Friday, January 6, 2012

Writing Update and a Blog Fest.

I signed up for the I'm Hearing Voices! Character Blogfest.

You too can join. Various posts are required. Here are the guidelines:

The Posts:

February 6th - Monday: Characters on the couch: Have one of your characters answer the following questions (to make this work to your benefit, choose a character who is the hardest for you to write :) Max 250 words (Not including the questions—only the answers).

1. What is your biggest vulnerability? Do others know this or is it a secret?
2. What do people believe about you that is false?
3. What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw? Why?
4. What would the same friend say is your one redeeming quality? Why?
5. What do you want most? What will you do to get it?

February 8th - Wednesday - Dialogue Introduction: Have two characters introduce each other using only dialogue—no backstory, no internalization, just dialogue between the two. Max 250 words.

February 10th - Friday - Emotion Flash Fiction: Emotion is the engine of a story. Pick an emotion and in a flash fiction piece of 250 words MAKE us feel it! We want to connect with your character. This will be a challenge in 250 words

The prizes:

Two books
Two query critiques
and two full manuscript critiques.

See the above blog link for more details. 


Writing Update

As some of you may have noticed, I enrolled both my books in the Kindle Select program. This gives you the option to set your book to completely free up for 5 days over the 90 day period. So here is what I did and what happened.

TransShifter: Free 3 days: 400 downloads.
Vallar: Free 2 days: 900 downloads.

Since being free I've been getting 2 or 3 sales per day (2 of them in the UK for the first time). TransShifter has sold double the amount of Vallar, but it was the first one set to free and it's only .99 cents while Vallar is currently 2.99. So we will see. This is only over the last 2 weeks. Not too exciting, but I'm happy with it. I feel it was a good way to get some exposure for the books and it may lead to gaining readers.

Yesterday, someone tweeted to me this about Vallar…

It took me about 7h to finish Vallar. I was gonna read a bit before sleeping but I couldn't put it down and now the sun is up.

Keeping someone up all night, made me very happy.

Now for my theories about science fiction. It's not really selling that well. Not near as well as other genres. Mysteries, contemporary, post-apocalyptic and thrillers from my observations are the hotter genres, especially on Kindle. I’m not so sure about YA paranormal on Kindle. I’ve seen some selling well, but others just sitting there. Perhaps the market is too flooded with them. 

And get ready for the market to be flooded with Steampunk because I occasionally come across the SF writer considering Steampunk since they can't find an agent interest in SF. I too am guilty as I have had one story that could be Steampunk circling in my mind for some time.

I've also realized that SF is very hard to break into if you think about it. Of course, I should know this, but it’s just become even more clear in the last few days. I’m just an Indie up the giants. Then you have people (including Indies) who already have a series of books selling in SF.  

So it's just plain competitive and I feel happy with these small successes. Sure some people have a hit and it takes off instantly and easily. But for others like me, it's more of a marathon and you just have to keep working at it. That's what I'm going to do. 

Going free tip: tag your book with the words "Kindle freebie" if you set a book to free. There are some blogs that pick it up, list it and tweet about it. They must have some sort of bot that does it automatically. Don't worry. It won't post unless it's free.

Have a great weekend everyone.

PS: My cookie award post is coming up next Monday. It's about the biggest crater on Mars, the Hellas Basin, and why it's special for being more than just big.



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad so many are downloading your book!
When I was writing CassaStar, everything I read said science fiction was dead. I wrote anyway and finally landed a publisher. Last fall I read about how space opera makes good movies but no one buys space opera books. And then my book hit the Amazon Best Seller chart.
I just don't listen to the rumors anymore.
Keep writing what you enjoy!

Michael Offutt, Visitor from the Future said...

Congratulations for that tweet and for the success you are FINALLY starting to get. Honestly, you are one of the best writers around, Cindy. I mean that. There are times when reading your novels that I feel humbled...I'm like...damn...Cindy is so good.

Or alternately when I'm reading someone else's book that isn't very well written and I pick up yours, there's like this relief. I say to myself, "I can count on this being excellent."

Cindy said...

Alex, yes I feel it's important to write what motivates us. But the thing is this. I think a SF novel can get on the SF charts by selling much less than other genres. It's just something I can sort of tell, although I'm not entirely sure. Do I feel we should stop writing

Mike, if you told me this in person I would turn completely red. I appreciate the encouragement. :D

Peggy Eddleman said...

Congrats on all your successes! That's so awesome! That's a TON of downloads. And that tweet is so fabulous! Aww. I loved it.

Rusty Webb said...

I think there has been a bit of an untapped market for science fiction myself. Publishers don't want to publish it because it really doesn't sell that well, and point to the fact that science fiction isn't being published that much as proof. The reasoning seems a bit circular to me. I know several publishers that openly invite fantasy novels but tell us to keep our science fiction to ourselves.

That said, I love reading science fiction, and happened to be at Barnes and Noble tonight, the sci fi and fantasy section should really be renamed the vampire and zombie section. I remember when that used to be called horror.

Anyway, I think Military Science Fiction has always been pretty popular, Vallar might not quite fit that mold, but as far as sales... I'm not entirely sure about the numbers, at least for Indie published books, but I know some of the bigger selling self published sci fi novels on for kindle routinely sale several thousand copies per month. That ain't bad.

My point? I'm not sure I had one. I think I'm trying to say that while they might not sell quite as well as, say, thrillers do, science fiction does pretty well.

Oh, find podcasts with Robin Sullivan and give them a listen, she talks a lot about science fiction sales on Kindle and she gives lots of numbers.

T.D. McFrost said...

I can't wait for that blogfest! It's gonna be a blast!

Cindy said...

Peggy, Thanks!

Rusty, I think your onto something. There is a market for it, but it's just not being reached as well as it could be. Maybe it's just a stigma that has developed or something. But yes, I see some Indie/Small press SF selling well. Alex's book for one and some others. I'm not an expert in this and I'm still learning. I've come to the conclusion that publishing is similiar to the stock market. Nobody can predict it.

McForst, yes it will be lots of fun.