Well, that was a tedious weekend

So, last Thursday, I finally took my old laptop to the computer place for them to transfer everything to the new laptop. Because it didn’t all get finished prior to Friday evening, I spent my first weekend in probably YEARS without a laptop and therefore with no way to actually work on ANYTHING.

Did I weep with joy and read a lot of books?

No, I did not. I felt super deprived and annoyed, even though objectively speaking this was a good time to lose my laptop for a weekend. (That’s why I arranged to do it now and not earlier.) I remember dimly the years when I would take a months’ long break between writing projects, but right at the moment it’s just annoying to be forced to take a break. Hopefully I will get my new laptop this afternoon, but I will have to ask the IT guys to get Word working on the new laptop and whatever else, so the annoyance will continue for another day or so, probably.

However (1), TANO is out being proofread, so there’s nothing for me to do there. I expect the cover will be ready soon; I believe I should be seeing the first version this week. I hope I will be posting the cover later this week and also putting the book up for preorder hopefully this week, so that’s exciting! I feel like my personal year will start when my first release goes out into the world for 2023.

I think I will try to have something ready to go January 2024, get that year off to a fast start.

Meanwhile (2), NO FOREIGN SKY — I’ve got comments back from one reader, but not yet from everyone, so I’m feeling okay about putting off further revision, especially since I’m tired of messing with it. Not touching it this weekend is fine with me. Though you know what, I should also be seeing a draft of the cover maybe this week or next week, and that will be very cool. I think I forgot to mention to the artist that the turun look like giant troll-centaurs with four arms. I don’t believe that detail was included in the description I sent him originally. Well, we’ll see!

Meanwhile (3), TASMAKAT is in fine shape, but I do want to do the essential revision, hopefully it won’t be too much trouble, and THAT is why I miss my laptop so much. If you’re curious, a first reader suggested combining two characters and my initial reaction (oh no, I think that’s a good idea, aaagh) eventually turned into a more useful reaction (it’s definitely a good idea and also it’s not really going to be that much work). So, in keeping with the rule that everything in the Tuyo world is more fun for me, I would like to do that. But I can’t because I don’t have my laptop.

Meanwhile (4), the INVICTUS revision is just an intention on my horizon right now. Everything else comes first.

However (5), things about future books keep occurring to me and I can’t take real notes about any of them. I’m sending myself emails with those ideas, to be integrated into the appropriate files eventually. This is both the Lau novel where I have practically the whole outline in my head plus some detailed scenes I’m dying to write and also I now have maybe the first third or so of a prequel story about Sinowa and Marag getting together — a great opening scene and then a plot that unfolds from there, but I’m not sure where it goes after it reaches a certain point. But now that I’m this far with it, that’s looking promising. I may write the part I have clear and just see if the rest of the story cooperatively unfolds for me when I get to it.

So did I actually read ANY books?

Yes, including one I absolutely loved. I’ll write a review of that one to post later this week, and if any of you here feel like (a) dropping a book recommendation into the comments of any random post here, or (b) emailing me privately to tell me about a book you think I’d love, by all means do! Whichever is more convenient! That’s how I found out about this one.

I also went to my actual office so I could use the computer there to write some blog posts, which I have scheduled ahead, and schedule some book promotions, and work on a Newsletter to send right at the end of the month, and do various other things that are a pain in the neck or impossible to do from home.

Segue into comments about promotion:

The last book promotions I ran were in late August / early September 2022 and they were exceedingly disappointing compared to every other promotion I’ve ever run. As far as I can tell, Amazon either changed its algorithms in a way that hit me hard, or else I failed to space out new book releases properly and that means I got hit by some algorithm in a way that, again, was not good.

One possibility, and I mention this for anyone who self-publishes and may not have heard, but you know how you can put your book in up to ten categories? Amazon apparently started picking only three categories in which to show your book, no matter what, and not necessarily the three categories that suit it best. So some people are reporting that they are doing better by asking Amazon to remove all but the three or four best categories from their books. So I have tried that, and we will see how that goes.

