Feeling pretty good about today

This will be another one of my rambling productivity posts. I'll try to ask a question or two to get the comments going. Today was only a flex day, but I feel like I had enough productivity to call it a weekend.

I started out by clearing a couple of tasks before bed last night. I also unwrapped a tea pellet to try it after it aired out for a bit. The tea today was awesome, and I skipped coffee entirely. The fishy taste is completely gone.

My main goal was to work on a beta reading project, and I moved that ahead substantially. If you've never done it, it's different than pleasure reading. I'm expected to deliver some comments and suggestions at the end. Because my memory goes everywhere, I started a document right away. I chose to do a chapter by chapter breakdown. This requires a certain amount of going back and forth. Great progress, fun story.

I took a few social media breaks, as one does. After I felt like I accomplished something, I returned to my outline.

I'm pretty excited about this story. I'm forcing myself not to start writing until I finish a couple of things up. The outline is finished enough to start writing now. I went ahead and added some photographs and reminders to the cork board, but it's ready.

I'll start the other one, and keep working on one for a novel as winter winds down. Which brings me to another point. These two stories are intended to be novella length. I've never really dabbled at that length before.

Some of my short stories may have drifted into novella territory, but realistically, they are short stories. Word counts for the various lengths are all over the place, so I made up my own based upon research, averaging, and what feels appropriate. I have novellas down as being 30,000 to 50,000 words.

So why would I want to create such a monstrosity? Sales dropped off after I stopped my autumn promotions. This is fairly predictable: no promo = no sales. The only things that seem to sell right now are the Experimental Notebooks. There could be all kinds of reasons for this, so let's explore a few.

It's possible that 99Β’ books are more attractive to readers. Everyone I've talked to says price doesn't matter if they want to read the book, but my 99Β’ books are the ones moving. It's also possible that short fiction is appealing. I love the stuff, because I can read one as I find time. I can make a storybook last for months without losing the plot, because the stories end after a few thousand words. In total honesty, it could also be author friends who want to test drive my writing. It happens, so I'll acknowledge it.

Speaking of the Experimental Notebooks, the first one has been parked at 19 reviews for weeks now. That's such an ugly number. Would anyone like to post a review for the first Experimental Notebook and make it look all pretty? It has a Lisa Burton story.

Novellas would combine some of my theories. They are shorter, and can be finished faster. (Reading and writing, now that I think about it.) They can also be 99Β’ books. There is a possibility they could be attractive. That's why I'm planning this all out. Let's face it, self publishing gave short stories a new life, why not novellas? What do you guys think?

If it all works out, I'll go back and forth between two novellas for my summer writing projects. In a perfect world, my novel outline would be ready to start in the fall of 2017.

I'm pretty happy today. It wasn't a bunch of things, but it was bigger progress on a couple of things.

This weekend will be dedicated to The Yak Guy and The Enhanced League, but my slate is fairly clean. We're also taking the grandkids to see Sue the T-Rex at the Discovery Center. (Don't kid yourselves, I want to see it too.) Beyond writing, meaning when my brain says stop, I'll get back to my beta reading.

So how about it? What do you think about novellas? Have you ever been a beta reader? Have you seen Sue the T-Rex? Do you use a storyboard for outlining, or shun outlining all together?

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40 Comments

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40 responses to “Feeling pretty good about today

  1. I don’t think I’ve seen Sue…If she’s the really super giant T-Rex and she’s been in the Field Museum then I have, but I’m not certain Sue was her name.
    We have a Kelsey T-Rex at the children’s museum, and she’s not very big for a T-Rex.
    I might could go write a review this weekend. I never review books and I really should.
    I think a novella for a change would be groovy. Besides, I love the word novella. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Most of the displays are casts these days. Perfect imitations of the actual fossils, and the only way she’d get to Idaho. I think the original is in Chicago, and is behind the scenes there. I’m not sure, but believe even the one displayed there is a cast. I’m jazzed about a novella. I want to try it. If it fails, at least I’ll know. Appreciate the review more than you know.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I realized that I never reviewed the Notebook! Took care of that right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love novellas. They are the perfect afternoon at the coffee shop read. I think 2.99 is a fair price for something in the 30,000 range. Tor charges like 6.99 for 20,000 word novellas. Also, I have a question, you can ignore it if you don’t care to answer. I’m working on a lot of short stories myself, but so far I have tried to submit them to magazines. The process is so uninspiring, I have three pieces out right now with no replies for over two months. What made you go straight indy?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I submitted novels for a few years to agents, and was about as inspired as you are now. I wanted people to read them, not to delete them unread. I’ve grown a lot since then, and my writing is better, but a few people really enjoyed them that would never have seen them under the legacy system. I dream about being able to price my stuff like that, but the truth is people shy away, even though they willingly spend that much on coffee.

