Archive for My Books

writing life, My Books

No More Murder

I’ve been working on the next Lucky Lexie mystery, hoping to have something to release by spring or summer, but I’m putting that on hold for now because murder is hitting a little too close to home right now, and it just upsets me to write about it.

First, I heard a murder happen near my house last week. In my neighborhood, the houses don’t face the main street. That street is just lined with trees and brick walls, and the houses face side streets or cul de sacs. My house is on a corner, so my office window on the second floor of my house overlooks a lawn, a wall, and then that main street. Last Thursday, I was sitting at my desk, writing, when I heard five loud pops in quick succession. I was still trying to figure out if that was gunfire and if I should call the police when I heard sirens, and soon an ambulance and a bunch of police converged. They closed the street, and it looked like there was a crime scene team taking pictures and measurements. In a later news release, the police department said that a young man had been found shot in his car, and he’d died on the way to the hospital. According to security footage they got from a business across the street, someone in another car leaned out the window while he was stopped at the intersection behind my house and shot him. The license tags of the shooter’s car were covered, which makes it sound like it was a planned hit. Last I heard, they haven’t made any arrests.

I wouldn’t have seen anything even if I’d been looking up at the right moment, but it’s still a bit shocking to know that I heard the shots that killed someone, and someone was killed right by me, in what’s normally a very quiet neighborhood.

Then Wednesday night this week, I was watching the evening news when they did a story about a young woman being shot outside a coffee shop in the adjacent town. Then they said the victim’s name, and my heart dropped because I knew her. She’s the daughter of some old friends. I’ve known her since she was born. I was at her baptism. I had her baby picture on my refrigerator until a couple of years ago when I got a new one and cleared off all the clutter. I used to tease her about still having her baby picture on my fridge. I’ve watched her grow up and go off to college. The age they gave seemed a bit too old, so I was hoping against hope that maybe it was someone else with the same name who lived in the same town and was close to the same age. I was trying to think back to how long ago she was born, trying to reassure myself that she couldn’t be the victim because the age was wrong. But then I got an e-mail yesterday morning from the church giving the sad news and offering condolences for the family.

I’m utterly shattered. This beautiful, talented, sweet girl was shot by someone she knew, who then killed himself. And now I can’t make myself look at murder as something to make entertainment out of. I can’t write a funny, quirky story about the thing my friends are going through as they face the loss of their daughter. Not too long ago, I was laughing at myself because when I wrote the murder in the book I’m working on, I cried for the loss of this fictional person who hadn’t actually appeared in the book and I cried for his family’s loss.

Which is making me wonder if maybe this is the wrong genre for me. I think it’s important to humanize the victims and not dismiss the pain of their loved ones, but at the same time that really gets to me. When I was feeling burnt out last year, I wonder if maybe this had something to do with it, if it wasn’t so much because I was tired from working a lot or if writing about murder and what it does to the people left behind was getting to me.

I’m going to focus for now on this fantasy book I’m developing. I don’t think anyone will die in it. There’s no murder investigation, just some courtly intrigue. It’s possible that I may be able to return to the mysteries, but definitely not soon, and I’ll have to think about whether or not this is something I want to do. Until the mysteries, I hadn’t killed a character in a novel. I’d planned for a dragon to eat Mimi in No Quest for the Wicked, but I couldn’t bring myself to kill even her.

My Books

Frequently Asked Questions

I think it’s time for another Frequently Asked Questions post, since I’ve been getting questions in e-mail and social media.

Will there be any more Enchanted, Inc. books? There are so many potential stories, like with their kids.
I don’t have anything planned at the moment. The door in my head seems to have shut on that series for me. I came up with the idea 20 years ago, started writing 19 years ago, and wrote nine books. That’s a lot and a lot of time to spend in the same world. I’m not all that interested in writing about parenthood. I’m so far removed from the corporate world that I don’t have a lot to say about that anymore. These days, I’m not even all that interested in contemporary settings. It’s possible that I might do some short pieces about other aspects of that universe (something like the TV series and non-Skywalker Star Wars stuff that explores other parts of that universe), but not in the near future. If I come up with an idea, I’ll write it. Those are still my best selling books, and it would be nice if I could come up with more in that world, but it’s just not there right now.

