So, on this fifth day of the great blog tour that I hope at least some of you are following along and reading what I’ve put together. Hope I’m reaching some new people / readers also… I have a lot of confidence in Nevermore – a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe – but my confidence won’t make you read it. I’m hoping 27,000 words or so of promotion will do that … I figure it can’t hurt…
Today’s post is about how moving to the south has changed my writing, and affected the worlds my characters inhabit. When I lived in Hampton Roads, Virginia, it was very urban. The cities are big, there is a lot of action, business, and integration with the rest of the country (largely due to the huge military population). Bringing the family south (and not even that far south) to North Carolina dropped us into a completely different world. Without our move to Hertford, I’d never have created Old Mill, North Carolina, or conceived The Not Quite Right Reverend Cletus J. Diggs, not to mention Nettie the swamp witch. Another thing I would not have done is written the novel I’m asking you to try.. (only $2.99 in eBook for the duration of this blog tour) – Nevermore. Here’s a short sample of today’s post and a link to the rest – as well as links to the tour so far.
“Over my years as an author (more than 25 of them since I got serious) I’ve placed my stories in a wide variety of settings. Since I spent the early years of my career in the US Navy, a lot of them in San Diego, CA, the first large, fictional city I created was San Valencez, California. Then I spread out from there, creating Lavender, California and Friendly, California, up in the mountains.
As I matured, I spread the wealth back to my origins, small town Illinois, and created the town of Random, where my novella Roll Them Bones took place. There are more stories in store for all of these places, but over the last few years, my muse has brought me south and east, to the fictional town of Old Mill, North Carolina, where I’ve now told a number of stories, and expect to tell a lot more.
The south is the perfect setting for dark fantasy. History is longer and deeper here, and old ways linger…” ==>Read the rest of this essay at The Open Book Society Blog…
THE TOUR SO FAR:
Read about Genres & Why I hate them : ==> AT THE AUTHOR’S CAFE
Today, I am being hosted on Blog Tour Day Four – at The Author’s Cafe. I particularly enjoyed writing this guest post because it’s something I probably would have written here anyway. Today’s post is about not allowing agents, editors, publishers, or – really – anyone tell you what you should write, or what you can’t. It’s one of the biggest shames of the publishing industry, in my mind, that authors have become convinced they have to emulate the “big thing” to get ahead, that they have to write just one thing so as not to confuse fans, and that they have to do what their agent tells them. Newsflash. The agent works for the writer, and if that’s not true, it’s not really agenting – if your agent isn’t enthusiastic about what YOU DO and how you do it, you have the wrong agent. Anyway, here’s a short excerpt from today’s guest post:
“Genres and Why I Hate Them
By David Niall Wilson
All through my career I’ve been plagued by a couple of misconceptions and a string of bad advisors. The misconceptions are:
A: You should write what’s hot.
B: You should choose a genre and stick with it so fans don’t get confused.
I won’t get into the long string of bad advisors, except to say that at least two of my agents turned out to be crooks (one went to jail for it), one told me things were being submitted and I later found out – not so much. Still another advised me to pick a bestselling book and try to do something “like that” – which led to a string of outlines, with three chapters each, that said agent could not “get behind.” I had her get behind me, and it worked out better. I sold all of those books….” ==> READ THE REST OF THE POST AT THE AUTHOR’S CAFE.
THE TOUR SO FAR:
Today – day four of the blog tour – there are two sites to visit. That’s just how it works sometimes, I supposed. To keep it “shaken up” however, one is a guest post about how I work with history in my fiction – the other is an interview with me over at HSIB where I am the featured author / book of the day.
I hope you are all following these links…reading what I wrote. I put a lot of time into this. If you don’t believe that coming up with something interesting 27 times in a row without a break is hard, give it a try …
Sales are slightly up on Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe – but I hope you’ll give it a try. If you are reading this, you (at least in theory) are interested in my work. If reviews and reactions are to be believed, this is one of the best things I’ve ever done. If you are a long time fan, you’ll find some familiar faces in the pages of the book, and you’ll want to know what happened before I finish Book V of the The DeChance Chronicles.