Tip: You know what’s sensible? After you’ve gone to the trouble of figuring out the category strings that you may want to use for your book using this handy service, for heaven’s sake copy those into a Word or other document for future reference. If I ever want to add a lot more categories again (who knows, seems likely), then I will have the strings sitting there, ready to be used. What I mean by strings are these:

Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Teen & Young Adult eBooks > Teen & Young Adult Science Fiction & Fantasy eBooks > Teen & Young Adult Fantasy eBooks > Teen & Young Adult Coming of Age Fantasy eBooks

And I’m showing one I took out, because if you’ve only got three categories, then I think TUYO is more adult than otherwise.

Upcoming promotions:

To see what happens, I’m running promos for everything in March. That will be about six months from the most recent promotion, so that may make a difference compared to doing promotions more frequently. Or Amazon may have changed its algorithms again in some way that turns out to be helpful to me personally. Plus doing a release right before starting promotions may make a big difference. Or all three. I think my current sales are at the lowest possible ebb right now, so whatever I see in March, April, and June should tell me something.

However, the practical note for you all is that almost everything will be on sale for some five-day period or other in March.

I will mention each sale here and on Twitter and Facebook when it actually takes place, plus I will send out a newsletter. I should be sending one every couple of months this year because there will be so many new releases. But here is the first mention of upcoming sales:

March will be a good time to keep an eye out if you would like to pick up anything of mine that you have previously read on KU or for some other reason haven’t purchased, but might want to.

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14 thoughts on “Well, that was a tedious weekend”

  1. yes yes yes Sinowa & Marag!!!! All my wildest dreams are coming true!

    Seriously though, I am very excited for all of these books! These update posts always feel like seeing lots of presents waiting under the Christmas tree.

    I think the only book I’ve been reading recently that I didn’t hear about on your blog is The Scar by Sergey and Marina Dyachenko. I think KJ Charles recommended it in her 2022 wrap up? I haven’t quite gotten into it, because I don’t usually enjoy reading about people I don’t like, but my understanding is that the main character is going to learn to be less of an asshole, so maybe I’ll keep trying.

  2. I thought you’d like that, Elise! I really like the initial scene I have in mind for that story — it’s a quiet setup scene, but it’s emotionally resonant and I think it would work well to pull readers into the story. I want to write it, so I expect I will, and then hopefully the rest will follow from there.

    I have to admit that “gradually becomes less of an asshole” is not usually a draw for me. I’m not usually willing to watch a guy being an jerk for some extended period in the hope he might eventually get over it. Depending on what exact kind of jerk he may be, because I’m a lot more tolerant of some flaws than others.

  3. I agree, I am looking forward to all your books both written and unwritten! I’d like to (again) recommend Fire Logic and Earth Logic by Laurie Marks: great world building, great writing, amazing symbolism, great story, great endings. I think I may prefer Earth Logic (the sequel) to Fire Logic because of the baker, but, no spoilers. I also recommend Joel Shepherd’s Tracato series (free on Kindle Unlimited) which starts with Sasha, again great world building, but it’s very dense and may not be for everyone. My January favorite read was not fantasy or sci fi, it was Jackson Pearce’s ‘Six Ways to Write a Love Letter’ which is all about songwriting and performing and is a romance but super well done. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited.

  4. I’ll pull Fire Logic to the top on my phone’s kindle app, Alison! There, done.

    I don’t have KU — I don’t read NEARLY enough to make that worthwhile, as a rule — but I’ll get samples of both your other recommendations. Someone suggested getting KU for a month to read the rest of the Emma Lion series, which was a great idea and I may do that one of these upcoming months and read a whole bunch of books. … Oh, I see your two recommendations are very inexpensive! No problem, I’ll just pick them both up and drop them on my phone right now.

  5. I’m a little embarrassed to realize I didn’t know you had a newsletter! I’ve rectified that at least, thank you for mentioning it! :)

    @Alison Did you know that Small Beer Press put out the last two books in Laurie J. Marks’ series, Water Logic and Air Logic? I think a lot of people missed them because Tor dropped the series and then there were some publication gaps (three years after Earth Logic for Water Logic, and then twelve years after that for Air Logic!)

    I keep hoping for a reissue of Marks’ Children of the Triad novels (Delan the Mislaid, The Moonbane Mage, Ara’s Field), a really creative setting with no humans- a little bit like the Raksura books in that the protagonist of the first book is a winged person isolated from their species without knowing of them actually…

  6. Sandstone, I have been pathetically slow to actually USE newsletters, but I SWEAR this year will be different! This may be the first time I’m taking my time to really put it together properly, in a way that should be useful and entertaining and worth sending out every couple of months. I mean worth it to the subscribers, and thank you for subscribing!

