Friday, September 13, 2019

Kindle Unlimited Take 3

Like a lot of authors I have a love/hate relationship with Amazon. I admire their innovation imagination--and ruthless efficiency--but I also deplore their greed, their inflexibility, their indifference to the publishing ecosystem as a whole--and that same previously mentioned ruthless efficiency.

One of the things I've struggled the most with is Kindle Unlimited. The prevalent idea is you can only make money on Amazon through Kindle Unlimited, and that is simply not the case. You can earn six figures and NOT be in Kindle Unlimited. Granted, it does take one hell of a lot of effort and ingenuity (says the girl with the Patreon account and currently writing porn for a Chinese mobile game company).

I think writers putting all their eggs in one basket is a horrible idea, whether that basket is publishing with one legacy publisher or one indie publisher OR putting everything into Kindle Unlimited. I've been in publishing a long time, and I have seen the painful proof of that too many times to count. But people gonna do what people gonna do.

However you feel about Kindle Unlimited, (and hey, yes, I have a kindle and a KU account) it's pretty clear that right now KU dominates the publishing landscape--and that isn't going to change any time soon.

So how best to take advantage of that without handing my entire fate over to Jeff Bezos? To refuse to play ball at all is pretty much the equivalent of cutting my nose off to spite my face. But going all in on KU is not an option. I can't do it. And I don't need to do it. So what's the compromise for an author like me? I've got a largish and loyal readership, but now days I have trouble with discoverability and with sticking my landings on those best-selling lists which--it's no secret--are now dominated by KU titles?

If your readership isn't growing, it's shrinking. That's the way it works.

So what to do, what to do?

For now, I've decided to put a few titles at a time into KU and then rotate them out again. Some of the titles still sell pretty well wide, some don't. So far, I don't plan on putting anything new into KU, although I have an idea about that too (but not for this year).

Here are the titles currently in Kindle Unlimited:

Mummy Dearest 

The entire up-to-now Holmes & Moriarity series (gulp)

Winter Kill

Murder in Pastel

The entire up-to-now Dangerous Ground series (including the Point Blank box set)

The Partners in Crime box set

The I Spy books (including the box set)

Some of them return to wide in November and the rest go back up in December.

This hopefully introduces me to some new readers. Yes, some KU readers are solely price-point based, but the majority are actually readers like me. We use KU for discoverability; the books we know we want, we buy outright. (There's loads of data to confirm that this is how it works.)

Better yet, this gives me a chance to reformat and repackage these older titles as they come off KU, without trying to tackle everything at once. I can reconsider price points, update back matter, update bonus materials, look at box sets, etc.

So we'll see how this goes. As per usual, I'll keep you updated. If it's a success, terrific! But if it's not, that can be useful to know.







Friday, September 6, 2019

AUDIO RELEASE - The Monuments Men Murders

The Monuments Men Murders is now available in audio!

(Which means--oops! just remembered--I need to update my website!)

Once again, Kale Williams is narrating the latest installment of Sam and Jason's adventures. And once again, Kale does a terrific job.

Four books in it's reached the point where, when I sit down to write Sam and Jason, I hear Kale's voice. ;-D

You can purchase through Audible, Amazon and iTunes.

Speaking of Kale, I just finished listening to Mainly by Moonlight (what can I say? I LOVE his narration). It's fun but also fascinating to see how he changes things up to capture Cosmo and John. Anyway, I can't wait for that one to go live.

And any day now I'll have the files for Slay Ride narrated by Alexander Masters (who I also adore--and my gosh what a feel for historical he has) and then in October comes Haunted Heart: Spring likely narrated by Graham Halstead (I sold audio rights to Tantor on this one, so I can't completely control things but they've been terrific to work with so far) OH. And Tantor is also putting out Footsteps in the Dark (Joel Leslie is doing Stranger in the House). 

So there is quite a bit more coming in audio this year than last--and I'll try to keep you posted.


Friday, August 16, 2019

I BURIED A WITCH Playlist

I've started work on I Buried a Witch so I can hit that Halloween release date, so I thought I'd share the playlist. Or at least the part of the Bedknobs and Broomsticks master list that's got the right emotional vibe for the second book.

I wonder if this playlist will change as much as Mainly by Moonlight's playlist changed? Too soon to know! It's the first time I've ever jumped immediately into the second book in a series, and it's an interesting experience. It does simplify things, as far as remembering the details of who drives what car, who went to college where, etc. :-D


























Saturday, August 3, 2019

She Went Along, and Went Along, and Went Along...

Remember that fairy tale and that Arthur Rackham illustration?

THAT GIRL IS ME.

And let me tell you, the frozen bare ground hurts your feet in winter. :-D

Ah, but it's summer now and the livin' is... Well, I wouldn't say easy, exactly, but the livin' is warmer and the ground is softer.

It's August, we're more than halfway through the year, and my last check-in was May. It has been a very productive year. But better still, it's been a very creative year.

There is still A LOT to come.

