Posts Tagged ‘self-publishing’

Free Fall, A My Immortals Novella is Done!

Sunday, April 1st, 2012
Hot Guy, Nake Back

Cover of Free Fall

Yay!!!!! It seems like I’ve been working on this forever, getting interrupted, and coming back and finding out it needed more work. The story has been through two rounds of editing, both of which made the story even better. It’s been copy-edited and proofread. I made additional changes and tweaks while I was reading the copy I emailed to my iPad and read in the Kindle App. I got a fantastic cover from Patricia Schmidt.

Anyway, I can now say that Free Fall, A My Immortals Series novella is DONE. Buy Free Fall from Amazon.

About Free Fall

Attorney Lys Fensic has spent her life controlling a psychic power that kills. Her ability to lock herself down falls apart when her ex, a mage, sends enslaved demons to kill her. In a psychic free fall, she turns to tough guy Telos Khunbish for help. But is he a mage as she’s always suspected or is he something far more dangerous?

Free Fall is set in the My Immortals series world where demons and magic-using humans called the magekind are not quite getting along. Most people have no idea they’re living in what amounts to a magical war-zone. Free Fall is based on the short story Future Tense but is considerably expanded and includes scenes that were censored from the short story. This novella is about 35,000 words (130 pages).

I should mention the censored stuff is way hot.

Review Copy Anyone?

In the meantime, anyone who agrees to post an HONEST review of Free Fall on Amazon should leave a comment on this post. I’ll send you a .MOBI version of the file.

What I did and Why

I ended up deciding to enroll Free Fall in the KDP Select program. That means it’s exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. By July 2, I’ll be able to upload the story to the other vendors. I’ve heard some mixed things about the program, but I know I do quite well enough at the other vendors that, for the books I’ve already self-published, it didn’t make sense to remove those books from sale everywhere else. On the other hand, there’s no way for me to know if KDP Select makes sense for me without trying it. I do intend to take advantage of my 5 free days, but I’m not sure when I’ll do that. I’m a bit brain dead at the moment.

Free Fall is different enough from my other titles to make it a good test case. First, Book 5 in the series is my next project, but I won’t be done until later this year, so a three month delay in getting it to the other vendors isn’t going to hurt Book 5, which, barring some miraculous result of this test case, will be published to all vendors from the start.

Other than the short story, Future Tense, there’s no directly-related self-pubbed backlist to cross-sell with this title. I’m hoping the story will encourage sales of the series backlist. If it does, seeing an effect will be limited to Amazon, and, hopefully, easier to keep track of. And, the series backlist is with Grand Central. That means any bump in sales will garner me royalties at a vastly smaller rate, won’t be reported to me for at least 6-9 months, and will count against the advance(s). I believe by now My Wicked Enemy has earned out. Possibly My Forbidden Desire, too, based on a foreign rights sale to Germany. But I don’t know and won’t know until the next royalty period… in a few months. So, this experiment’s cost to me is, I think, fairly minimal.

I’ll report back when and if I have any salient observations about the results.

An Excerpt


11:40 AM. Lobby of 101 California Street, San Francisco, California

He was here. Telos Kh?nbish had come. Relief nearly demolished her, it hit so powerfully. He was here, and now, improbably, she believed everything was going to be all right. Her life was irrevocably screwed, but she believed. She ignored the noise of the lobby and the man standing beside her. He was irrelevant. What a damn sad commentary it was that after nearly ten years in the city, Kh?nbish was the closest thing she had to a friend. Maybe even a real friend, because he was here, and she believed she’d get through this.

Her heart kicked up a notch when she got a clear view of his black BMW turning onto Front Street. Now, of course, she wondered if she’d made a mistake involving him. She didn’t make a habit of asking for help. She wasn’t good with people. She wasn’t even sure she’d asked right. Seems she had.

The BMW was definitely looking to park. Good thing. In less than ten minutes the lunchtime rush would start, and she’d be in real trouble. Even now, there were too many people around.

“My ride’s here,” she said to Jack, the man standing beside her. She didn’t make eye contact because that would be dangerous. Instead she stared at his tie, but that turned out to be a mistake. The dark red silk looked like blood streaming down his chest. She focused on the shiny marble floor and the tips of his Oxfords. “I’m fine. Really.”

“Let me carry your things.” Jack reached for the moving box that contained the personal contents from her office. He knew Michael, and that meant she couldn’t trust him. Simple fact. She couldn’t trust anyone who knew Michael Ford.

“No.” She gripped the box tighter and looked at the street again, as if Kh?nbish could help her from afar. The BMW was waiting for a van to pull away from the curb. Kh?nbish had never met Michael. That was part of the reason she’d called him. That, and she didn’t know anyone else.

“Lys.” Jack was thirty-ish, good looking, and in line to make partner in the next two years. He did good suit. He was a competent lawyer and a decent litigator.

She faked a smile and looked at Jack without directly meeting his eyes. Over the years, she’d gotten good at faking contact normal people never thought twice about. She lifted the box an inch. “Hardly weighs a thing.”