    I’m happy to note that all four of Marks’ “Logic” series are linked as a series at Amazon now, so that should help readers figure this out. I didn’t realize the publishing history was so complicated, and good for Small Beer Press, how dismal to have Tor dump the series halfway through.

  7. @Sandstone, yes! Great to know someone else has heard of, read, and liked Laurie Marks’ books. I believe I tried, but was never able to find copies of her Trad novels.

    I love everybody’s recommendations on the blog. Is it a Rachel factor?

  8. I cannot wait for both upcoming books in the Tuyo series to come out. I am behind a few books but I have been putting off diving into them because I’ve been waiting, and am going to binge! Although it may be about time to start. I’ve been putting them off because I read so much that I lose track of plots and characters, and I always feel compelled to start a series from the beginning and read them all the way through when a new book comes out – unless the series turns so long that I’ve read the first book in it so many times I’ve almost memorized it. I’m thinking of Mercy Thompson and Kate Daniels, here. The Vorkosigan series is a comfort series for me, and I reread them (or listen to them) every few years, just because. I liked Tuyo and the next two books so much that I think this series will be more like Bujold for me – a comfort and a pleasure to reread endless times. But I’ll have to space it just right. Every time I’ve got the yen to pick up the series from the beginning I’ve seen on your blog that another book is coming out, and decided to wait till closer to the release date. And then was distracted when the next book released, and by them time I turned to pick it up, I was in the same situation again. And didn’t realize how long it would be between hearing about Tasmakat and the actual release, and then I was stuck in a holding pattern again.

    I would love to hear what you thought of the Emma Lion series. It was so soothing to read, both times I’ve read it. And I wanted to recommend “The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy” by Megan Bannen. I picked it up fairly randomly and read it last weekend, and was so pleasantly surprised. Loved the characters, the world building and didn’t stumble over the writing. I kept trying to figure out if I was reading steampunk, or western fantasy, or alternate world. It was cool, and fun.

  9. Another vote for the Logic books by Marks! Though I will say that some parts are very stressful for me. I recently re-read the first three books and then needed a break and I haven’t gotten back to the last yet.

    I enjoyed The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy, too, (undertakers! odd worldbuilding!) and Violette Malan’s books, Halls of Law and Gift of Griffins, under her new pen name, V.M. Escalada.

  10. I confess, when a Kindle book gets up to $10, I tend to say “No.” Something about paying that much for a bunch of electrons bothers me. Probably it’s a sign of getting old. (In my day, we had to walk through the snow uphill both ways to get a paperback from the library…)
    Then I thought to check my local library, and lo! All four of Marks’ Logic books are there in ebook format and the first three are available. (Or were. Sorry guys.)

  11. Mary, for me that’s the Foreigner series by CJC. I’ve read it (yes, the whole thing) quite a few times, and now I usually start at the beginning of (a) the current trilogy or whatever within the bigger series, or (b) one of my favorites from earlier in the series and read on from that point.

    Sorry for the long wait for TASMAKAT, but first it was so long I guessed revision and proofing might take some time, and second I suspected I’d be putting TANO in front of it even before I knew for sure I’d write TANO. So here we are. However, I am (not actually) sorry to comment that there will probably be a new Tuyo novel on the way for the foreseeable future. I’m guessing two in 2024.

    I’m going to definitely try the Bannen you mention, that’s a new one for me, never heard of it!

  12. Evelyn, for me it depends on the author and the length of the book. I don’t mind paying more for a Murderbot novella, but I confess that when the book is self-published, I expect the price to be lower, and I mean significantly lower; or else the book to be longer, and I mean significantly longer.

    The combination of a fairly new-to-me author … who is self publishing … novellas or very short novels … at prices similar to traditionally published books where the publisher sets the price and gets the lion’s share of the royalties … put all that together and I’m irritated.

  13. @R Morgan I had no idea Violette Malan was publishing under a different name! I’ve immediately purchased Halls of Law.

    I feel fortunate that despite the horrors of the publishing and self publishing world, authors seem to want to keep writing (and publishing). I hope all profit. Except the really bad writers.

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