Anyway… today’s fare:
Today’s Guest Post is at Romance Author Melissa Keir’s Site – Sexy Between the Covers – titled “History is in the Point of View.”
“History is in the Point of View
One of my favorite things to do as an author is to take a story, legend, bit of history, or something else very familiar to people, and look for the holes in it. Most history is reported by survivors, for instance, and nearly all of what we think we know of the past is skewed, just like the evening news, in one direction or another. In broad strokes, we can see the outcomes of things that have happened, but the reality of how they happened, well, that’s always up for debate.” ==> READ THE ENTIRE POST AT MELISSA’S BLOG!
Today’s interview is the HBS Author’s Spotlight:
“Congratulations on your new novel: Nevermore. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
I never have just one thing in progress these days. I am working on Book V of the DeChance Chronicles, which I can only say continues on both from Book IV, Kali’s Tale, but also from Nevermore, a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe. Nevermore really should be marked book 4.5 – even though Donovan DeChance only appears very shortly, because it is the lead-in to all that happens in book V – working title – A Midnight Dreary. Originally, the story that is Nevermore was intended as a flashback. It just grew beyond expectations.
At the same time, I am working on a Young Adult novel titled HOODS that I expect to become a series as well. It involves a group of teenagers in an inner city environment who have unique abilities. Sort of like “Alphas” or “Heroes” but gritty.
Along with this, I’m working on a long-term project titled Tattered Remnants that is a serial killer novel, of sorts…nothing I write is easily classified, but I think I like it that way. It helps me (over time) reach a wider readership, and keeps me from getting pigeonholed as this or that sort of author. I’m a storyteller. I have a lot of stories to tell, and not all of them are the same kind…
You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How much has it changed your book launch process?
I find that Social Media is a very frustrating marketing environment…” ==> READ THE INTERVIEW AT THE HBS SITE
THE TOUR SO FAR:
Today is the third day of my Nevermore blog tour. Not every day, but most of the days of this tour, there will be a stop at a different blog – some are reviewers, some are authors, others just like books. At each stop you can enter to win free copies of the book. At each stop you have the opportunity to read Chapter One of the novel. Then, the unique part – each stop has either an interview with me (all different) an interview of one of my characters, or a guest post. Today, the stop is at Nancy Jardine’s Blog – the “Welcome Wednesday” post of the week. Since it’s a guest post, and I was given no direction, I started off with the beginning… Authors don’t really like the question “Where do you get your ideas?” very much. I have a lot of answers for it, but it’s mostly irritating, because it’s not a question that you can simply answer. What I did in this guest post is to reverse engineer the question – where did I get the idea?
As is so often the case, it’s a dual answer – history, and one of my other stories combined. I’m not going to spoil the post by going on about it too much here.. If you would like to know more about how the novel was conceived, how I came up with the character Lenore, and to read a very nice review of my book, head on over to NANCY JARDINE’S BLOG and check it out!
From the review (I love this): “The language flows beautifully, harking back to olden times. It is a dark tale which left me a bit staggered at the end- but I don’t do spoilers- read this really good tale for yourself!”
ALSO today, I was interviewed for Blog Talk Radio for the tour:
THE TOUR SO FAR!
So, it’s day two of the big blog tour has arrived, and I have been interviewed by Hywela-Lin for her blog. This was a fun interview, not necessarily the same old questions, and I went out of my way not to provide the same old answers, as well. One of the tricks of this blog tour thing is – in my opinion – mixing it up. If you have nothing new to say, and twelve blogs interview you, asking the same old questions and getting the same old answers in slightly different hats, well, I think you can see how boring that would be. I am not famous. Instead, I strive for interesting. I believe (probably foolishly, but there you go) that if I make a real effort, I can show people who I am, and why I write what I write, and why it would be worth their time to check it out. One thing you learn in life is that even those who are already mildly interested in you have their reasons. Sadly, for me, only a small portion of those interested enough in me to know who I am are also interested enough to read my books.
