What’s Next?

I got a nice email from a reader asking when the next installment of zombie mayhem would be. That got me thinking…

What’s next? After I get my head back together, anyway.

(I think my initial reaction was “Wow, fast reader!” There’s something weird about working on a book for a year and then people finish it in two days. I mean, it’s awesome and flattering, but it’s also my work being devoured in two days. Mmm, chewy.)

For starters, I’m taking a break from the undead, bless their rotten hearts. After almost a year spent on DBG, I need time away from them.

I’ve got other projects I’m working on — mostly ghostwriting stuff — but as far as the next SPB project, there’s two things I’m working on. One, a series of short sci-fi stories set in generally the same universe as Echoes. We’re talking short stuff — each story might be around 7,000 words — I may release five of them in a 99-cent compilation.

Two, a series of shorts featuring Vibeke & co. and their misadventures in Elderwood. I’ll post them here on the site as I finish them. I don’t know how many actual zombies will be present; it’s just light stuff to fill in the blanks between GNW and DBG.

There’s definitely other, longer stuff on the horizon, but I just need to clear out my head a little bit. The push to get DBG out on time capped off a pretty rough summer overall, so I’m just trying to relax a little bit before jumping back in with both feet.

I do intend to blog here more frequently, since…well, that’s what blogs are for.

DBG is up at B&N

Nook users, it’s there.

This time around, getting it properly formatted for Nook was almost a bigger challenge than for Kindle; I’m not sure what’s changed since releasing GNW last October, but while looking at it on my Nook and at the various B&N previewers, I came across some irritating bugs. I think they’re stamped out — like I said, hiring a pro for this later — I’ve been through it twice on my Nook and on the previewer, and everything looks okay this time.

It’s priced at $2.99. For a 65,000-word book, I think that’s fair. It’s still cheaper than any latte you might sip while reading it.

The next step — for the existing books, anyway — is probably to purchase ISBNs for them. I’m happy with Amazon and B&N, but an ISBN can open the door to other markets, namely Apple Books, Kobo, and some others. They tend to be a bit pricey on their own, so   buying them before I knew how this would all shake out didn’t make sense, but you can purchase them in batches, and now that I’ve got three, well…why not.

Wonder of wonders, I have some interviews coming up (well, one, anyway) so I guess I better brush up on sounding vaguely intelligent.

Suz the Overbearing

You know that feeling you get when you sit up straight and your neck goes SKRRRRRRRRZTTT?

Yeah. That just happened.

Oops, I did it again.

I am relatively certain all my physical aches and pains are tied to my stress level, which I really try to keep under wraps. I slept until noon today in an effort to chase off this damned sore throat, and the strategy basically worked…but then the sounds of hammering woke me up and I had to go trolling for more gigs, which is always an unnerving experience. For example, today I had the opportunity to advertise my editing services to indie authors. Being an indie author myself, I understand their position, and I’m willing to work with them as far as pricing and, say, payment plans. The actual conversation probably went like this:

AUTHORS: Are there any affordable editors out there?

SUZ: I’m affordable. I’ve edited since 2006, here’s my qualifications, I want you to look good, here’s my email.

But this is how I imagine it went:

AUTHORS: Are there any affordable editors out there?


Coincidentally, that’s how I fear most of my attempts at book advertising read, too, although I think the Grave New World ones are turning out pretty well (as it turns out, it’s easier to market tongue-in-cheek zombie fare than far-out sci-fi books). It’s already doubled the sales for Echoes and it keeps going…I like to think I did a nice job on the blurb, but I suspect people just really like zombies. Especially cheap zombies. 🙂

Still no decision on what to do with poor Galen and his last name. I’m about to revamp the summary on Amazon in an effort to boost sales, so I wonder if it might not make sense to just change the last name and re-upload while I’m at it, just to spare myself the agony of wondering.

Yup. I do drama real well, don’t I?

Had way too much coffee to compensate for sleeping until noon, and as a result leaped through the roof when the UPS guy knocked on the door to drop off a client’s manuscript.

New Markets & Setting Rates

I’m not sure I fancy the new blogger setup, but it gives me more flexibility, so I might as well try it out.

I’m in the process of setting up a free wordpress site to showcase my editing business. Yeah, yeah, should’ve done it earlier. Most of my work has been through referrals and responding to advertisements, but I’d like to start casting a wider net.

