Monday, June 24, 2019

Mundania Has Closed

One of the oldest epublishers which bought out Hard Shell and Awe-struck has closed down with barely a whimper.  I've heard nothing of this, and I'm an author.  

If you are a Mundania author, go to the home page and make a screenshot of their announcement returning all rights, ASAP.  The website may disappear any time, and this will be the only way to prove you have your rights back.

Feel free to pass this information along to anyone you think would be interested.  


On a personal note, I’m shocked but not shocked.  My first book, TIME AFTER TIME, was published by Hard Shell just over 20 years ago.  Then STAR-CROSSED, my most successful book with piles of awards, followed just over one year later.  

Over the years, my sales have gone down to almost nothing because so many books come out every day that earlier books get buried like a pebble in an avalanche.  Those of us who aren’t actively publishing several times a year don’t have a frontlist to promote our backlist so that doesn’t help either. Sad but true.  

Even then, for the first time in my career, two of my books have disappeared.  I’m still pondering whether I want to bring these books back or let them die.  If I do republish them, it will be through self-publishing since I’d just be delaying the inevitable at another small publisher.

Small publishing, particularly epublishing, is a hard business to be in, today.

The day that Amazon opened up publishing to individual authors, small publishers like Mundania began to bleed authors and income because the main thing they offered for those who didn't fit the traditional conglomerate publishing mold was access to readers.  Everything else like covers, editing, etc., could be bought.  

Add to that the ability of self-publishers to change with marketing trends at lightning speed which no publisher can duplicate, and it's amazing that the few good small publishers are still here.

On top of the changes in the business killing publishers, there's sheer attrition.  Most small publishers are run by individuals, not corporations, so age, finances, family issues, etc., can kill them, and almost every one of these who didn’t go bankrupt died because of personal reasons.  We live in a changing world.

Monday, June 17, 2019

A Romance Takes Two

QUESTION: In my historical romance, I have a whole castle filled with people.  What’s your advice on juggling lots of characters? They are all important, some more than others. But it’s challenging sometimes to include them all. 

A romance is about the hero and heroine, NOT the secondary characters, no matter how interesting.  If a scene or a character doesn't involve the hero or heroine and their relationship or moves their main plot forward, then that scene or character isn't needed.

I use the Rule of Three: If a scene doesn't contain at least one or two plot points (information or events which move the plot forward), and one or two character points (important main character information) so that you have at least three points total, then it should be tossed, and whatever points included in that scene should be added to another scene.

If you really like a secondary character like the hero's best friend, then you can build him up enough so that readers will want his story for your next novel, but you don't take away from the hero or the story while doing this.

In books other than romances, writers have more of a luxury of allowing other characters on page and in viewpoint.  To keep up with these characters, they keep rigorous notes, story flow charts, etc.  They also give just enough information to the reader to remind them of who this person is, if he isn't a major player in the story.  

Monday, June 10, 2019

Reality vs. Fiction

"The way things happen in romance novels don't truly reflect the way things happen in our subjectively real universe." -- Someone's comment during blog discussion on romance.

The truth of the matter is nothing reflects the "real world" of experience. Not fiction, not nonfiction, not news reports, not even media like film and TV. Reality is simply too complex.

A writer uses her own vision of the universe to create her fiction. That vision is ordered so that the complex chaos of reality makes sense and has a pattern. 

If readers find her vision of reality to be truthful for them, (they buy into her vision and understand it), the writer has been successful. Part of that buying in while reading romance is seeing the complexity of the human personality and the male/female romantic relationship reflected in that writing.

Since so many women read romance, romance must reflect emotional, if not physical, reality for women.

In the same sense, most of us don't believe in vampires, but that doesn't prevent us from enjoying a good vampire romance. Those of us who analyze our responses to books see that the vampire romance reflects certain emotional needs and power issues for us so it is emotionally real although not "reality" real.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Summarizing Information

QUESTION: Should I include dialogue with minor characters in full, or should I simplify them in a few sentences skipping the entire dialogue part?

Say if the MC saved a town from an assault and he wanted to investigate it, should the conversation between him and a random officer be mentioned fully? If it is to be skipped, how write it so that the important information he obtained be told to the reader?

I use the rule of three when I'm uncertain whether I need to write or keep a scene.  

If a scene doesn't contain at least one or two plot points (information or events which move the plot forward), and one or two character points (important character information) so that I have at least three points total, then it should be tossed, and whatever points included in that scene should be added to another scene.

In the case of that bit of dialogue, you can say something like this in another scene.  "On his way there, several of the soldiers told him ****"  

Or you could have another important character summarize to the main character bits of information he'd picked up on the way to their meeting.

When I have a bunch of bits of information that needs to be given to the reader and the main character, I often get the main character to assign that search for information to a secondary character who can then summarize what he's found out.