M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.


Monday, October 20, 2014

#Writers, How Do Your Craft Skills Grow?

Strange CandyOkay. I'm a Laurell K Hamilton fan ... of the Anita Blake series ... when it comes up in mass paperback distribution.

Those caveats have kept from reading her short story collection, Strange Candy, in the past. I've only seen it in hardback. But one day, I wandered into a new used book store in town and felt obligation to buy some stuff. So I bought it. Read it in a couple sittings.

I came away thinking how much Hamilton has grown as a writer since the 1990s. Her growth is obvious in the two Blake short stories. Granted we're talking short stories here, but they are similar to chapter lengths. In them, Hamilton doesn't multiply the facets or hone the edges of Anita's character as she does in the books, and the secondary characters are definitely flat.

Maybe familiarity with your characters, breeds depth? Or, do acquired craft skills create three-dimensional characters. Lesson? Maybe writers should take time to know their characters before they rush to publish.

What surprised me most was that Hamilton published some Sword & Sorcery. Unfortunately, it's mostly cliched stuff. Have read the story lines many, many times before. But at least she was submitting her stories...and got accepted.

The only short story that really shined for me was "A Lust of Cupids" which indicated how her wicked sense of humor was developing. Still, only 3***** for this read. The stories would still have been buried in the archives if Hamilton hadn't reach stellar best-sellerdom.

Guess all us novices and pip-squeak writers can take heart.
There's hope.


So what have I been doing?

Would you believe messing with social media? Mostly cleaning up things. I crowed too soon about getting The Ignoble Nobel Prize Winner and Night for the Gargoyles up for free on Amazon. Both uploads had problems, but they are now fixed ... after hours of mis-punching buttons.

Actually, it's kinda nice I got them up. Amazon put them in their free Kindle short reads categories. Gargoyles has a #2 and a #4 ranking as I write. Ignoble has top 100 ratings too, all in very narrowly defined categories.

Caveat. These rankings aren't very important, especially since the rankings haven't translated into more sales...at least on Amazon. On the other hand, Smashword sales are picking up. I may break the 25 a month paid download barrier someday. Maybe I'll dream of selling 50 e-stories a month.

Yeah, not very impressive is it? Now you know why I call myself a pipsqueak author. I can give away books, but selling them is another story.

Another example of my list cleaning, decided to do a new title for Crossings. The cover is currently being revised to the new title -- Showdown at Crossings: A Tale of Andor -- and then, it needs to be re-formatted ... then, resubmitted.  I'm hunching my shoulders and hoping all the places where I've listed the book will automatically change the cover, but I doubt it. -- See how marketing time metastasizes?

Don't think just because you've published your book,
your work is done.

Question: How much time do you spend on social media?
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