I finally got back to writing Book Six after not making significant progress since … I don’t know… last year? I didn’t finish it in November, as you probably know. I meant to then finish it in December, but that didn’t work out well, either. I got ten or fifteen thousand words written in December, which was an alright start, but then I got stuck. I also ran out of cash for any further writing at Starbucks. As previously mentioned, my writing speed seems to slow way down when writing at home & without caffeine/sugar. And/or varies wildly with my depression. Which is pretty bad right now. …well, this paragraph got out from under me. I’ll try another:
Lightning Source, the printer/distributor of my paper books, is running a promotion I’d like to take advantage of, which ends February 28th. They’ll waive the $75/title setup fee if I order 50 or more copies of that new title. That’s a help toward reaching profitability on any title I can use it on, presuming I can sell more than a handful of copies. At the very least, I need to get the Untrue Tales… Books 4-6 combined trilogy paperback together and released on or before April 1st, in order to hit the release schedule I’ve got mapped out for these three books. If I can get it done before the end of February, that would be nice. If I could also re-do the Untrue Tales… Books 1-3 combined trilogy paperback in February, I’d like to. Both because I feel my ability to layout a book has improved since I put that one together four years ago, and because I’d like to have the opportunity to create a cohesive design that spans both paperbacks (and if it’s quite different, perhaps redesign all the eBook covers while I’m at it). Of course, that would mean ordering 50 copies each of two 400+ page books. Even without the $150 in setup fees, that’ll cost me close to $700. I’ll have to sell 28 books at $25 apiece to break even. Which feels like more than I expect to sell any time soon. I’m not doing the Art Walks any more; the only hand-selling I expect to do this year is at Phoenix Comicon, and last year, which I considered very successful, I only sold 27 books at Comicon, most of them at $14 or less apiece. On one hand: books don’t go bad, so I have forever to move that inventory. On another hand: if I order any fewer copies of each book, I pay the $75/title setup fee. 20 copies of each title would cost me almost $500, for both, or $250 for just the new one. 10 copies of just the one, which I’m pretty sure I could move this year, would cost me almost $200. The trick there being that, if I order 50 before the end of next month, the next 40 copies cost less than just the first 10.
That paragraph got away from me, too.
Getting done with editing the Book Five audiobook, with writing and editing Book Six, designing the book or books, inside and out, possibly doing a series of pieces of art (maybe eBook covers, maybe B/W illustrations, one per book, to put in the new editions) to sell to cover the cost of publishing, re-editing all six books for the new editions… it all seems to be looming, especially with the end of February coming up fast. It’s driving me a bit mad. Yesterday, when I sat down to try to get back to writing, it involved quite a bit of crazy and not a lot of actual writing. But the pressure of the deadline did manage to get my butt in the chair, in front of the typewriter.
Have I mentioned that I somewhat loathe the Untrue Tales… series, the last few years? When I’m actually sitting down working on it, I enjoy the work, but almost as soon as I stand up or switch tasks I’m right back to loathing it. Working on the audio version isn’t so bad, but for the last several thousand words of writing Book Six I’ve also been running up against a feeling/worry of not having enough words. I’m writing in the middle of a big blank spot in the structure/outline of the series. It’s roughly 10k words long, and until this week, I had roughly two sentences worth of idea how to fill it. I managed to write seven and a half pages of pretty good stuff over the last couple of days, but what I wrote was supposed to fill 14 pages. So now I’m in a position of when I’m not actively working on it, I don’t want to be, and when I am I’m half-frozen because I’m worried there won’t be enough words. (Self-fulfilling, that.)
And really, I know that if I can just get me to sit down and write, and keep writing, the words will come. They always do. In fact, another motivator for my getting back in front of the typewriter this week has been that my mind has already moved on to the next books; I’m developing ideas, characters, structure, themes, setting, et cetera for a dystopian/vampire duology. Almost every time I’ve tried to figure out how to fill in this blank in Book Six, my mind has rapidly moved on to work on the vampire books. And if I let my mind wander much further, it gets back to the alternate history / zombies series I still need to do a huge amount of research for. The words are there. When I actually set myself down before the blank page, the words came. Two and a half pages yesterday, twice as much today, and a few ideas about the next seven pages, along with them. All beautifully structured according to the same Euclidean geometry Abraham Lincoln used to win the Lincoln/Douglas debates and the White House (though, since I’ve just learned the structure/geometry, not anywhere near as beautiful as Lincoln’s later work), which I just read a good book about; I couldn’t have written those pages that way (or half as well) more than a few days ago – it’s a good thing, I now see, that I didn’t finish Book Six last year. Everything in its right place, at its right time.
…one struggle I have with these books, with this series, is the problem of spoilers. Most of you have not read these books. Even of those of you who have read or listened to one of them, or even the first three, almost none have read or heard Books Four and Five. So I can’t freely write about Book Six. At all. Every single thing in it is a spoiler if you haven’t read Book Five. Most of Book Five is a spoiler if you haven’t read Book Four to the end. I want to be able to tell you what it is I’ve been having trouble writing about, for example, but not only is this a spoiler if you haven’t read the first half of Book Six, but even being vague about it would spoil the end of Book Five. I want to be able to tell you about my super-vague/I-have-no-idea-how-I’ll-get-5k-words-out-of-it idea for the section after this, but I’m pretty sure that, in addition to potentially being a spoiler, it flat-out wouldn’t make any sense without your having read the end of Book Five and the beginning of Book Six. My own family, who have read them all, doesn’t like me discussing this stuff with them, because they don’t want anything spoiled. When the whole thing is done, and especially as I try to consider how to write copy for Book Six (for its eBook) and worse for the second trilogy, and worse still for the full series, I have no idea how to talk about Untrue Tales… without being totally misleading and/or totally spoiling half the series. You may be aware I have trouble concisely describing “what’s it about” re: even single books I’ve written. One of the things I’m struggling with re: the vampire duology right now is that I’d like to be able to actually have an answer to that question in mind both before and during the writing of them. I generally have no such idea in or near my mind with regard to any of my books or stories. For Untrue Tales… this is true on a title-by-title basis, but it is further compounded by the fact that in any way trying to explain what the series is about requires that nearly every single twist, turn, reveal, or character development be laid bare… which isn’t a great way to try to convince someone the series is worth reading. This also relates to the dwindling number of Beta Readers I can share Book Six with when, hopefully within the next week, I finish writing it; most people haven’t read the entire series. Sigh.
Alright, I think I’m finally getting drowsy. I’m to bed. Don’t know whether I’ll be able to sleep; I’m also getting a bit hungry, and I don’t easily fall asleep hungry. My schedule has been as off as I have, lately, regarding both food and sleep. This is depression. One way or another, I’ll make it through.