Tuesday, October 25, 2011

What’s worth most?


When I started to write, I didn't think much about whether people liked what I wrote or not. I had to get the stories out of my mind. But as soon as I reached the point where I decided to have a career not a hobby, I looked at published stories in my genres. Yes, there were moments when I thought 'How could they publish this rubbish' but more often I wondered why no publisher brought anything different from what was there.

Then, J.K. Rowling proved to publishers that readers do read stuff that's different and filled with new ideas. I thought everything would change now -- far from it. Again, publishers were chasing trends, this time in Fantasy. My (enthusiastic) agent has offered five different manuscripts to German publishers, and even when the editors liked it, we got a polite "No thanks, it's too different/wrong time" (depending on the genre).

Frustrated, I began to hone my English and started writing my stories in my second language. Lo and behold, I got recognized. Readers of samples, flash and short stories told me they loved what I did. I even got shortlisted for two awards. So, when the eBook revolution opened a whole new set of opportunities, I took my chances. My first eBook "Urchin King" sells slowly but continually. I'm not earning millions, but I get feedback from readers who love my story. This pushes me to write faster, so I can publish another one soon.

Sometimes at night, I am wondering. I read an online article recently where an author's contract was canceled because she self-published with amazon. Would it have been better to wait for "The Deal"?

I don't think so. Sure, I'd have gotten a lump payment up front but what then? I'd have to start writing my stories the way my publishers want, and if readers need time to find me and connect with me, traditional publishers won't give much time to me. They pulp books if they don't sell fast enough. Where does that leave the midlist and the longseller?

What do you think? Are authors better off on their own? Or with a traditional publisher? Or is a mix of both the best option? I love the independence eBook publishing gives me, but I'm not fully set against tradition publishers. After all, money is tight in these times.

Tell me your opinion.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

hey-ho... holiday


for the next two weeks I'll be away. My kids are on holiday, and we'll go horse riding the first week. I'm not sure if I'll get much writing done but if I look back, I wrote and revised two 35K novels and wrote a 60K non-linear novel this year. With NaNo still ahead of us, I think I could call this a successful year.

I scheduled two posts over on my homepage blog. The one that goes up on the 21st is my entry for Brenda Drake's "Can you leave us breathless" Blogfest, and it's a snippet from my current RiP (revision in Progress). The one that goes up on the 24th is my snippet for a "Choose Your Own Adventure Bloghop" started by Kerri Cuevas

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

your last chance


remember how I have been gushing about Holly Lisle's courses "How to Think Sideways" and "How to Revise Your Novel"? Well, she decided to stop teaching. She'll close all her courses the way they are now for good and turn them into eBook self-teaching courses. I understand her very much, after all, her passion (like mine) lies in creating stories, not in teaching. I respect her decision, but I thought I'd let you know that if you act before the end of January 2012, you can still join the courses the way they were meant to be (and get lifetime access to the incredibly helpful forums as well).

I'm not urging anyone to take the courses but I highly recommend them. They taught me all I ever needed to know about writing. Even my German agent agreed that my stories improved considerably. Also, I don't re-write half as much as I used to -- not due to laziness but because there are less faults to start with. Do yourself a favor, join the courses. The pricing is reasonable (maybe give yourself a nice x-mas present).

For me, "How to Think Sideways" and "How to Revise Your Novel" are the best writing courses I ever took, and I only wish they had been around years earlier. They would have saved me a lot of sweat and work.

Enjoy the autumn,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

It's finally out there.


I am so excited, I could burst. My first English eBook, "Urchin King", is available at Smashwords. Amazon will take another day to put it up on their site, and Barnes&Noble refuses to take clients from outside the US. So I'll have to wait for Smashword's premium distribution to get my book up on their site.

I you're interested in reading a story about a teen-aged boy who grew up on the streets and has to stand in for his twin brother, the crown prince, head over to Smashwords and get it. I promise, there is magic in it, a whiff of medieval Europe, and some likable characters.

Thank you for being interested,

Sunday, October 2, 2011

On October the 4th, my husband's birthday, I'll take my first step toward Indie publishing. "Urchin King", my first novel, is roughly 71K words long and will be available at Smashwords, Amazon, and Barnes&Noble. I'm terribly excited.

For fourteen years, street-urchin Paul's miserable existence has kept him safe from an ancient law that sentences all second-born twins to death. When he learns he is the younger twin of the mentally handicapped Crown Prince who's in danger of being killed for his disability, he agrees to play the role of the miraculously healed royal heir. Paul struggles to learn how to act like a born ruler, but finds that his greatest skill, getting by unnoticed, is now his greatest liability. He knows if he is discovered, he will be executed like all second-born twins.

No, I didn't realize that this story's beginning resembles "The Prince and The Pauper" which I read ages ago in school. I only noticed when someone pointed it out to me. But the resemblance of the ragamuffin turned king is vague at best. In "Urchin King", the main character Paul, a second born twin, shouldn't exist due to a brutal law. And the story has got magic in it, a sorcerer with a vengeance, and an unpredictable evil spirit. To add authenticity, I included many details about everyday life in Europe during the Middle Ages. I hope you will like it.

I entered this novel 2010 under its former title "Thicker Than Water" to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's Colorado Gold Competition and was shortlisted in the category "Speculative Fiction" (the only non-Colorado finalist!)

The son of a friend of mine agreed to be my cover-page model (never thought I'd need one), and the castle in the background is from a holiday shot. I think the cover shrinks well. Do you like as much as I do?