Will there be a fourth Rebels book?
I have one planned, but I’m kind of in limbo at the moment. The rights on the first book are close to reverting to me, so I’d control the whole series and could actually do things to promote the first book. But if I put out a new book, that would increase sales of the first book, which would reset the clock on the rights reverting. I haven’t been able to sell that series to other countries or books beyond the first in audio, so it’s not a very profitable series for me, and steampunk is kind of dead right now in the publishing world. So it’s all on hold either until the first book goes out of print or the sales shoot up for whatever reason.

Will there be a fourth Fairy Tale book?
Again, I have one planned, but I can’t get the same cover artist (she’s hit the big time, doing stuff for Marvel, and good for her!), so I’ll probably have to repackage the whole series and reissue it, and I just haven’t been up to dealing with that. And then there’s that contemporary setting issue. So, we’ll see. If it starts revving up in my brain, I’ll do it.

Will there be a sequel to Make Mine Magic?
I left room for one but don’t have anything specific planned. That book was commissioned by Audible as an Audible Original, but they’ve changed that program, so they don’t want another book for it. Sales of the e-book/paperback have been pretty low, so it may not really be worth my time to write another book.

Will there be a sequel to Spindled?
Back when that book went on submission, I did come up with a proposal for a second book. Sales have been so-so, but it did sell to the Japanese publisher. If that publisher wants a sequel, I’ll write it and also publish it in the US, but I probably won’t do anything otherwise. I only published it for fun and because it wasn’t doing me any good sitting on my hard drive. I first wrote it more than ten years ago, so it’s pretty “cold” in my head.

So, if you’re not writing any of those books, what are you working on?
I’ve got another Lexie book plotted that I may start writing this month while I’m still developing my new series. I’m planning a more traditional secondary world fantasy series that has taken over my brain. That’s the kind of thing I’ve been reading lately, and it’s where all my ideas seem to be right now. There are some other things that could happen that I’m not ready to talk about yet. I’m trying to get some promo stuff organized so that the books I’ve already written will sell more. I have other ideas I want to play with but that are on the back burner.

What about audio/foreign languages?
If a foreign publisher or audio publisher is interested in any of my books, I generally take them up on the offer. Doing my own translations or audiobooks would be very expensive, and my books don’t sell well enough for that to be worthwhile (which is probably why there haven’t been a lot of foreign editions other than in Japan or audiobooks). If your country didn’t finish the Enchanted, Inc. series in translation, it was because sales of the earlier books weren’t good enough to justify doing more.

I think that covers most of the questions I get frequently.

My Books

Weird Weather

Secret of the Haunted Hotel comes out tomorrow, and you should also be able to order the paperback. It will eventually be in online stores beyond Amazon, but I don’t know if that listing has propagated yet.

I’ve realized that this is the second book in the series that involves Lexie being stranded by weather, but that really is a thing that happens in the part of the world where the series is set. In this book, it’s also part of that kind of story. There’s no story if the cops can get there right away or if people can leave. They have to be isolated in the creepy country house while knowing that one of them is a murderer.

Just as the ice storm in Interview with a Dead Editor was inspired by multiple situations I’ve experienced, the storm in this book was inspired by a specific event.

A few years ago, there was an outdoor event at a venue not too far from where I’ve set the fictional town in this series. It had been a wet fall, so all the creeks, rivers, and lakes were already high and the ground was saturated. Then a system hit us and seemed to just sit there. The rain wasn’t that heavy, but it was constant. The outdoor event wouldn’t have been all that bad, though, except that a nearby creek had overflowed, and it sent a sheet of water down a hill, so that the entire event site essentially became a flood plain, with water ankle-deep. The water was flowing to another creek down the hill from there, and the road leading to the venue crossed that creek. It was so deep under water at that point that you couldn’t even see where the bridge was. That meant there was only one road leading out of the site. Fortunately, it was the way I would have been heading, anyway, but most of the side roads were closed. I would not have wanted to be driving out there after dark because all of a sudden, the road would be a creek. There were a few spots where the water was coming down a hill and across the road. You could still see the road because it wasn’t that deep, but it was a few inches deep all over the road. At night, you wouldn’t have been able to tell where the road was.

Even though things were bad and getting worse, there was also a tornado warning, so I didn’t want to get on the road. They herded everyone into one of the indoor facilities at that place until the danger passed. Eventually, the rain eased up, but everything was still under water. Eventually, I was able to drive home, and I was totally drenched and covered in mud.