I wish I had a small truckload of copies of Nevermore … I would ride to the next two fan conventions I could reach and just hand out copies. I wonder how many I’d have to hand out before a sufficient number actually read them, and then talked about them, and it became a “thing?” We’ll never know, sadly – books are expensive. I DID lower the eBook price on Nevermore – a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe to only $2.99 for the duration of this blog tour. $2.99 is still in the impulse buy range, right? I want to give you that impulse, so, without further ado…
Here is a very short bit from the interview with me over at Hywela Lin’s blog… and a link to the rest. Below that are links to yesterdays posts, where I conducted interviews with my own characters, Donovan DeChance, and Edgar Allan Poe…
READ THE ENTIRE INTERVIEW AT HYWELA LYn’s Blog – along with an excerpt from Nevermore. Enter to win copies of the book – or just buy it already!
First, let me start by posting a link to the main site for the blog tour. At this site you’ll find a schedule of all the blog stops, all the ways you can enter to win copies of the Hardcover, trade paperback, audio and eBook editions of Nevermore – A Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe. The book is discounted for the length of the tour from $4.99 to $2.99 – nearly half off! You can find tour info here: The Buy The Bool Blog Tour for Nevermore!
The First two stops on the blog tour required me to do something I have never attempted before. They are “character interviews,” where I sit down in a virtual room and chat with the characters from my own worlds and novels …quite the change from other types of guest posts I’ve written in the past. Sort of half fiction, half real – and as it turns out, not a bad exercise in getting into the head of your own character. As it turns out, I actually had questions, and probably have a lot more – I limited myself this time out to things that relate one way or another to Nevermore…
At LAURIE’S THOUGHTS AND REVIEWS – there is an interview posted today with the protagonist of my series, The DeChance Chronicles… It’s an interesting way, I think, of showing how the series ties in with Nevermore, and hopefully convincing readers of Nevermore that they might want the entire story…and vice versa. Assuming Donovan has fans, I want them to know it is important for them to read Nevermore.
DNW: Today, I am interviewing Donovan DeChance, book collector, mage, sometimes private investigator – and some say – hero. The book Nevermore, a Novel of Love, Loss & Edgar Allan Poe would never have happened if not for Donovan’s chance visit with Poe so long ago, so I thought it would be appropriate to see what he has to say on the subject. I’ve spent a lot of hours chronicling your adventures, Donovan, but I must say – despite all of that, I still have a lot of questions.
I spend far too much time on trivialities in this blog, ignoring what it should truly be about. Words. Stories, creation and art – the ups and downs of the particular life behind my own stories. Some things matter more than others, and today, I have decided, is a very good day.
First, unrelated to any of the other topics involved, I went running for the first time in almost a year. I made it a mile and a half in the brand new Vivobarefoot Running shoes (more on those in another post). I came home, got the leash, and took Gizmo for a long cool walk, came home once again, fed the birds and closed their door so the rest of the family could continue sleeping…
Then, as I shook loose the final cobwebs, I opened up my Kindle Fire, turned on the Wi-Fi and began the download of the audiobook for Neil Gaiman’s newest – The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I knew nothing about this story. Well, that isn’t exactly true. I knew one thing. There are things you look forward to. There are movies coming out – concerts to see – television premiere’s – vacations. All of these things you hold inside and when things get rough, you turn to them and wonder about them a little, and forget the world.
For many years now, one of the things that has done this for me is the work of Neil Gaiman. It’s infectious, of course, and has spread somewhat to the rest of the family. I pre-ordered the book because I think Trish might want to read it, and that Katie most certainly will. (She loved Coraline and has The Graveyard Book and Fortunately, the Milk waiting on her Kindle). While I will sit and agonize over buying new books and paying bigger prices, I have cast this aside as unimportant in a very few cases, and this case – this new story waiting – has been a top-of-that-list case for some time now. I pre-ordered the audiobook the minute it came out, and purposefully timed the last book I listened to to end yesterday, so I’d be ready.
