The Long Look Redux

The first thing you may or may not notice about the new US paperback edition of The Long Look is that the cover is slightly different from the original hardcover and ebook editions. That’s because the original design was too close to the “bleed” limits of the pod cover specs. The jacket had to be redesigned from scratch, starting with Steve Gilberts’ original artwork. It took four attempts to get it right, and the final cover was just approved yesterday.

Revising the text was a breeze by comparison. And yes, there were changes. Not major, but changes nonetheless. Mostly a few embarrassing usage and context errors. I’ll be updating the ebook edition with the same changes in a few days, or at least I hope I will. It’s shaping up to be a very busy week.

Regardless, the UK edition is available here. If anyone anywhere else is interested, let me know. For now I had to go with limited distribution to keep the price of the book down, but it will be available in a few more countries.

I’ve been reading and loving Jeffrey Ford’s newest, Ahab’s Return. As the title suggests, it’s about what happens after the events of Moby Dick, when Captain Ahab turns up alive. Once I’ve finished I’ll do a review, if I think I have anything worth saying about it. Don’t wait for me, though. The book is already out there.

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UK Okay?

I’m about halfway through the reformatting of The Long Look for the paperback edition. Fortunately, it reads a lot faster than it takes to work through it in editor mode. One reason for that is I’m being careful, as I only plan to do this once. My original assessment that there would only be minor changes to the text still holds. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any changes at all. A few spelling corrections, one or two small continuity gaffes to fix. Nothing major, but I plan to update the Kindle edition with the revised text when I’m done, so there will be essentially no difference between the ebook and paperback, other than the media.

As I said last time, I’ve always sucked at promotion. Maybe I had some introvert’s dream of just writing good stories and books and letting the rest take care of itself. Which it doesn’t. So I’m learning. I remain terrible at networking and the convention scene, which leaves learning copywriting and using those methods to write better online book descriptions and ad copy, something I believe I can do and am doing. Which has led to several online revisions over the last week or so revising how the books are presented. I haven’t gotten to them all yet, and some will be revised more than once. It’ll take time.

Odd result so far—now the UK editions of my indie books are outselling the US editions by 2 to 1. Too soon to say if the blip is statistically significant, but it is interesting. It’s a journey. I’ll report on it from time to time here, so fair warning.

Paperwork

Quick update. After finally getting the paper version of Power’s Shadow completed and live, I finally realized that, having done that, the series still wasn’t complete (as in, complete up to the final? physical book, yet to be written).  The Long Look exists only as an ebook, and the only paper copies are a few used and leftover hardcovers from its first incarnation as a Five Star Press edition.

So, to make sure the entire series will be available in paper when I finish the series, I’m putting together a new edition of the book in paperback. It’s tedious and time-consuming, but it needs to be done. I’ve made myself a promise that any future editions of anything approaching novel length will get its paper edition at the same time or darn close. Naturally, that only applies to projects I take on myself. Anything done through a trad publisher will be up to them.

There was a time when it was much easier to put together an ebook than a paper book, but with new tools and a little patience you can basically drive both editions off the same text. There’s really no more excuse for not turning both out at once. The only other exception is for books less than novel length, though I’ll have to consider those case by case.

If only writing was all I had to do, but there’s too much else that goes along with it and you can’t ignore that, either. Lord knows I’ve tried and I’m paying for it now.

In Which I Am Stubborn

Stubborn? Say rather mule-headed. Obstinate, almost to the point of delusion. The worst part is, on some level, I always knew it, so let’s get this out in the open—I hate marketing, and therefore I suck at it. Specifically, promoting my own work. I clung to the myth which goes something like this: work hard, do your best, put your work out there, and people will find it.

This is rubbish. There is so much good (and bad) fiction out there that even a voracious reader can never get to it all. It’s a reader’s paradise but a writer’s? Not so much. Any one writer, good or bad, is one drop in a flood. Maybe the readers will find you, maybe they won’t. Some will, and I’m grateful for all the ones who have, but for the most part that’s been pure luck.

One reason I stopped going to sf/f conventions back when I lived in Mississippi was that I realized, as business goes, and considering how far away most of the better ones were, it was a considerable waste of time and money. As much as I enjoyed meeting online friends, I simply couldn’t justify the expense, because I really suck at networking and self-promotion, and pretty much all the other business-related reasons for attending. I’ve watched friends who have the gift working a dealer’s room and I can only stare in awe, as I usually do when admiring someone who can easily do something I can’t do at all. It is actively painful for me to even attempt it.

I have to finally admit to myself there are things I can’t do. So, surely there are things I can? Maybe. I’ve realized that most of my online book descriptions are not, shall we say, first rate, regardless of the merits of the book. I’m speaking purely of the ones I’m in charge of, which I either handled myself or took over after the rights reverted. So I’m learning how to write ad copy (a different skill altogether) and do the kind of promotion I’m able to do. Old dog, new tricks, that sort of thing. Maybe it’ll work out, maybe not. Baby steps.

After all, the first step in solving a problem is admitting there is one.

Power’s Shadow, Physical Edition

Now the paperback edition of Power’s Shadow is live. It came together a little quicker than I was expecting, despite the fact that I had to reformat the entire manuscript and cover. Not that I’m complaining. In the process I found a few embarrassing errors that never should have been there to start with and one whopper of a continuity oops. Which goes to prove the old adage, “You haven’t edited your story until you’ve edited it stone cold.” I apologize for any past mistakes, but I do believe they’ve been fixed, in both the digital and paperback editions.

Now I’m thinking of doing the same to The Long Look, first in the series. Otherwise the physical edition is only available from third party sellers, since it’s long out of print. That way when I finally finish the fourth—and final—book in the series I’ll have everything available in both formats. Something to consider, anyway, though I do not want to get bogged down in my backlist when there are more books to write.

On an entirely separate note, I almost had fresh tomatoes this year. I picked up some heritage plants at the Cooperstown Farmer’s Museum and even got them planted in good time. First the deer damaged one plant, which lived but never bloomed. The second was doing great and had tomatoes almost ready, but then they disappeared. Poof. Gone. I don’t think it was deer this time, but I am noticing some very well-fed squirrels loitering about. Oh, well. Try again next year.