I’m having another very normal one with the ‘Zon.
I got a real human being right off the bat, although now he wants me to contact readers and get product numbers from the books. Some he’s claiming were orders filled with returned stock but I am having tremendous difficulty believing I can sell so few paperback copies (in some cases, single digits) and have several returns of each. Especially late in a series, when the only people buying them are diehard fans.
Anyway, this came about because they’d dropped an ebook price again to match this artificially lowered print price on a book. So right now Blood Ties is not available in the US store; if you want to grab it for 75% off this week, use the coupon code FCKTHEZON at checkout at Payhip. If I’m going to make pennies on the book, at least Amazon won’t get a cut.
I am very tired. I’m debating having once-a-year print sales, where you can only get paperbacks at Amazon for a brief window, like the old Disney Vault. We’ll see. (Please do not lecture me about printer options; I’ve been doing this for nine years myself and I worked in small press for six years prior to that. Thanks.)
Speaking of books delisted, I ended up taking How the Werewolf Stole Christmas down last night from all third parties, and Rebellion off of Amazon.
The other night I was watching an interview with the dev of an indie game I quite liked, and it really hit home some of the parallels across all mediums when talking about independent creators (which was going to be a post here, but I’ll save that for my Patreon writing essay this month). One of those things is how, when stuff isn’t selling, you can at least take comfort in the fact that the people who did get it are enjoying it.
Except no one enjoyed those. For HtWSC, I have very little success with short stories, the complaint seeming to be that they’re not the long novels I’m known for. For Rebellion…I dunno why folks hated that one. But seeing a bunch of one-stars just brings me down on something that has literally sold single-digit copies (esp Rebellion, as that was a really personal story about suicide ideation) so…why? Fuck that. HtWSC is still on Payhip, and still free on Patreon, but I’ve removed it elsewhere. When I get a few more First Dates (that end badly) stories done as I’ve wanted to, I’ll combine them all into a set and include it then. Or maybe I’ll do a River special edition or something. I dunno.
I am very tired.
Anyway, I have a lighter schedule this week to give myself some recovery time before I dive back into long hours next week. I pulled out Waverly 4, which I wrote 50K on…in August? September? I don’t remember. It was an unplanned book, one the series needed because my head had moved a little faster in planning and the characters needed more time for developments (same thing happened with Livi, which I talked about here), but this means that while the book is needed, it hasn’t simmered as long in my head.
Waverly’s books are interesting, as I find I write mysteries the opposite of how they’re “supposed” to be written–I dive in, get it all out, and weave in the red herrings and things much later, rather than meticulous plotting. There is also a lot she picks up on that I don’t, so it’s easier if I just throw a bunch of clues at her and let her figure it out than try to do so myself and shuffle her along a particular path.
I use square bracket placeholders for things (like [fill in here] or [last name] or [fix this]) when I’m fast-drafting, to keep the momentum going. So far in Waverly 4 there are 105 of them.
Or were. There are huge problems with the book and I’m not sure where to go with the 30K remaining to write, so I thought I’d refresh my memory by starting at the beginning.
Some of the problems I thought would need a huge overhaul just needed tweaks and suddenly I realized oh, wait, that works. And my subconscious always sets up far more than I realize–in this case, the answers to much of what I worried about were right there at the beginning of the book.
There are few universal truths among writers, but I think that might be one of them: if you’re having tremendous trouble with things, or feel like you’ve hit a wall, the answer is almost always right there at the beginning.
Maybe the book needs a new foundation (Yampellec’s Idol was like that). Maybe you have no idea how the third act is supposed to end. But all of those answers almost always are somewhere early on, staring you right in the face–you just need some distance.
Waverly’s books actually make me laugh aloud, even though they’re not humour, and I often write them in a fugue state where I don’t remember what I’ve written so it always hits me a quite a surprise. Putting a quick excerpt of what I read last night under a cut.
I look up to see a guy in his thirties, also a cop by my guess though there’s no uniform. He’s white—about seventy-five percent of the bar patrons are—with dark hair and otherwise non-descript. He’s smiling down at me expectantly with two beers—a deep amber one and a red, like I’m drinking.
“The bar’s pretty full,” he says, “and I’m waiting for my friend—I wondered if you’d mind if I sat here in the meantime. Brought you an offering either way.” He holds the red ale out toward me.
He doesn’t look familiar so I don’t think he’s on my list, therefore I do not need anything from him. And I am not taking a drink from a literal stranger unless it’s the fucking bartender, which he is not.
Maybe he’ll give me the lay of the land, though. Or maybe I’ll just be very irritating until he gives up and leaves—my personal best on that is four minutes.
I nod and slide some of my notes back, not to give him room really but to keep him from seeing them.
He sets the beer down next to the glass I’m already drinking from and sips his own as he sits. “My name’s Jeremy. Defalco, to everyone around here.”
Meadow has to squeeze over and she makes a face as she does, this physical person suddenly cramming the figment of my imagination to the corner right against the wall. He takes up a lot of space, and I can’t really blame him because it’s not like he knows my dead sister was sitting there a second ago, but it’s still ballsy for someone who is supposed to just be waiting for a friend.
“Hi, Jeremy Delfaco.” I don’t give him mine, because I don’t want him to know it and I can’t be bothered keeping a bunch of fake names straight in my head.
“You got a big case you’re working?” He nods at my legal pad, and thankfully wouldn’t be able to read my writing even if it wasn’t upside down.
“A very involved one,” I say. “How did you guess?”
“You seemed really into it.” Then he reaches forward and takes a nacho from my small platter.
What. The fuck.
He pauses there with the chip near his mouth and I must be making Raging Sociopath Face now because he seems to realize what he’s done. “Oh. Oh, sorry. Force of habit.”
It’s force of habit to take someone else’s food? Okay sure, motherfucker.
Then he puts the tortilla chip back on the plate. Oh my god I think my fucking eyes are going to pop right out of my head I’m staring so hard.
“I haven’t seen you in here before,” he says, and I’ve made a mental note not only of the chip’s location but all the surrounding chips so that I do not touch any of them. For fuck’s sake, was he raised in a fucking barn? “Are you new in the area? Let me guess, you work at Simpson and Cole?”
That’s not fair of me, I grew up in a rural area and people who were all but raised in barns have much better manners than this dude. “I guess you see the same people around here all the time,” I say instead of the myriad of things I’m thinking.
“Oh sure, yeah, I’m a regular. For dinners, I mean.” He gestures at the beer. “I don’t drink a lot.”
I am willing to bet he does in fact drink a lot. “You’re on the force?”
He grins sheepishly. “How can you tell?”
You’re an entitled motherfucker invading my space and eating my chips. “A certain vibe.”