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  4. I posted my promo results for the one official day of the ENT promo. I kept the book at 99 cents for a week and sales were 6-12 per day. Since the promo ended Saturday I’ve moved one book at $2.99, and one audio book. I still haven’t tried Kindle Countdown. I was going to wait a while and do that. I think Amazon gives a little nudge on exposure when you do. I saw a FB comment that Sue Coletta was feeling her soul on fire. I need to do that right now. I’ve hit chapter two of my next book and started having serious doubts already regarding my outline. There was a character I planned for the book who is fashioned after a real life person and I’m afraid I might get sued. That just changes everything I had planned. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it’s a shame that we can’t ask $5 for a book and sell them. Amazon makes the bottom at 99Β’, and I’m glad they did. The world at large would have us paying the readers if not. Maybe you can base it on someone, and change the name a bit, and alter some of the other issues. I’ve done that.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am beginning to feel just a tad inadequate after reading your posts, Craig. Something tells me I have to pull up my writing socks and get a wriggle on!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I always think price matters, especially when you factor in size of the book and if it’s part of a series. 99 cents will always get more traction since people are looking for deals. I remember way back, people were open about waiting for authors to ‘get desperate’ and drop to 99 cents or free, so you have that camp too. I’m with you on the reviews too. ‘Crossing Bedlam’ has been at 9 for over 6 months and I can’t get it a tenth no matter what. Several people have told me they’re going to read and review, but then it never happens.

    I’ve beta read a few times, but only when I have the time. Hasn’t happened for a while. As far as novellas go, I’ve wrote a slasher one and the Dawn Addison stories might fall into that category. I go by page number instead of word count, so I could be wrong. Novella is a hard target to hit because it’s that sweet spot between short story and novel, which nobody can entirely agree on.

    Never seen SUE since I haven’t been in the area. Not sure the one in the NYC museum has a name. I do remember that they had to rearrange the bones because they had it in an ‘unnatural posture’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a crying shame that we can’t ask $5 with reasonable anticipation of success. Amazon set the bottom at 99Β’ and if they hadn’t we’d be paying readers. I’ve heard that T-Rex story. I think that’s one of the first ones found, and is the actual fossil.

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      • True. I remember when going Perma-Free was easier and they were all over the place. There were people going around asking authors when they would go free and get annoyed if they were told it would never happen. I’m probably going to be using the 99 cents price for the Bedlam books. Need to look more into the T-Rex from here. Haven’t been to the museum in years since the kid is more into zoos.

        Liked by 1 person

      • He might like it. Kids and dinosaurs are kind of a thing. I don’t have to consider price until I write the darned things, and I still have two books to finish up.

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      • We tried when he was 4 and he didn’t do very well. The crowds and tight quarters were too much for him. Not to mention he was worried that the skeletons would be cold without their skin. I usually don’t touch price until I’m getting ready to publish. Just something I thought of with Bedlam now due to no sales and low reviews.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It’s a worry for late 2017 for sure. You might try the museum again now that he’s older. I’d love to have access to one like that.

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      • It’s not as easy to get to as one would think. Driving into NYC is never fun and finding parking is even worse. We might try over the summer, but it’s a hard sell when the zoo is always having fun stuff to do.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, zoos are tough competition. I don’t like that kind of driving either.

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      • They can lose out in the rainy and snowing months. So maybe I’ll push for it during his February break.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I think price definitely matters. In fact, I’ve stopped buying books from a few authors who price their eBooks just as high as (and in some cases higher than) paperbacks. That level of arrogance really steams me, because they’re already selling millions of copies. They don’t need the extra money per sale, as well. So they lost me as a reader. I’m only one person, but I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    Glad you’re making strides. I’ve written all sizes of work—flash fiction, short stories, novelettes, novellas, stand-alone novels, and novels in a series. They each have their own merit. I think you just have to let the content dictate the length.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. No need to be sweat about how long a novella is these days – nobody seems to have the definitive word count for these things anyway. πŸ˜‰ Sometimes I think that lower end novel length books (up to to 80 or 90k words) are bloated novellas that could probably have done with a more vigorous edit…A good, satisfying novella is a delight. It says just enough and leaves you wishing there was just a little bit more – and you do a sequel! πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve done two novellas so far, both around 21K. I enjoyed doing them, but in both cases I had several readers comment they wished they were longer. I would definitely do another though, should I get a story idea that I don’t want to spin to 80K.

    As for outlining, that’s one thing I’ve never done. I do make notes and sometimes jot down the sequence of a few scenes but rarely get beyond that.

    It sounds like you have a great productivity schedule planned.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I would love to write another review but think Amazon might catch on. Sounds like you are getting ready for a big output of work after that pesky beta read is done.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think novellas are hot right now. The Kindle Worlds are all novellas, and they do really well it seems. I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Sue. The name cracks me up, though. Yep, fellow planner here.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s fairly interesting that I’m going back through time so to speak, reading your blogs out of order and you’ve already done some of these things. But I like these posts about what you plan to do, it makes me think of what I need to plan to do with my stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

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