But, in case you missed it all, here's what's already been delivered:

Mainly by Moonlight (Witches Brew) Bedknobs and Broomsticks 1 - That just came out this last Wednesday. The next two installments will be pretty quick--October and February, I'm guessing. The plan was always for rapid release, but now I view it as more mandatory than optional. In the age of binge-consumption, this kind of part-one-of-a-three-part-story drives (some) readers crazy.

The Monuments Men (Art of Murder 4) - only one more installment to go! It's going to be very hard to end this series, so yes, I'm tempted to go for more than five books. But that really goes against my long-held conviction that five is the perfect number for a series.

Moments: Choose Your Story FATAL SHADOWS (mobile game ap)

AUDIO - Seance on a Summer's Night (narrated by Matt Haynes)

AUDIO - The Ghost Had an Early Check-out (narrated by Michael Pauley)

"Stranger in the House" (part of the Footsteps in the Dark anthology) The anthology is coming out in Audio in November (narrated by Kale Williams and Joel Leslie) I. Can't. Wait.

Slay Ride - A little bit grim for Christmas, I'll be the first to admit, so I released it early. It was originally supposed to be a short story. But I loved the characters and the time period and so it turned into a poignant little novella set at Christmas time, but NOT a Christmas story. ;-)

I know that's not a lot given the current publishing paradigm. In fact, in comparison with most of my peers' production schedules, it's not much to show. But for me? This has been a huge year. A hugely productive year. So obviously I'm really happy about that.

Also I've managed to move ahead with my plans for getting some of my audio and print backlist into wide distribution. Is it making me a lot of money? No. But were these very old titles making a lot of money sitting where they were? No. Am I discouraged? No. Am I going to continue in this direction? Yep.

Patreon.

I am so grateful to my patrons. The community is holding steady. It's not enough to live on, but it has saved my ass more than once. Mostly it's allowed me to invest in things like more audio, taking more time with projects, etc. The next serialized novel will remain exclusive to Patreon for at least six months after it's complete. So obviously, it's not going to be I Buried a Witch! ;-)

Here's what's still coming this year that will be made widely available:

AUDIO The Monuments Men (Art of Murder 4) narrated by Kale Williams - probably sometime this month?

AUDIO Mainly by Moonlight (Bedknobs and Broomsticks 1) narrated by Kale Williams - probably September or October?

I Buried a Witch (All Hell Breaks Loose) Bedknobs and Broomsticks 2
That's going to be out October 31st. 

Haunted Heart: Spring - That's now scheduled for mid- November (November 22)
Yes, I switched the release date with I Buried a Witch

And then finally, Blind Side (Dangerous Ground 6) - December 31

 I'll probably list for preorders within the next couple of weeks. It's nice not having that pressure right now.

I'm also back to working on Mr. and Mrs. Murder with the SO. Or as the publisher likes to call it: Husband and Wife Sleuths of Crime and Detective Fiction. :-D

And then also I'll be at GRL in October. 


So that's pretty much it for this year's planned projects. Real life happens, so things can change, but that's how things look right now.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

New Release MAINLY BY MOONLIGHT

Mainly by Moonlight goes live tomorrow!

It's coming soon in print and audio (Kale Williams has signed on to voice Cosmo and John) but as of tomorrow morning, the book is digital only.

This is the first in the Bedknobs and Broomsticks trilogy (although, given the amount of world-building, I'm not 100% convinced I'm stopping at three books). It's a bit different from, well, pretty much everything I've done in the last few years in that I plan to write it quite quickly (I Buried a Witch comes out in November and Bell, Book and Scandal is *probably* the first book of the new year).

 There are some other differences as well. It's a bit sexier than what I typically write now days, it's more romance-focused, there's a strong fantasy element. But though it definitely has that cozy, witch mystery vibe, it's still very much a Josh Lanyon book as far as characters and themes. 



BLURB


Cosmo Saville guiltily hides a paranormal secret from his soon-to-be husband. Thanks to a powerful love spell, uncertainty threatens his nuptial magic. But when he’s suspected of killing a longtime rival, he could spend his honeymoon behind bars…

Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith never believed in Happily Ever After until Cosmo came along. Falling head over heels for the elegant antiques dealer is an enchantment he never wants to break. But when all fingers point to Cosmo’s guilt, John struggles to trust what his heart is telling him.

As Cosmo hunts for the missing grimoire among the arcane aristocracy, John’s doubts grow. With an unseen enemy threatening to expose Cosmo’s true nature, the couple’s blissful future could shatter like a broken charm.

NOTE:
Please note: this is the first book in a three-part trilogy. While the initial and essential questions are answered—Will Cosmo find the grimoire? Will he go to jail for murder? Will he marry John?—by the end of the novel many more complex mysteries have been raised. In other words, this trilogy follows the structure of most fantasy series versus most mystery series—and that is because this trilogy is as much a fantasy series as a mystery series. :-)

EXCERPT

I rose to ask Blanche if she had been in my office, but my cell phone rang. I glanced at the caller ID, and my heart bounded awake, all weariness gone.


