forth.  If so, that's profoundly stupid.

Monday, April 5, 2021

The Fun of Creating Paperbacks

Okay, it's after ten and I'm up working on formatting UNEQUAL for paperback.  I actually went to bed at eight.  Laid there for a half an hour and gave up.  So now, I'm sitting here working on creating a paperback* because, hey, if I'm not sleeping I might as well be productive.  Right?

It took me about 45 minutes to format the manuscript for print.  I'm not sure if I ever gave you my checklist for formatting print books, so here it is (all of this is done in MS Word):

1)  Type THE END

2)  Find and replace all double spacing between sentences with single spacing

3)  Remove all Bookmarks.

4)  Make sure everything is the font you’ve chosen for the book.

5)  Format all chapter headings as Headings.  Including THE END.

6)  Apply print font for Headings to all.

7)  Format all scene breaks for continuity within book and within series

8)  Create title page

9)  Create Copyright and Acknowledgements page

10)  Add in About the Author Page at the end

11)  Add in back matter.

12)  Create Section Breaks after Acknowledgements and after THE END

13)  Add Pages Numbers to manuscript section centered bottom

14)  Verify ‘Link to Previous’ is unchecked

15)  Format Page Numbers to chosen look

16)  Set to ‘Different First Page’ in manuscript section

17)  Delete page number from first page of manuscript section, if necessary

18)  Verify no page numbers in front matter section or back matter section

19)  Set page size to 5.5” x 8.5”

20)  Set margins to Top .88”, Bottom .88”, Inside .75”, Outside .63”

21)  Make sure margins are ‘mirrored’

22)  Verify all chapters start on right hand page.

23)  Print a few pages to verify it will look how you want it to look.

24)  Upload to Amazon

Generally, most of the first 11 are taken care of during formatting for ebooks - except removing the bookmarks I need to have for e-publication.

So, I got all the steps through 23 done in, like I said, about 45 minutes.  It took another 45 minutes to complete the last step.  Part of that was because I had to tweak the cover - if I centered the title, my name went off the page.  If I centered my name, the title went over the spine.  Stupid thing.  I went back into my cover creation program and shuffled the placement around until I could have both of them where I wanted them without looking all centered and junk.  

Another part that hung me up was after I'd set everything up and was previewing the blasted thing, I noted that a pretty little line of ~~~~ after THE END had jumped over to the left side instead of being centered.  Stupid thing.  I deleted the pretty line.  It wasn't necessary, just pretty.  Re-uploaded the manuscript, re-previewed it, and huzzah, at about 10pm, managed to send a proof through to be set up for ordering.

I did almost all of this already once - when I set up Blink of an I this... err... yesterday morning.  I wasn't actually going to do UEQ until today.  But hey, insomnia.  If I can't sleep, I might as well tackle stuff from my to-do list, eh?

Like I said, my cover artist is working on two other books right now.  When those files get here, I'll be back at step 24 for each of those.  Woohoo.

In case you're new to this game, book proofs cost me about $10 each - the book plus shipping - and I can't sell them to recoup that cost.  (They're stamped across the cover with NOT FOR RESALE.)  Good thing I squirreled away some acorns, eh?  The book cost to readers usually depends on the size of the book.  I do try to keep them as low as I can.  Blink will be $12.99 and Unequal will be $11.99.  (Decreasing the font to 10pt got the price more reasonable.  Blink would've been a behemoth.)  Get your order over $25 and shipping is free (usually... can't always depend on Amazon to not screw things up.)

Anyway, I hope this makes sense in the morning when you see it.  I think I'm finally tired enough to give sleep another try.

Any questions?  Comments?

* I started this post while I was waiting for files to upload or something, and finished it after I finished the task at hand.

Friday, April 2, 2021

The Two Minds of B.E. Sanderson

I'm of two minds.  On the one side, I have the creative mind.  It writes books and does covers and pretty pictures.  On the other, the business mind.  It does all the other stuff - accounting, marketing, formatting, publishing, editing, etc.  And they can't seem to work at the same time.

Most days, I can keep them apart.  Business works in the morning.  Creative works in the evening.  

But when one of them is particularly focused on its job, the other one takes a vacation.  When I'm deep into the writing, I can't seem to get Business to do the stuff it needs to do.  When I'm deep into work chores, Creative doesn't want to work and laughs at me when I try.  

