Scribbles and thoughts ...

These are ramblings from J L Wilson, published author of romantic suspense, mystery, and paranormal -time travel fiction....

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Oh, woe! Where is publishing going?

I don't know if you've noticed, but the publishing industry is changing as we speak (metaphorically speaking, that is).

Authors are bypassing the agency model and pairing with Amazon (and soon, Barnes & Noble) to put their back lists on assorted e-devices. Some authors are going straight to Amazon (witness Joe Konrath's startling news recently). I am still skeptical about Joe's assertion that if the marketing is right and the price is right, an author can make beaucoup bucks on Kindle. I don't have the time to spend that he does on marketing and schmoozing my books, but I'll give it a try in the future, probably, with some books whose rights will be returned to me soon. I'll report back on what I find.

A friend and I had coffee last night and she said, "Look at how much publishing has changed since you started three years ago. Do you have any idea where it will be in three years?"

I never thought it would change as much as it has so quickly. I knew I was on the inside track of the New Wave, but I thought it might take a decade or more for e-sales to take off the way they have. I always thought that at some point I might re-approach a NY house and look for that "real" publishing contract. But I don't have that inclination any more. I've seen how authors have to compete for those rare publishing slots. I've been to quite a few mystery conferences lately, and I've heard about it, believe me. A NY contract gives me access to walk-in sales at a bookstore. From what I've heard from other authors -- that isn't much. Only a rare few get some promotional help from their publisher. The rest of the authors are mostly on their own.

I know of a handful of authors who make their living as writers. By 'make a living' I mean those who have no spouse to provide a backup income or who can provide medical coverage. These are people who make enough money to support themselves now -- and of course, their future is dependent on more books and more sales. All of them have a 'side job' as an editor or speaker to supplement their writing income.

I like my 'side job'. I'm a writer (technical) and I make really good money doing what I do. I'm disciplined and I can juggle both jobs: fiction and non-fiction writing. Some day I may walk away from one or the other, but for now they peacefully co-exist. I have 15 books out, I have 3 more coming this year, I have 5 for next year, and who knows what will happen after that?

The way publishing is changing, it's anybody's guess...

Friday, May 14, 2010

Free time, hmm. What is it good for?

I had some free time today.

This is very unusual for me. I work full-time outside the home. I write (I've got 6 books out this year). I'm working on edits for 3 books for next year, my WIP is a 6-book series, and I've got 2 other books waiting for me to write them.

Through an odd quirk of fate, I had a few hours of free time. I thought about how to spend it -- do some gardening? Nope, still too soggy from a week of rain. Pack for my trip tomorrow? Mostly done. Just a few last things to do. Read a book?

That stopped me in my tracks. I don't read any more. Since I started publishing, I very, very seldom read a fiction book. I do read non-fiction now and again, and I read the occasional book from friends who are publishing and I read (now and again) someone that I'm curious about, but I seldom read start-to-finish, "I want to read this" any more.

I've lost the reading bug.

Let me hasten to say I don't miss it -- reading (like needlework and gardening and wycinanki) are activities I do to relax me and have fun at the same time. I never classed reading as 'entertainment' (like I would a movie). It was a hobby, a "thing" I did. Now I don't do it any more, just like I don't do much needlework or wycinanki (aging eyes make those hobbies a chore now, not fun). And I have to admit, I don't miss reading fiction. I was skimming most of the books I read anyway except for a few from authors I really cherished (and they are few, believe me).

Nope, I'm going to have to find something else to fill those rare few hours of 'free' time. I could do the obligatory piece of promo: NEW BOOK OUT. FUN READ. FUNNY HEROINE. CLASSY HERO. All about a college professor who writes erotic romances and gets outed just when she's up for a promotion. There's a murder (at the State Fair, no less), a stalker, a boorish fellow professor, and a fan who is in love with the heroine's erotic alter ego...

Or I can take a nap, or lay on the couch and watch a bit of TV, or ...

Get caught up on my blog reading!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Edits R Us

I'm working on edits on the series that will release next year. So far, so good. I haven't hit any big snags yet, but I'm on book 2 of 3, so I'm not saying I'm out of the woods yet.

I'm also doing a few others things in my spare time -- looking at maybe redoing my blog; maybe revamping my web site. Maybe ... maybe some writing! What a concept!

There are so many demands on our time. I'm trying something new -- I'm focusing on only 3 things per day in my free time. One is writing (or editing, if needed). One is promotion. Those are the two constants. And one is ... something else. I'm not sure what it will be tonight, but once I do the other 2, I'll look at that third one.

So far, so good.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Writing ups and downs and ups

I wrote a series last year that was accepted for publication this year for release next year.

What this means is I'm editing books that I've essentially forgotten about for promotion next year when I will have forgotten about them again since I'll be knee deep in new writing by then.

Such is the writer's life. The 'up' of this is that I've rediscovered these characters and I like them. The 'down' of this is that I have to change a few plot elements to suit my publisher. The 'up' of this is that I'm discovering interesting sub-plots to weave in to help me change those elements.

I've discovered that anything I dread (like changing plot elements) is not as bad as I usually fear. I just have to take the plunge and once in, the water's fine.

Of course, check back with me in a month -- I may have changed my mind!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Back home & ready to go!

I had a great time at the Malice Domestic conference in D.C. last weekend. It's funny -- I often come home from romance conferences drained, but this one totally energized me. There were so many fans there who love to read new authors, it really gave me encouragement.

I'm at that stage of my career that encouragement is as valued as a great review (although I love great reviews -- don't get me wrong). It's so easy to get sidetracked by the negative things that happen. When good things happen, they're just so unexpected and GREAT. I pitched 'Pornography' and it was very well received.  8)

So I'm back into my mysteries, working on edits to 3 of them (a series for next year), then I hope to tackle 3 more before the end of the year. Along the way I hope to self-publish my time travel series, find an agent, and maybe finish book 1 of my Big Book of Global Destruction.

A busy year ahead!