John.

I clicked, said in a voice I had not expected to sound so unsteady, “Hi.”

“Hey. I’ve only got a minute. What’s going on?” John asked.

I hadn’t expected him to call back. I’m not sure why. For all I knew, Andi hadn’t even removed the spell yet. Even if she had removed the spell, we were still engaged. He would still return my phone calls. It was silly to be flustered, but knowing what I did, I felt…off. Diffident. Like I was talking to a stranger. Because I was. I now knew that everything I had previously believed about him and about our relationship was false, or at least predicated on an illusion.

Worse than that really, because John had inadvertently been wronged through me. He had been forced into emotional intimacy, forced to feel things he had no wish to feel: desire, longing, loyalty, love. And there were practical ramifications too. We were buying a house together. There was already an offer on his old home. He had paid for half of this ridiculously extravagant wedding, and he had paid for our honeymoon: a two-week stay in Scotland.

So his brisk What’s going on? was a question I couldn’t begin to answer.

“Cos? What was that cryptic message about?”

I cleared my throat, said, “Sorry. I just…wanted you to know.”

He gave a funny laugh, a little exasperated, a little not. “Thank you. I do know. I also know you’re worried sick about the investigation, but everything is under control.”

The crazy thing was, after learning about the love spell on John, I hadn’t given the missing grimoire or Seamus’s death another thought until I’d seen the mob of reporters waiting for me.

“Right. Of course.”

He added lightly, “And I love you too.”

I made a sound that hopefully passed for amusement.

“Okay, well, I’ve got to go. Are you at home or at the house?” 


“I’m at the shop.”

What?

“I’m at Blue Moon.”

“I specifically told you to go home.”

“No, you didn’t. You said…” Actually, yes. He had said to go home. Go home and stay there. I hadn’t paid much attention because I never had any intention of going home.

“Yes, I sure as hell did,” John said in a tone I’d never heard from him before. Or rather, I’d never heard directed at me. “I told you to go home. I said don’t speak to anyone until you heard from me. I—”

“I haven’t spoken to anyone,” I cut in. “Not about Seamus. Blanche didn’t even know about it.”

“Goddamn it, Cosmo. Is the press there?”

I felt sick at that goddamn. I know it’s different for mortals, but within the Craft, a curse in the name of the Lord or Lady is…not something you would ever direct at someone you love.

“Yes. I didn’t speak to the press. They didn’t see me. I slipped in the back entrance.”

“I don’t understand why you would flout my orders. Do you not understand how serious this situation is?”

That flout my orders put my back up just a little.

“Certainly I understand. But I had to— I couldn’t not show up.”

“That is exactly what you could and should have done. What the hell is so important at the shop, it couldn’t wait a day or two?”

“I thought I’d have a look for Seamus’s note. To prove that he invited me to the Creaky Attic.”

“No one questions he invited you.” John added into my doubtful silence, “It’s immaterial.”

“Why would it be?”

John said curtly, “Reitherman’s after-hours invitation doesn’t address his actual state of mind, nor your state of mind in accepting the invitation. It doesn’t prove the two of you didn’t fall out in the course of your meeting.”

When I didn’t respond, he added, “Which is why you should have gone home as I asked. Blanche seems more than capable of running that place for a few days.”

The word days jarred me. The realization that this investigation might be something that went on and on for days, maybe weeks. It was not what I wanted to hear.

“If it’s going to be for a few days, all the more reason for me to check in with her!”

“There’s this new invention called the phone,” John said. “I bet you could try using that.”

Sarcasm. That was another new one. And although I’m known in my circle for being on the sarcastic side, it hurt.

I protested, “A few days on top of my already taking—”

I stopped, my heart seeming to deflate as I remembered.

“On top of already taking what?” John snapped.

“On top of having to take time off for our…honeymoon.” I added gruffly, “Assuming we’re still getting married.”

A sharp silence followed. John sounded strange as he replied, “Of course we’re getting married. What kind of comment is that?”

“I don’t know. I just… I’m sorry.” I stopped because it felt like I was making it worse with every word. What do they call it? Self-fulfilling prophecy? See, there is magic in the mortal realm.

“Look, Cosmo.” I could hear his struggle for patience. “You’re upset. I understand. Finish up whatever you’re doing and go home. I’ll call you when I can.”

“Yes. All right.” I took a steadying breath. “What about tonight’s rehearsal dinner?”

He was silent. “Damn,” he muttered.

I waited numbly for his decision.


If you haven't already purchased, all the links are conveniently located here on the front page of my website

Friday, July 26, 2019

Interview with Dieter Moitzi

I guess this is cheating a bit, but I'm filling in for the blog I should have written with a two-part interview I did with the charming and thoughtful Dieter Moitzi for his blog livresgay.fr 

The interview also ran on Gay Book Reviews. :-) 

Part One

Part Two