In that part of the state, there are often flash floods where they have to get people out with helicopters, and there are high-water rescue teams for when the roads flood and people get stranded in their vehicles. So, I’m not stretching things to have a couple of severe weather events in the same area within a short time frame. It’s a hilly area with a lot of creeks and a few rivers, so you get flash floods. I did restrain myself and didn’t include the tornado. I think I’ll save that for another book. I also left out the drastic weather change that followed that system. The next day, it was sunny and muggy, though the ground was still soaked and there was standing water. By the time I got home after the event, another front was coming through, and it dropped something like 20 degrees. It was just starting to get chilly when I got home, and then it got downright cold.

Basically, if you like having weather affect your plot, Texas is a good place to set your book.

My Books

New Mystery for Pre-Order

The next Lucky Lexie Mystery, Secret of the Haunted Hotel, is now available for pre-order at most of the major e-book sellers. It will be released on October 21, so it’ll be just in time for Halloween reading.

All these books have ghosts, so I guess any of them would work for seasonal reading, but this one is about a haunted house and takes place near Halloween, so it’s especially suited for reading when you want things a bit spooky. There’s a storm and the power goes out and there’s a murder in an isolated haunted house. To complicate matters even further, it’s during the haunted house’s grand-opening party for the bed-and-breakfast in the house, and the owners have invited ghost hunters from around the country, along with Lexie, as the local reporter. That means Lexie, who can really see ghosts, will be there along with people who claim they can. That may make it hard for her to keep her secret so people outside the town don’t think she’s a total crackpot.

I’ve been wanting to write a book like this for ages because I’ve always loved those British “house party” mysteries, where there are a bunch of guests at one of those remote country houses, and then someone is murdered. That means one of them is the murderer. I absolutely love that trope and have been wanting to play with it. Adding ghosts makes it even better.

My mom says I should warn people that this book will make people want Mexican food (Margarita caters the party). There’s also hot cocoa and a discussion about what kinds of chocolate make the best s’mores, so you might want to stock up before you read.

I’ve got links to the places where you can pre-order on the book’s page on my site. There will be a paperback, but they don’t let us set up pre-orders for those.

And after this book, I’m done for the year. I’m taking a little time off to refresh myself and recharge, and then I’m going to work on developing an idea I’ve been playing with for a while. You can follow along here and see something about how my process works.

My Books

Welcome the Vanishing Visitor

It’s new book day! Case of the Vanishing Visitor should be available now as an e-book and paperback (though it may take a little while for the paperback listings to show up outside Amazon).

I have to admit that I almost forgot my own release date because I set it all up a couple of weeks ago, and then I got busy writing the fifth book and sidetracked with some other stuff. And then I suddenly realized it was upon me. Yikes! Now I have to try to remember what’s actually in that book as opposed to in the one I’m currently writing. When I write books back-to-back, sometimes they blur, even if the events in the books don’t take place back-to-back.

And that’s not even getting into scenes I imagined that didn’t go into the book, so they’re still in my head even if I never wrote them, or scenes I wrote and then deleted or changed. Sometimes readers have a better sense of what’s actually in the finished books than the writers do!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this book, and I’m currently having a blast writing the next one. It’s about a haunted hotel in a thunderstorm, so it’ll be perfect Halloween reading.

And now I need to go write more of it because I want to see what happens next. I generally leave off at a cliffhanger at the end of each day’s writing session to make me more eager to start writing again.

My Books

New Mystery Ready to Pre-order

I know it seems I only put out a new book a week or so ago, but the next one is already available to pre-order. You can order Lucky Lexie book 4 now from the major online stores, and it will be released on August 20. The paperback will be available around the release date. I’m adding links as I get them to the page on my site.

This is a twisty little tale that was fun to write. I took a familiar old plot and added the wrinkle of my heroine’s ability to see ghosts. Earlier this year, I found a recent BBC production of The Lady Vanishes on a streaming service. This is a mystery/thriller about a young woman traveling by train across Europe. She strikes up a conversation with a woman seated in her compartment, has tea with her in the dining car, then falls asleep upon returning to their compartment. When she wakes, the woman isn’t there, and when she asks about her, nobody else in the compartment remembers ever seeing her. No one in the dining car seems to have seen her. But the young woman is sure she was talking to someone, and now she’s worried that something happened to her. While watching that movie, I couldn’t help but think about how much more complicated it would be if the heroine could see and talk to ghosts. How would she know if she’d imagined the whole thing, if she’d been talking to a ghost, or if everyone was lying to her?

And that kicked off the story idea. I couldn’t resist doing something like that, with Lexie meeting someone whom no one else recalls seeing. Add some of the interesting local talents and the world’s most observant (and nosy) neighborhood watch, as well as another twist or two, and I had a story.