Jack smoothed a hand down the river of blood that was his tie. She held her breath, half expecting his palm to come away smeared red. He reached for her moving box, and she jumped back, heart slamming against her chest. Either Jack didn’t get it, or he was in league with Michael and meant her harm. He kept moving toward her.

“Don’t.” The word came out sharp and loud. The security guard at the lobby reception area looked over. She was close to losing it. Way too close. Blocking shouldn’t be this hard for her, but the last several days had been…difficult. Not enough sleep. Not enough to eat. Too much caffeine. Far too much stress.

“Lys. Come on.” His tie vibrated at the edges of her vision. Blood red. A river of red. He reached for the box again. “I’m only trying to help out.”

She risked a look at his face. His smile was hesitant, a little irritated, but that would be normal if he really just wanted to help. Just a regular person trying to be nice. Part of her didn’t believe it. He knew Michael, and Michael had tried to kill her.



This Makes Me Feel Cheated and Sad: Semi-Rant

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

I recently blogged about Heat, a self-pubbed book that worked for me. (It won’t work for everyone, by the way.) In fact, that book worked so well for me that I went out and bought several other books by the author: R.L.Smith/R.Lee Smith (more on that later). As noted in that post, one of the books was a DNF for me.

One of the others, Care and Feeding of a Griffin, was a major win. Major. The book is wonderful and flirted with brilliance. I’ve now just about finished the 4th and last in the series and I feel sad and cheated. Book 2 was … rough, and that’s being kind. Then the beginning of Book 3? For a while, it was just as wonderful as Book 1 and I was so happy; giddy even. Then it crashed and burned. Book 4? Not good.

Dear Author reviewed a different book by this author and I’m going to try that one, because it worked for that reviewer and since Heat worked for her, too, I suspect this other one will work for me.

Why I Feel Sad and Cheated

Heat and Care and Feeding prove this author can write. She can take risks and make them work. She can write characters that just pop off the page. When she’s on her game, her use of detail is sublime. But, it seems, she can’t do it consistently. And, having now read a fair amount of her work (assuming gender here) I can see what themes she likes and what writing issues are a problem for her.

I am sad because when a talented writer works with the right editor, the result is a far, far better book. The right editor challenges a writer to confront weaknesses and to turn good into great, and great into brilliant.

I am sad because I wanted to live in the world of Care and Feeding for more books. I feel cheated of what ought to have been and I am especially sad (and cheated) that Book 3 started out so brilliantly and then crashed and burned. I mourn for all those lovely, exquisite details that were wasted or never brought out.

Lords Of Arcadia Series

I highly recommend Care and Feeding. Read it. It will be worth it even with the abrupt ending. But I can’t in good conscience recommend the other three.

The main character continues to be a Mary Sue. In fact, parts of Book 3 offended me. The white human visits new and hostile species and each and every time, she is so relentlessly perfect that Low! The new and hostile species stops raping human women or the women of their own species or whatever wrong thing they’re doing. All because, practically literally, the heroine has a magic hoo-haw. If a creature has sex with her, that creature is transformed from ignorant brute to noble beast.

No matter how monumentally stupid the heroine’s decisions, she prevails and it’s magically the right thing to have done after all — because she’ll have cured the creatures of whatever was wrong with them before she got on the scene. She can do no wrong. I started to hate her. I could predict what would happen and how it would happen.

Plot threads start and then vanish. There are continuity errors. (The griffin is there for the wedding and then never mentioned again. Many many pages later, there’s a mention of the griffin NOT being at the wedding.) She’s preggers for nearly two years, then it’s only been nine months and she’s ready to pop, then later yet someone says, oh, you’re 10 months along, and you have 5 to go. Then later she’s 15 months with three more to go. It’s confusing as hell. As with her other books, time and events pass with unbelievable slowness. In these books it’s like 1 manuscript day = 7-10 days in a book that follows a normal events-to-day ratio. I’d be absolutely convinced several days had to have passed only to discover that, no, it’s only been one day. WTF?

Some Other Thoughts

In hindsight, there are clues to my eventual disappointment with the series. All the covers are awful. The formatting is often sub-par. There are typos and other errors that would be caught by a copy-editor and a proofreader. The author is inconsistent about her own name. Is she R. L. Smith, R. Lee Smith or Robin Smith? The names matter because it makes her hard to find on Amazon. A little research on my part left me with the strong suspicion that Smith has or does write under at least two other names. Obviously, Smith is prolific and has been writing for a long time. At some point, I’ll check out those other writings because when she’s good, she’s really, really good.

All these things combined point to someone who lacks the necessary attention to detail for an author who wants to self-publish and not outsource. The alternative is she’s outsourcing and doesn’t understand she’s being cheated. The consistently good writers know why they need to pay for a good cover and they can tell the difference between a flat out bad cover and one that is even minimally acceptable. And they care about it. They know why editing, copy-editing and proofreading matter. Given the accumulation of all these issues, ultimately, I’m not surprised by the lack of attention to detail in the writing of Books 2-4. But it makes me sad.

I’ve been cheated. We’ve all been cheated out of what should have been an amazing, sexy and wonderful series as good or better than anything being traditionally published.

R.L. Smith, please, please hire an editor and then give us your best, because your best is wonderful.