So, I ran a mile and a half. I opened up my computer browser and went to check on my own story (written with the very talented author Steven Savile who – as it turns out – is also my very good friend) – Hallowed Ground, which has been enjoying a two day free promotion and has given away a (to me) staggering 18,200 copies or so. Currently, our little tale is #6 of all the free books available for the Kindle. If the gurus are right, well, this will continue on into sales when the promotion ends. If not – just maybe – some of those 18,000 people are settling into their day – perhaps with the Whispersync for Voice audio that is only $1.99 with the free book – but more likely with a Kindle – and dropping through time to the city of Rookwood, where magic, and crow-men, and even Lilith herself awaits them. That is what I hope, because here’s the thing.
I do not want to write like Neil Gaiman, though I count him among the three or four working authors I most admire. I do not want to write like Neil – but I want to “be” like Neil. I want to be seen for what my heart tells me I am – a teller of stories. Some of them are good, and others, probably not so much, but they are mine. I want to write like me, and be like Neil Gaiman, and -right this very moment – I want to be back on the bench, by the pond, where I left the protagonist of his new book staring at a pond and remembering. I want to listen for Monster, padding through the grass. I wonder what happened to Lettie. I will say nothing more about this book until I reach the other side…
But so far, this is a wonderful day. Thanks Neil.
I spent some time on the phone with a lady this morning that runs one of the bigger groups for independent booksellers in the south. It was one more in a long string of conversations that have led to this post. My goal here is two-fold. One, I want to educate everyone, readers, booksellers who might not know, and authors, on the mathematics of a POD book and why the current situation sucks. The second goal is to reach out to all of those same groups of people and work to find a solution. Here toes nothing.
For the purpose of this post, I’m going to use one of my own novels – Heart of a Dragon. This book is available in hardcover and in trade paperback, so I can show you the realities of pricing and distribution.
Out books are printed and shipped through Lightning Source. Lightning Source, of course, is associated with Ingram, but we’ll ignore that for now. Numbers:
Heart of a Dragon – Cover price $12.99 Trade paperback.
Heart of a Dragon – Cover price $24.99 Hardcover
Lighting Source has been very good to us. There is a calculator on their site where you plug in the type of book, the number of pages, and then experiment with prices and discounts so you find a point where you can make a little money and your author also makes money. It’s easy to use.
We have been discounting our books at 40 percent, hoping this would encourage independent bookstores to order from us. I know most of them use Ingrams or Baker & Taylor, and so, I thought giving this discount would at least help. On the above book:
$12.99 – 40 percent discount – we make $3.98 a book. This is split 50/50 with our authors. The rest, we split among the company and the book designer we work with. in other words. Not much.
$24.99 – 40 percent discount – we make $4.53 a book. Same deal.
That is what we make if we manage to sell a book through Ingram. What I’ve been told is – they do not pass this discount on to booksellers. They short discount it – probably no better than 15-25 percent in any case. Why? Because we don’t allow returns. To explain that. If 100 books are ordered, and we accept returns, and only 30 are sold, the other 70 are returned to Ingram, probably damaged at least lightly, and shipped to us, and we have to buy them all at cost. We have no warehouse. It’s a problem. So, we don’t allow returns.
The reality is that Ingrams WANTS you to discount your books 55% and accept returns. If you don’t accept returns, and still manage to get up to 55% you might start to see some bookstore returns, but here’s the thing. For us to make the same amount on the books prices have to go up considerably.
HC – $32.99 – 55 percent discount we make: $4.39
TPB – $17.99 – 55 percent discount we make $4.29
Then, if we were to take returns, we risk having a pile of these laying around….
If people order directly from us, we can offer the deeper discount to THEM. There may be a point in the middle where all this meets up. We may have to raise prices slightly to give bookstores 50 percent without returns. Currently, what we have done (effective the end of June) is to lower our discount to 20 percent, cutting out ANY sales to bookstores through Ingram, but lowering the cost at B&N and Amazon and directly through us and raising the amount per sale that our authors will receive. We don’t want to be for sale only on the Internet, but that appears to be where we’re heading.