Meanwhile, I started writing the next Lexie book this morning. This is a story idea that’s been in my head for a long time, but I didn’t have the right characters or situation to use it. It’s absolutely perfect for this series, so I’m going to have fun writing it. This one gets the characters out of their usual setting, so I got to create a new cast of supporting characters. Don’t worry, some of the regulars will be there, but there are also some new guest stars. My goal is to have this one out in time for Halloween, since it’s a nice spooky story.

My Books

Finding My Niche

In the virtual conference I’ve been attending, there were some sessions where that “find your lane and stay in it” concept came up, and then there was a Zoom roundtable discussion for the authors who, like me, completely freaked out at the very idea.

One idea that came out of the discussion was that there are different ways to find a lane. There is the narrow subgenre idea, where you’re known for something like writing sweet contemporary western romances with wounded cowboy heroes, but then there’s also more of a personal brand concept, where an author is known for delivering a particular mood or feeling that carries over through multiple subgenres.

When you look at it that way, that’s more or less what I’ve been doing all along. I made a decision when Enchanted, Inc. got a lot of YA crossover readership and was recommended as an adult book for teen readers that everything I wrote would fit into that category. Even if I’m not writing about teen characters and am not writing books that would be shelved in YA, I want my books to be teen-safe (which means they’re things parents of teens would be okay with teens reading — I know teens certainly don’t limit their reading to things their parents would want them to read). That’s within reason, since my adult books are adult books. I once got an e-mail from a reader angry that she couldn’t read one of my books with her 8-year-old daughter because the language was so bad (I think the word “bitch” came up), and I replied that I was sorry she felt that way, but the book was published for adults and wasn’t meant for 8-year-olds. Still, what I aim for is something that a teen, her cool aunt, her mom, and her grandmother could all read together in a family book club. It’s something you could put on broadcast TV with no editing.

The other thing I think is part of my brand is that my books are mostly fun. Some are more humorous than others, but even the books I don’t write as comedy should make you smile sometimes. I’m not going to drag my characters through horrible torture and lots of angst. You’ll feel good when you’re done reading one of my books.

Those two things are mostly just me being me. But to narrow it down further, I’ve decided to stick with things that have some kind of fantasy element to them. I occasionally come up with ideas that aren’t fantasy, but I think that would risk going too far afield. The people who would read, say, a non-fantasy romantic comedy are much less likely to want to read the rest of my work, while a lot of the fantasy readers wouldn’t cross over to read a non-fantasy book. I’m trying to write things I could imagine most of my readers being interested. There may be some series that some readers are less interested in, since you can’t please everyone all the time, but the idea is to keep things so that the bulk of my readers would at least be willing to give everything I write a try.

So, basically, my lane is fun fantasy books you wouldn’t mind sharing with your daughter or your mom. (I do have male readers, but my readership is so predominantly female that this is where I’m focusing.) I could narrow it further to adorkable wizards and spunky heroines, but that might be limiting myself too much. I may not be narrowed to a subgenre, but that just means people can find me from multiple angles, and if they like what they read, they’ll start searching for me rather than looking in genre categories.

How does this ring to you, my readers? Does this fit with why you look for books like mine, or were you drawn by something more specific?

My Books

New Book News

I’ve mentioned that I was working on this, but it’s finally here — the e-book and paperback versions of the audiobook Make Mine Magic will be coming next week, released on July 29. You can pre-order at the major retailers.

Amazon

Apple

Barnes & Noble

Kobo

And for all others, here’s the Universal Book Link

This is a contemporary fantasy similar in style to Enchanted, Inc., but probably less funny, since I wasn’t aiming for outright comedy, and in a different fictional universe. I’ve been asked if this will be a series, but I really have no idea. I wrote it for Audible as an Audible Original, but they changed that program, so they aren’t doing more original novels. It’s mostly shorter pieces or tie-ins to existing series. So, they haven’t asked for more books. Whether I write more will depend on how well the print book sells. I left it open for a possibility of more books, but I don’t actually have a story idea for another book right now. It’s a fun little magical romp, and I wanted to release this version because I know there are people (like me) who don’t do audiobooks.

There’s more info on the book’s page on my website.

Then the next Lucky Lexie mystery will be coming in late August. I’m editing it right now, and I already have a cover done. More details later as we get closer to that time.

writing life, My Books

Finding my Niche

As I mentioned in the last post, I’m trying to deal with the business aspects of publishing so I can keep actually making a living at this. As part of that, I’ve been trying to level up on the business side of things, doing a lot of reading, attending workshops, etc. I went to a webinar this week that offered some good advice, but that also made me worry that I may not be suited to independent publishing.

