Riding the roller-coaster
Posted by Greta van der Rol
As I start the final push to finish the first draft of Morgan’s Return, the sequel to Morgan’s Choice, I’ve become a tad introspective, It’s that time of year. I have no interest in the various festivals celebrated at the summer solstice here in Australia. Apart from remarking, yet again, that it amazes me how we Aussies try to cling desperately to traditions that make no sense here. Fake snow sprayed on windows while we broil in the summer sun? Puleeese.
This year the highlight for me as a writer was a giddy three or four months when Morgan’s Choice was in the top 100 best sellers in space opera. I was right at the top of the ride. Wheeeeeeeee. I’ll bet you’d LOVE to know how I managed to do that… So would I. Sales have dried up, but that’s life, I guess. What that has to do with the Big A’s clamp down on all sorts of things I have no idea. Somebody mentioned sales come in cycles. So right now, the roller-coaster is speeding up, going down. I hope the up part is not too far away.
A smaller down-slope was changing from being published by a small independent publisher to being published by an even smaller independent publisher – me. I’m not sure how successful that was. I turned down two contracts for my paranormal romance, Black Tiger, and went it alone without great success. It was a change in genre and I admit I expected it to do better.
I’ve certainly cut down on my online presence. I’ve left Goodreads because I really didn’t spend any time there and I left Google+ for much the same reason. I play on Twitter but not on LinkedIn – after all, I’m not looking for a job. I’m in the process of pruning my ‘friends’ list on Facebook. The changes since it became a public company have left me cold. I appreciate they want to earn some money but for me FB has become klutzy, ugly, over-engineered and full of inconsistencies in interface. I pop in to keep in touch with people, post a photo or two. I’m convinced that the ‘fan page’ concept is a waste of time unless you already have a huge fan base.
As for Amazon, its bully-boy antics regarding reviews has been mentioned many times. The tweaking of its algorithms to discourage free or very cheap books is also a hot topic. So is the returns policy, where increasing numbers of people are using Amazon as a lending library, especially for shorter works.
Me? Sure, you have to be on Amazon. But you can keep Kindle Select. I’ve tried that experiment and I’d prefer to have my work out in as many formats as possible. I don’t write for myself; I write to be read. Having said that, I’ve revised my prices. Writing a book is bloody hard work, an enterprise that takes months and months. You can still buy my short work for $0.99. Between fifty and eighty-five thousand words you’ll pay $3.99 and for eighty-five thousand words and up, you’ll pay $4.99. That’s for e-books, of course. I still reckon they’re a bargain.
There are times, you know, when I gaze intently at my navel and ask myself why I bother banging my head against this particular brick wall. And occasionally, just occasionally, I get an answer. Someone on Twitter told me she was eagerly awaiting Morgan’s Return. She’d read Morgan’s Choice three times. Another person told me they were settling in for a third read of Starheart and a number of people asked me when a book on Kindle Select would be available in other formats. And there’s the unexpected reviews from complete strangers – the 5 star, ‘I loved it’ ones, not the ‘I would have given it 0 if I could’.
So there you go. Greta’s roller-coaster publishing year in a nutshell. Onwards and upwards in 2013? Of course. What else would I do if I wasn’t writing?