Thursday, September 18, 2014

…Annnnnnd it's out! (A Fistful of Water, + some other notes)

It's out! It's out! It's finally out!

"A Fistful of Water (Chronicles of Marsdenfel: Book 3)" by Misti Wolanski on Ganxy

A Fistful of Water is available now, for $2.99—and that price is going to change back to $4.99 any day, now, so if you want to get the e-book, now's the time. You can find it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, elsewhere

Not in print, though. I've been, um, slacking a bit on that. (I have reason! I've been having a formatting detail that I can't quite get right.)

The first draft of the sequel, A Fistful of Life, is hitting the climax on Wattpad, too. That means I'm likely to have the first draft done this month, and it's possible that I'll have the book out by New Year's. Possible. Don't know if I'll make that deadline, though.

…And I really do intend to post things other than release announcements. I even have another lengthy, thought-provoking post (with definitions!) all drafted up, which likely won't get posted until December. (The reason will make sense when you see it.)

But anyway, the first note I really have to address is that I may not be able to post much until December, even if I manage to keep on target with my goal of releasing something every 2 weeks. I pretty much have some major things I'm working on, which mean I need time and energy, which means I have to give something up. (Having said that, watch me post somewhat regularly over the next few months…)

Second note: As I type this, I am feeling better than I have in weeks or months. I pretty much have realized a few details were leaving me vulnerable to infection, so I'm working on correcting those things. I have energy. I was able to do some cleaning and not feel as if I needed a nap afterwards. (I actually stopped yesterday before I started feeling worn by it, for fear that I'd drive myself into a relapse. I'll be doing more today.)

This comes after discovering a really weird remedy for a cold, which I'm going to try using as a general preventative: onion. Specifically, onion against my feet, in a pair of socks.

Erm, Huh?, right? That's what I was thinking when I first heard it. But I'd tested just having pieces of onion out by me when I was sick, and that had resulted in palpable improvement, so I figured I might as well try a piece of onion in my sock. I was peeling a new one, anyway, right? So I broke two palm-size pieces off the outer layer of onion, stuck one on each foot, put socks on to keep them there, and…

I was feeling noticeably better within the hour.

How/why does it work? I've seen various explanations, but one is something to do with the sulfur. Maybe it's aromatherapy, or maybe the released vapors have an immune-boosting effect, or maybe folks are right when they say onion absorbs bacteria. I don't know, and I don't care. It works (for me, so far—I haven't tested it thoroughly, nor had enough other folks try it to get a sense for its general efficacy and limitations).

Presumably, white onion works better than yellow onion works better than red onion at this. Which is interesting. Red onion is best for allergies.

And then if the effective agent is the sulfur, the root should be more efficacious than the main part of the onion. I plan to test that.

Now, to jump back into a publishing topic… I've completely changed the covers on my Overhill stories again. They look a lot more professional now.

See? So much more professional.

But even with "For Want of Cruelty" being free, the stories essentially don't sell. (Small surprise, considering the old covers really sucked.) Hugh Howey's recent post on exclusivity presents the data on going exclusive with Amazon vs. being on all vendors, and per his math, being on all vendors costs him readers.

I do not plan to go exclusive on Amazon with my Aleyi or Darkworld writing, but it occurs to me that if I'm going to unpublish anything from all other vendors and make it exclusive on Amazon—and I really cringe at the thought of doing that—then those stories are a fantastic choice for doing so.

I'm currently reformatting the innards of the stories to use the new covers. Once that's done, I'm thinking I very likely will pull them from other vendors and put them in Amazon's KDP Select program (and in the Kindle Unlimited program), unless you readers convince me otherwise.

So… Do you think I should make the stories exclusive to Amazon (for the time being)? Why or why not?

But if you don't want to influence my decision, here are some other questions:

Have you tried (or will you try) the onion remedy? Are you staying healthy? Are you looking forward to the finishing of A Fistful of Life?

—Misti

Thursday, September 4, 2014

On Progress, Plans, and Pain (…and Patreon?)

There's a Yiddish proverb, "Man plans and God laughs." So true. Plans can go awry so fast.

Case in point: I planned to have A Fistful of Water out and A Fistful of Life done months ago. I planned to not miss any updates on my Wattpad postings. I certainly didn't plan to spend intermittent hours on the floor in pain, over the past two days. I didn't plan to spend last night tempted to take four or more ibuprofen.

I was smart this morning and took all the various herbs that stop/prevent that pain first thing, before it knocked me to the floor. And I took booster doses at lunchtime.

As far as progress goes, I haven't updated my website yet (bad author, I know), but newsletter subscribers have gotten the short story: "In the Hands of the Smith", whose narrator was picked by Pneumarian.

See, every 3 months, I have a drawing, where newsletter subscribers can pick a PoV character they want for a story. I'm behind on the writing of them, but I have that one done and 2 more in the queue. Want a chance to pick a narrator, yourself? Sign up for my newsletter.

Winning once doesn't disqualify you for another round. Pneumarian won "Mrs. Strongman" for a short story (from my flash fiction "Butterfly Boots"), and so he was the first person to receive an e-copy of the story of how Mr. and Mrs. Strongman met. Newsletter subscribers also got the story before it was available for sale.

That short story came out two weeks ago today. Today I released "A Badge and a Bully" (a Darkworld short story preceding "A Blackmail and a Birthday"—and you might want to hold off on buying, since I plan a mini-series with those that will end up in a bundle, and you'll eventually get to see what happens when a raised-as-human selkie meets Destiny in an emergency situation). Two weeks from today, I'll be releasing A Fistful of Water.

Hmm. Methinks this looks like a pattern…

And it is! I've decided to do something about the many short stories sitting on my hard drive in various stages of incompletion. I have a specific, hmm, setup that I want before I start bundling them. I could go ahead and do a bundle of what I have—I certainly have enough short stories for it—but the prospect makes me grimace. It doesn't match. My plan is to bundle when I have several stories with the same narrator or in the same mini-series, maybe including a "bonus" story that's another narrator at the end.

But to do that, I need to write more short stories. They don't take long—"In the Hands of the Smith" took me about 5 hours to write and edit, and that was with a false start. (Of the 4438 words I wrote in coming up with that story, I kept 3186 of them.) Add in the cover and formatting, and that was 9.4 hours total. If I'd gone the KISS route on the formatting, it wouldn't have taken that long. (I both made it fancier than necessary and made a template, which is included in that time.)

Theoretically, more time spent on short stories means less time spent on novels and other things. But more time spent on short stories (and finishing them) means better morale and improved mindspace for working on novels and other things, so that might just lead to more time spent writing overall.

All I can do is try it and see what happens. ^_^

I've gotten the "oops" checks back for A Fistful of Water, so that'll be going up for pre-order soon, to be released 9/18/14.

As another "*poke* *poke* Huh" item, I've set up a Patreon page. (Patreon, for those who don't know, is essentially a way to treat your relationship with artists as a patronage. Patrons voluntarily pay X per release or per month, which can be adjusted at any time, and a payment cap can be sent for those donating per release.) Feel free to look at it, poke around, and tell me what you think.

How are you? What are you working on?

—Misti

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