One of the main pieces of advice was to find your niche and stick with it. Being consistent and delivering something tried and true is the best way to build, sustain, and grow a readership. A niche is a specific kind of book within a subgenre, such as, say, romantic comedy set in small towns with heroes who are ex-military. When you do this, you can build a steady readership who knows what they’re going to get when they read one of your books, and when they’re in the mood for the sort of thing you write, you’re the author they’ll turn to. Each book you write will have a built-in customer base.

I know this works because I know people who’ve been wildly successful doing this. But just thinking about everything I write being in the same niche gives me a panic attack. I don’t even know what my niche would be. If we go with what I’ve been most successful with, it would be light humorous contemporary fantasy with a hint of romance set in New York with adorkable wizards. You could fit most of what I’ve published so far into that niche. Take away the “New York” part and you could maybe even squeeze the mysteries in there. The YA books would be the outliers, though Rebel Mechanics fits if you remove “contemporary,” since it’s got New York and an adorkable wizard.

But I don’t really have any new ideas in that contemporary fantasy niche now. I’ve got plots for two more mysteries beyond what I’ve written. I sort of have an idea for another Fairy Tale book outlined, but am not really driven yet to write it. Right now, I’m not even reading contemporary-set books, fantasy or otherwise. I’ve tried to pick up a couple but have put them aside after a chapter because I just can’t get into that mindset. I don’t know if it’s everything going on in the world and wanting to escape right now or if it’s something else. I just don’t want to read about the “real” world in anything that looks like today, even if one of the characters is an adorkable wizard.

If I went by what I’m reading now and where my story ideas are, it would be “traditional” fantasy — secondary world, quasi-European (I’ve read some outside those lines, but I don’t know that I could write it), and set in a somewhat medieval-like past. That’s what I’m gravitating toward as a reader right now. I want castles and sailing ships and horses and forests, quests and swashbuckling. I have ideas for a couple of different series along those lines. Just about any new idea I come up with is in that realm. But I’ve never published anything like that. It would be entirely new, and the only thing in common with my previous books would be the adorkable wizards (they keep finding their way into my books), the snarky heroines, and probably the overall vibe. The settings would be entirely different from my other books, but I suspect it will still feel like me.

I may fall in love with something else a year from now, though, and want to write that. The thought of writing the same kind of book over and over again makes me queasy.

And not just the same kind of book, but the same series. That’s the other advice. And, again, I know it works. But I could only manage nine books in a series I loved before I started getting tired of it, and I even wrote a couple of other series in the meantime. The thought of writing 20 or more books in the same series, as some authors have, makes me twitchy. Now, most of these aren’t the kind of series where you have the same main characters and follow the same story arc. They’re more along the lines of the best friend from book 1 being the heroine of book 2, where heroine 1 is still a secondary character and heroine 3 is introduced. Or it’s a family, where each of the brothers gets his own book. There’s some variety there when you aren’t having to mine the same people for drama over and over again.

One of the fantasy ideas I have works kind of like that. I’m setting up a world where a lot of things can happen. There’s a throughline, but the main characters in each book will be different and there may be subseries within the series about different places in that world. I think I could have fun with that, though I don’t know if I could get to 20 books.

Really, I think I’m best suited for traditional publishing, where I don’t have to make the business decisions and where just being more or less within the same genre is good. They don’t want really massive series (unless they’re hugely successful, and then they’ll want to milk it as long as possible). Unfortunately, the kind of thing I like to write isn’t what publishers want. I keep coming up with ideas, and my agent tells me she can’t sell that. They’re backlogged thanks to the pandemic and the way that messed with publishing schedules and releases. My experiences there haven’t been all that great. I’ve never really felt like I’ve been in a situation where the people I was dealing with believed in me and backed me. I’ve never had a publisher let a series finish before they dropped me. Maybe I haven’t found the right editor with the right idea at the right time. Which means I want to keep doing this instead of getting a real job, I’ll need to suck it up and figure out a way to make it work. I think that fantasy series idea might work for me. At the very least, I could use it to establish myself in that field, and then if it does well, a traditional publisher might be interested in me. So far, what I’ve heard from publishers is that they want something like Enchanted, Inc. They don’t want to buy the Enchanted, Inc. series, but they don’t want anything that’s too different. That means I need to make my own name in something different for them to consider it.