What will fix all of this? A Network of independent publishers creating a single source for booksellers to order from that is simple in the way ordering from Ingram is, but that does NOT cost a chunk of the profit to use. Also, and those of you who have published through NYC know this, if we offer returns we have to change our accounting. We have to keep a “reserve against returns” on print book sales for at least six months, meaning you wait longer to get paid for your books, and if they are returned, don’t get paid for them at all. Then we have to have big “damaged book” sales and try to unload them at $5 – $10 a copy to cover print costs.
Another possibility is to make the information on POD books – cover art, description, price available in stores for customers willing to wait for delivery to their store. Maybe laminated product cards?
It’s ridiculous that we can’t find a better way for this to work in this digital age. Print on Demand has changed the availability of books, simplified the math and shipping – but not addressed the distribution. The old model is designed to work well for people using standard, off-set printing, where you pay huge chunks of cash up front, order print runs in larger numbers, dropping the per unit cost, and allowing that 55 percent discount and returns, hope to do better than break even. The really big companies can drop their per unit ridiculously low – and do – by printing literally hundreds of thousands of best-selling books that end up deep discounted, and still make money (while killing thousands of trees) Those of us working through Print on Demand channels need a new method of aggregating the available titles and making them available to libraries and independent book stores in a way that does not inconvenience them out of the game. Dealing with each of us separately does that.
We also need a way to get people into those stores requesting the books, because, in the end, that is the only way to get them to take the extra trouble – and who can blame them for that? I’m open for suggestions, and would love to hear from other publishers using Print on Demand – how you work it, if you take returns, how bad has that been? If the higher prices don’t matter – I would love to know that too. I am trying to make this print line a success..
I don’t know if what we need is a joint catalog put together by independent publishers, a network of e-mail and direct mail programs reaching out to bookstores, raising our prices and caving in…but I aim to find it.
Here’s how America works. It seems to be the same in every industry, and every walk of life, and we are in a particularly good seat at the moment to watch the entire process unfold yet again. Someone invents something, makes something, or something that already existed somehow gains new traction and becomes a “thing”. The minute this happens, the gears start turning. While the originator of “the thing,” and the first few copy-cats out the door will do well, eventually people wanting to capitalize on “the thing” have to branch out. Suddenly there will be services to help you do what the originators did. There will be books about why it is successful, and how to emulate that success – mostly be people who have not done so, and – if they COULD do so – would BE doing so. Marketing schemes will rise. Consultants on how to do that marketing will rise. Analysts will roll out the adding machines and we’re off to the races. Half of what we spend our money on (and this is a conservative guess) could cost a lot less by simply cutting away the layers of industry that have been built around the original “things” – and the greed of the long string of leeches living off of them. This, of course, is a habit it’s hard to break. People have to work, and in among all the leeches, there are genuinely helpful, knowledgeable people trying to help. None of that is the point.
The point of this post is that Publishing – as an industry – is a perfect example of old school exclusivity, and a somewhat crumbling tower of layers it is going to have to shed to carry on very far into the future. In the old school model, it’s hard as hell to get a book published. They liked it that way (still like it that way) because it makes them seem somehow god-like and important. It gives them the leverage to control people and “things” that they could not otherwise. The same is true of agents. Somehow it has reached the point where authors vie desperately for the attention of these folks – writing what they are told, when they are told and absolutely terrified of doing anything else. The rulers of the industry would like you to believe that all of this is based on the quality of the work- that the agents and editors choosing the books being published are the cream of the crop from all possible sources – that they have magical powers that make their judgment calls the cornerstones of literature. Let’s be frank – those cornerstones support Fifty Shades of Crap and enough books NOT written by the celebrities whose names grace the covers to carpet a very large city. Maybe a country. There may have been a time when publishing was largely based on quality – but it is currently based on cash.