I also want to focus more on fiction. As of late, I’ve been working on a lot of business titles, which pay the bills, but aren’t my area of interest. I’ve picked up a few manuscript gigs–much more enjoyable–and I think I could be of better service in that field.

The problem is pricing.

I suspect I’ll be looking into the self-publishing field, which is rapidly growing…but often doesn’t have a lot of cash to spare. Hell, I ran into the same thing myself when looking for an editor. People charge anything from $600 to $1500+ to edit a manuscript. Is it worth every penny? For sure! Is it feasible for many? Not really.

I’m hoping I can establish some sort of position for myself in this niche. I’m new to the field, so I’m willing to work for lower rates. The question is how much lower?

Here’s my situation. I can edit short articles for five bucks a pop, and over the course of a day they add up to a wage of some sort. They’re quick and easy. A manuscript is much larger, and takes up a lot more time. I can’t charge rock-bottom rates all the time, much as I want to help people, because I’ve got bills to pay. So what to do?

Payment plans? New client specials? A monthly free edit?

Bleck. Gonna have to go back to my business roots to figure this one out.

Go Holly

Holly Lisle’s heading down the indie publishing route.

Holly is a fantasy/science fiction/romantic suspense writer with more than 30 published novels under her belt. She’s also the patron saint of all would-be writers; she’s maintained a website with a blog and writing courses/advice that I remember perusing as a sophomore in high school instead of doing my math homework. Over the years, her retinue has expanded to include paid courses, several of which I’ve taken when finances permitted. I haven’t always been able to participate in her classes to the best of my ability, but her teachings are sound, and she has always struck me as an intelligent, thoughtful writer, one who very much wants to help others succeed. She’s also always been honest about the difficulties of the traditional publishing route, even as she persisted with it.

Her decision to go indie is a momentous one, and I think it might well spur on this revolution. In an FAQ she’s putting together about indie publishing, she notes:

“[you should look into self-publishing]…first, not after publishers have tied up years worth of your work while they publish it badly, promote it not at all, and never, ever send you money for what they do sell.”

She also remarks on the changing legacy publishing industry. Ten years ago, she did slam self-pubbing. But the market has changed. Everything has changed. She also explains the Thor Power Tools decision, which heavily impacted traditional publishing and possibly led to many of the problems midlist writers face today. (And is it just me, or does Thor Power Tools sound like divinely inspired power drills?)

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The Art of Marketing

I would make a lousy prostitute.

This is good news to my parents, of course. I’m sure they’re glad my streetwalking skills aren’t up to snuff.

Hooker analogy aside, I need to figure out how to market myself. Shaking a leg at a passing Porsche doesn’t produce many writing gigs. Unless the cops catch me soliciting myself, and I spend a few years in jail and then write a tell-all…hmm.

I’m not particularly good at tooting my own horn. My cover letters probably aren’t that bad; they’ve netted me three traditional, full-time jobs, and I’ve picked up a couple of freelance clients. But I’ve got two finished novels that I won’t even sub because I hate writing query letters (stupid, I know). “I’m so awesome, hire me because of this, this and this, see links here” is just…ugh.

However, if I’m to manage this self-employment thing, I need to find clients. And that, more often than not, involves cover letters. I have a couple of templates that I tweak as necessary, and I try to find new clients a couple times a week. But I need more eggs for my baskets (or baskets for eggs? Or maybe I need chickens first?) and I really need to get over this aversion to promoting myself.

To that end, Mom ordered The Well-Fed Writer for me off Amazon, which I will peek at. I have a few other “make a living as a freelance [whatever]” on my shelf — can’t say I didn’t start researching this gig — should I be taking notes? Hmm.

In the interest of throwing my name all over the Internet expanding my horizons, I’m contemplating a Twitter account. I’m presently looking at the main page with some trepidation. It doesn’t help that just about every variation of “Suz” is taken, including “thesuz,” “the realsuz” (which means there’s a fake Suz out there, somewhere) and even “suztastic,” which I thought was a made-up word.

Granted, I don’t need to be “Suz” in my tweets. I’m just going for consistency here. Building an identity or something. I should probably look into a website, too, if only to promote my writing better. I threw together a tiny site for my editing service when I first set out, but I think I’m drifting away from editing, aiming myself at more writing-related projects.

Long story short: I need to learn to market myself effectively. I am putting off doing this by blogging. I shall now cease this procrastination activity.