My Books

FAQ Update

I figure it’s time for another Frequently Asked Questions post (and I probably need up update that page on my website) because I’ve been getting some similar questions lately.

When is the next Rebels book coming?
That’s a complicated situation. I do have plans to write another one and I’ve even done some of the research. I’ve got a general idea of what the plot will be (the second and third books went far from my original series outline, so my original plans for this book were blown up and I’m having to figure out something new). The problem with this series is that the original publisher still controls the first book. They’re doing nothing at all to promote it and have it priced outside the range that might make people try it, and since they don’t get anything out of the other books in the series, they have no reason to want to promote this book to encourage people to get into the series. Although that book was loved by teachers and librarians and made it onto several states’ lists of recommended reading, it didn’t sell well enough for the publisher to continue the series (there was also the weird thing that the editor apparently bought it with the idea that it was a standalone book, even though I submitted a series outline with it). I published the next two books myself, but they haven’t sold all that well, and since I don’t control the first book, there’s little I can do to promote the series and get new people hooked on it. Foreign markets aren’t interested in steampunk, so I haven’t managed to sell it elsewhere, and in audio, I’ve got that same problem of the original audio publisher not wanting more books, and no one else will take on the rest. That means I’m not making any additional money from these books. I calculated the time it takes me to write them, the cost of publishing them, and how much money I’ve made, and it came to less than minimum wage. So, I can’t really afford to write another book right now when there are other things that earn more for me.

However, sales of the first book are getting close to the threshold where the rights will revert to me. Then I could publish my own edition and do things to promote it to hook new readers, and then it would be worthwhile to write more books. This is yet another reason I’m not doing another book right now. If I put out a new book in the series, that would raise awareness of the series and it tends to raise the sales of all the books, which would then delay me getting the rights back.

So, the short answer is that I’ll do another book either when the sales of that series get to a point where doing more books would be worth my time or when I get the rights to the first book back.

Will there be a sequel to Make Mine Magic?
This is yet another case of a publisher buying a book from me and then not wanting to continue the series. This book was an Audible Original, so it came out exclusively in audio. But they’re discontinuing that program, not doing new novels anymore (mostly they’re doing novellas that are in conjunction with other major series, from bestselling authors, which I am not). I’m getting ready to put out a “print” (e-book and paperback) version, and we’ll see how that sells. If it sells really well, then it may be worthwhile for me to write another book and then see if Audible will buy the audio rights to it while I also put out the e-book and paperback. I wouldn’t be writing the second book under a contract where I know I’ll be paid, so I’d need to feel confident that I’ll earn something from writing it.

Will there be another Fairy Tale book?
I do want to do more books in this series because I love it, but I’m going to have to repackage it. I absolutely love the art I commissioned for this series, but that artist became a big deal in the meantime, so I can’t get her to do more covers, and that means to keep them consistent, I’d need to rebrand the series with all new covers. It would be expensive to do all new covers, and I haven’t been making a lot of money lately, so that’s a lower priority right now. I need to earn more before I have the money to spend.

What about the Enchanted, Inc. books?
I think that series is concluded. I haven’t come up with more ideas. But I have been playing with some shorter side stories, either focusing on backstory or secondary characters. We’ll see what happens with those.

I know, I sound terribly mercenary here, but I’m running a business, and I need to make a living. I don’t want to spend the hundred or so hours it takes to write and publish a book (at least), only to realize I could have made more money by spending that time working at McDonald’s. I have a bit more flexibility as a publisher than one of the major publishers might, since I don’t have full-time staff (other than myself) to pay and am not maintaining office space in New York. On the other hand, I just have the one author and can only do a few books a year, at most, so I can’t count on other authors or books to pick up the slack if one book or series fails to perform. I may not be as quick as a publisher to pull the plug on a series that isn’t selling well, but I can’t afford to devote a lot of time to a series that isn’t picking up readers. When I decide what to write, it’s a mix of how much fun it is, how much work it is/how much time that kind of book takes, how well it sells, and how likely it is to get subsidiary deals, like foreign sales or audio rights. If I could get a series to take off so that I was making decent money on it, that would give me a little freedom to work on some of these other projects that are fun, though maybe a little less profitable, but right now, I don’t have that luxury.

I’m working on the fourth Lucky Lexie book and have the fifth one planned. So far, that series is selling so-so. With more books, I can afford to maybe do a bit of promotion to try to get new readers. I’ll re-evaluate the future of that series after book 5 and some promo.