Marketing rules publishing. Hype rules marketing. You are more likely to see a pop-up picture book from Stephen King than a well-distributed book by a talented newcomer. Self-publishing and independent publishing is on the rise, but in many cases the sames rules are applying. Someone creates a “thing” and a million people rush to copy it. Ten of those million manage to do something that makes them money, the rest either rush off after the next thing, or branch out into the new surrounding industries. Those who succeed become gurus – despite the fact that becoming a “thing” is not something that they could recreate, or teach. Consultants build empires. Editing services by people with absolutely no credentials to BE editors are around every virtual corner. Services asking you to pay ridiculous amounts of money so your book can be “published” run by people who know absolutely that you have no more chance of success with them than you do without them, but that their dog will get Kibble if they convince you otherwise. A lot of these “publishing services” are run by respected agents and others whose place in the new schema is on rocky ground. These are people you would hope would be working in the best interests of their clients, but history says no. They are working in the interest of cash.
There is a great blending, as well. Agents – once very important, integral parts of the process, are mostly another blockage in the system these days. They have very limited outlets for work they can sell. If they are successful, they have clients they rely on, and the rest get little time, little consideration, and a lot of delay. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard authors say they’ve written dozens of proposals and sets of sample chapters that never got past an agent until they nearly quit writing in frustration. The odds are that agent is hedging bets by stringing them along, but is really hoping to get off the phone so they can talk to a successful client. It’s business. Another thing to remember is that, in most cases, agents are not editors. Editors, these days, have very little chance of buying something new that they really want – unless the deal is very much banked in their favor, or the product in question either is, or appears as if it might be “a thing.” Don’t count on this old standard route to get you where you want to be as a writer. Remember – despite what the Internet seems to believe – that not everyone can write. If you are good at it – you have a talent – a gift. Don’t sign that gift over to people who have no intention of helping you nourish it…and don’t spend all your time dashing after gurus. Study the market – study the new paradigm. Ask questions. There has never been a better time for talented writers, as artists, to stand up and change things.
As if it wasn’t hard enough to get through those old barriers, agents are now picking new clients from the self-published authors on the bestsellers lists – which obviously means less time for all of those people who made use of the services that helped them write their novels, edit their novels, write query letters for their novels – and submitted them in tight packages following said agent’s posted guidelines. Yeah, it’s like that. All that money wasted – all those services that really aren’t. Do you really need an entire book to show you how to write a query letter? Is there really anyone out there who can so influence your book / project / talent with their “proven formula” for ANYTHING that is more than another crutch to hold you up while the slow-moving wheels of publishing grind on past your efforts without a sideways or backward glance? Probably not. Still, I have a whole shelf of books on formatting and writing. It’s what we do.
Distributors – instead of being a convenient way for publishers to reach booksellers, they are now set up to make it more difficult for any but their chosen clients, or those who bow down to ridiculous demands, to get a product out there. They bully stores by only offering good deals in return for exclusivity. The bully publishers by demanding things like returns – knowing full well that just a couple of over-ordered titles could put a smaller business OUT of business.
And it’s all crumbling. As it crumbles, keep your eyes open. If something is a “service” now that was not there before, and it’s associated with “publishing” but really doesn’t seem to be… remember it’s how America works. A thousand businesses wills pop up for every new “thing” and they will prey on the 999,990 who don’t manage to immediately copy the “thing” for profit. The few that DO make it will be held up and pointed at to prove that ANYONE can do it – and there will be no articles written about the other 999,990 – it’s bad for too many businesses.
Things I’d like to see when the smoke clears:
- Authors publishing the books that move / inspire them instead of what an agent/editor says they should write.
- Editors and (if they make the cut) agents who respond promptly and remember that they work for the writer.
- A distribution system that allows indepe
ndent publishers and sellers to interact fairly.
- More transparency on the financial side of the industry.
- A more cooperative world where – rather than huge advances, what authors want is steady, sustained income and impact – and where publishers don’t try to squeeze the majority of the profit out of those who created it.
I’m a dreamer, I know…but maybe that will be a “thing”.
