Becca’s Books

Updates on my own writing.

Nolander, Revised

In March 2015, I published a revised version of Nolander on all retail platforms. I’ve updated the book several times before, fixing small mistakes and formatting problems. But this (4th) edition represents more significant changes:

  • The book’s been professionally proofread and formatted.
  • I altered the beginning to speed things up a bit. The book has gotten many reviews that say something to the effect of, “Starts off slow, but …,” or, “Took me a while to get into it, but ….” I suspect many potential readers didn’t make it through the leisurely beginning, so I did some tightening. Beth now has her first “paranormal experience” in the opening pages. Instead of having her describe her panic attacks, we see her have one. And Matt, the ex-boyfriend, has bitten the dust.
  • The Ghosteater chapters now use a straight third-person point of view.
  • Beth is now a digital photographer. When I wrote Nolander, I didn’t realize how hard it’s become to acquire film for traditional cameras. Now that I’m clued in, making Beth a print photographer seems unrealistic. It would actually be more expensive for her to go that route, not less.
  • I cut down on the amount of sitting-around-and-explaining Graham and Cordus do.
  • I’ve added a glossary at the back to help readers keep track of places, people, and things.
  • I’ve tweaked the ending slightly to try to give the last Beth chapter a little more punch. In so doing, I was trying to address this kind of feedback:
    • “I am a little bummed that the book simply stops as if it were a chapter break rather than having a proper ending.”
    • “… the ending is quite abrupt. Another chapter would have helped this book seem complete. Nothing wrong with a cliff hanger ending but it felt like we lost a chapter at the end, instead of finishing up the tale and leaving it open for the next one.”
    • “Abrupt ending was disappointing …”

    I know cliff-hangers drive people nuts, but I don’t think these readers are reacting to the cliff-hanger, per se. I think the ending felt unintentionally incomplete. This was by far the hardest issue to deal with, as I didn’t want to make revisions that would change the novel’s plot. In the end, I just added another couple lines that I hope will give Beth’s last chapter a more complete feel. I vacillated quite a bit on this revision. Before settling on the additional lines, I experimented with adding a scene. That version (let’s call it Edition 3.5) made it into the free Gods and Mortals collection, so if you’re curious, you can check it out it there. I might also print it as a separate blog entry.

That’s about it. The overall plot in the 4th ed. remains unchanged, so people who’ve read older editions should be able to go from those to Solatium without any confusion.

If you’ve read an older edition and would like to have the new one alongside the old, here’s the mobi (for Kindle) and the epub (for most other ereaders). The files are compressed for quick downloading. Once you have them, you’ll need to open the zipped file. You can then read the book on your computer, using an ereading app or a program like Calibre, or you can sideload it to your tablet or ereader. Directions on how to do that are here.

Read in good health! :)

Being “Fair” to Your Characters

The longer I spend with my characters, the more I feel like a parent. I mean I am a parent: I have twins who are about to turn three. What I mean is that I’m beginning to feel like my characters’ parent as well. That is to say, I feel responsible for them in a particular way that reminds me of how I feel about my kids.

When I’m parenting, I try to give my kids opportunities to succeed. I mean, I’d much rather not put them in situations where they’re very likely to fail. I’d rather try to create situations in which they’re likely to succeed. For instance, I’m trying to teach my kids to share with each other. Perhaps with twins, especially, that’s an ongoing battle. I’ve found there are moments when the suggestion to share is more likely to be accepted, and I try to jump on those, so that I can praise good behavior. Of course, that’s not always possible. Kids don’t always succeed. But I want to give them opportunities to do so — as many as possible.

I’ve realized I feel the same way about my characters. I feel responsible for giving them opportunities to be their better selves, to reveal positive traits that might not necessarily be apparent, at first. As with my kids, it’s not always possible. After all, most of my characters are adults, and real life sadly doesn’t construct itself so as to encourage any particular person’s success. Events seem far more random than that. And, even when given the opportunity, not everyone steps up and does the right thing. A fictional world in which they did would ring false. But still, if I don’t at least create opportunities for showing a better side … well, I sort feel like a heel!

Indie Authors and the “Rule of Seven”

Why market your books? It takes time away from writing, after all.

I’ve been thinking for the last few months about the so-called “rule of seven” — the old advertising saw that people need to see or hear your marketing message seven times before they’ll follow through with a purchase. Maybe it’s true, in at least a general way, that potential buyers are more likely to pull the trigger if they’ve built a sense of familiarity with a book through repeated exposure. (I’m a little doubtful about the power of seven in particular.)

So I’ve been trying to get Nolander out there a bit more in low-key, low-stakes ways. I have an ad running on Goodreads (23,309 views and thirteen clicks — about an average rate, believe it or not). Occasionally I promote a post on Facebook. And for the time being, I’m keeping Nolander discounted to try to keep it prominent in Amazon’s “also-bought” recommendations and to try to gain exposure on the other sites (the latter is not easy, that’s for sure). In a few days, Nolander‘s cover will be part of a genre-guessing game on The Cheap Ebook. Later this month, I’ll be joining with other authors on the Magic Appreciation Tour for a Spring Equinox promotion. In April I’ll be promoting the book through Kindle Boards Blog.

And sometimes a little bit of exposure just falls in your lap: today Victorine Lieske‘s terrific book-discovery site, Addicted to Ebooks, chose to feature Nolander on its front page. Isn’t that nice? Thank you, Vicki! :)

At the same time, I’m trying not to let my promotional activities eat into my writing time too much. After all, if you think of the author herself as the “product,” then each new book presents that product to the public all over again.

Big Speculative Fiction Sale!

 Book for a Buck Sale
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