Like when I get a bunch of spreadsheets to do for the pay-job... I can't write that day.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work the other way because the pay-job stuff is time-sensitive.  It comes in and I do it, regardless of where I'm at with the writing.  Lucky for my writing, it doesn't happen too often.  I get the spreadsheets done in the morning and by evening, I'm ready to let Creative loose.

Right now, I've been wrapped up in post-publication stuff.  Business has taken over and Creative is at the beach napping under an umbrella.  I want to write.  I have ideas.  But I can't seem to get that part of my brain in gear.

Occasionally, the two minds have jobs that overlap.  Marketing, for instance.  It's a job for Business, but in order to get snazzy copy, Creative has to cooperate.  Trying to wake her up to write ad copy for FB posts first thing in the morning is like waking a hibernating squirrel.  Gah.  I should set those things up at night, but try and get Business awake enough then to remember to prod Creative... Gah.

Unfortunately, Creative is easily derailed.  Of course she is, she's creative.  She gets distracted by everything.  Like I said... squirrel.  If Creative had half the focus Business does, I'd be cranking books out all over the place.  But no.  Then again, if she was focused, she wouldn't be creative.  Or something.  I guess.

Not sure what the answer is.  Muddle along?  I do have 16 books out now, so it's not like it isn't working entirely.  Some days I just wish it would work more efficiently.  

What about you?  Do your creative and business sides work together?  

Note:  I am not insane.  Really, I'm not.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Paperbacks

Monday, I received the paperback proof of DUKE NOBLE, P.I.: RUMOR HAS IT and it's a beaut.  So, I approved it and yesterday morning I got the email letting me know it's now available for sale on Amazon.  I set it up at the price of $9.99.  It's the best price I can set and still make a little scratch for myself.  A little somethin' for the effort, eh?

I have 5 author copies due to arrive here April 14-17th.  One will be a gift to a friend.  One I've already got a buyer for.  

You know, I didn't realize it until now that I missed having paperbacks.  There's nothing quite like holding a physical copy of your books in your own hands.  Prior to this, the last book I published with a paperback version was Sleeping Ugly - which went live in August of 2018.  :sadface:

To rectify that, I will be creating paperbacks for the remaining books that don't have them - Ugly and the Beast, Cinder Ugly, Blink of an I, and Unequal.  Not sure of the time frames on those.  I have to format them for print and then I have to contact my cover artist for UatB and CU, to see what her schedule looks like.  And whether she'll want more money since it's been a couple years.  She shouldn't but I wouldn't blame her.  Then I have to create covers for Blink and Unequal.  Busy busy.  

If you've been waiting on these, I apologize.  Paperbacks cost money up front and I just haven't been able to part with it.  I'm going to try to do better this year.  

As to the paperbacks being only available on Amazon, well, you see, in order for me to make a paperback widely available, I have to jack the price.  If I made RHI a $10.99 book, I wouldn't make any money when it sold at any other vendor.  $0 to me, so what's the point of that.  I could raise it $11.99 and make a little money out there in the world, but I don't want to pay $12 for a paperback so you shouldn't have to either   So I took it out of wide distribution and set the price lower.  At $9.99, I'm making a little over a dollar per book at Amazon.  If you hate Amazon and still would like a copy of any of my books, contact me directly and we'll see what we can do.  

Of course, it's cheaper for you and more profitable to me if you buy ebooks, but I understand that sometimes you just have to hold a real book in your hands.  I do the best I can to make these books as cost effective for you as I can.  And still make money for me.  

Thoughts?  Opinions?  

Additional Note:  While I was checking to make sure all my paperback books had the proper pricing, etc.  I noticed a couple things that hadn't been moved over properly from Createspace all those years ago.  Total faceplant on my part, I assure you.  I assumed everything was fine, so I didn't bother to check.  Unfortunately, that meant I didn't have all the metadata and keywords I could've had.  AND it didn't have me listed as having 'worldwide rights', which I most definitely do.  AND when I scrolled through the pricing for other countries, I discovered I was making ZERO profit for any books I sold in Japan.  Derp.  I haven't actually sold any paperbacks in Japan, but it could happen and I would've gotten ZILCH for them.  If you were like me and assumed everything would be fine from the great Createspace migration, go check everything now.  Seriously.