Before I get too far into describing this novel, I want to talk a bit about where it came from. First off, it was a novel that I never would have written left to my own devices. That said, once I had decided that I DID want to write it, I ran into one of the walls in publishing that irritates me the most. An agent who – rather than really being interested in my work, my vision, my voice, etc. – really only wanted someone who could write another “Da Vinci Code” before it lost its appeal and she had to come up with another thing to try and make her authors copy. Authors – write what moves you. Anything other than this will result in – at best – lukewarm, mediocre writing. A worst? It will make you want to stop writing altogether, and then you begin to cave in to entropy and the great boredom that binds. I mean this with all my heart. If you are going to write, write thing that matter to you because there is no way in hell they will matter to someone else if you don’t.
I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. Agents work for writers. That’s the dynamic that works. That is no longer the dynamic in the publishing industry, and it’s a bad, horrible, spit it from your mouth thing. You should NOT spend your hours and nights and weeks and even years banging your head on some agent’s desk trying to write what they think is the next big thing. A: They may have a connection to sell books to, but they are no more qualified to call the next big thing than the editors who – in general – ignore THEM in the same way they ignore you. You may, or may not write the next big thing, but your odds drop astronomically when you stop writing what you want/need to write and start trying to please “the machine”. If your agent makes you feel as if you work for them, that you have to curry their favor? They aren’t agents at all. It’s not what they are supposed to do. They are supposed to have faith in YOU, YOUR talent, and YOUR vision…if they don’t they should represent someone else, and you should have nothing to do with them because -from my experience and that of many others, the odds are you will sell most of your own books over your career. The agent may, or may not help with contracts – but they WILL collect 15 percent of everything you make. They should earn it, not make you feel as if you work for them…and yet pay them.
Anyway…The Orffyreus Wheel was one of several ideas I came up with for a particular agent. She wanted me to write something like The Da Vinci Code. I came to her with several proposals – all of which she wanted three chapters and an outline for – none of which she could – in the end – be bothered to represent. When I finally figured out she was killing my ability to work at all, I cut that anchor chain – and began writing again. I sold a bunch of books fairly quickly, and during that time, I wrote The Orffyreus Wheel because, though the prod to go and find this story came from elsewhere, once I DID find it, I was fascinated, and knew it needed to be completed.
It’s relevant. Whether or not Johann Bessler invented a perpetual motion wheel that could have pumped water virtually forever, barring worn out hardware, is a moot point. What would happen if someone presented such a constant, free energy source to the world is not. The fuel and power behind our world is controlled by people who consider most of the rest of us bugs. If they didn’t need the bugs to use their energy, they’d do away with us cheerfully. Witness the billion dollar severance pay-outs for oil execs and the fact that bankers who run failed banks and ruin people are still rich. They would not be on board with a good, clean, free energy source -they would want to either own it – or destroy all knowledge of it. Don’t even get me started about what the government might do with it.
That is the basis of half of my novel. It runs on twin timelines – one in the past, a fictionalized version of the life of one Johann Bessler, the invention of his wheel, the power struggles that ensued, the hatred from his peers, where it all led. In the present – an heir with the keys to that same secret, and enemies so large and dark she can barely comprehend them.
This is a thriller. It is also a historical novel. It is fast-paced and I think, intriguing. It was published as a serial by “Amazon Shorts,” one of the old Amazon programs – and was a bestseller in that program, but the program died just as the last segments were going live, and the book fizzled. I brought it back as an eBook, revised and cleaned up – it’s also available as an unabridged audiobook….one day before long it will finally see print.
This Wednesday and Thursday – it will be a free eBook on Amazon.com and I hope you’ll take a chance on it. It was not a book I would have found and written on my own, and for that much I thank Dan Brown and that old, not-very-helpful agent. It’s notable that once I sold one of the other books she did not like – The Mote in Andrea’s Eye, she had the temerity to write, congratulating me on my success and ask if I needed her to represent it… Seriously. That happened. I managed to keep a civil tongue and bid her adieu.
There are stories to write, you see, and every one of the stories she told me I should not write are now published…some with a degree of success, and NONE paying her fifteen percent for hating them. I’ll count that in the win column! If you are an audio lover, you can buy the eBook for $3.99 and receive the “Whispersync for Voice Ready” audiobook for $1.99 – narrated by Ian Alexander. If you download it later this week for free – you can STILL get the audio for $1.99. Come on – let me tell you a story.