Archive for July, 2007

31 Jul

How much is a good story worth?

If it’s in paperback, less than $10.00.
If it’s hardback (and new, and not on sale), around $30 to $40.
And if it’s been out a while, you might be able to take your pick.

…umm, wait. Isn’t the same story in BOTH books? Word-for-word identical? So when you buy a hardback book you’re essentially paying a 300% markup just for a format that lasts longer and has a better cover. Or maybe you’re paying for the privilege of reading it sooner rather than later.

But how much is the actual STORY worth, separate from the format? You can assume that the cost of a paperback is closer to the cost of the actual content, but how “close” is “closer”? I’d need somebody in the publishing industry to tell me that, and I’d be really interested in the answer.

But there’s another way of looking at it. Maybe a story (independent of format) is worth five bucks to you. That’s just an “out of my ass” ballpark figure. How much do you think it’s worth to the author, though? You BUY a story for five bucks (plus anywhere from 5 to 35 EXTRA dollars for presentation and format)… how much did the author sell it for? A HELL of a lot more than five bucks, I’ll tell you that. From the author’s point of view, that story may be worth anything from a few car payments to a new car. Sure, you don’t pay that much individually, but collected revenue from all the people who buy those $5 stories adds up quick.

So how much is a story worth to ME? $100 a month? $1000? I’m not really sure… but whatever figure I come up with can’t POSSIBLY be the same amount I ask from an individual before he reads it. That doesn’t make sense, even on the internet. We… you and me… need to come up with some kind of middle ground.

So tell me… how much is a good story worth to you REGARDLESS of physical format?

30 Jul

The best way to build an audience

Serial fiction.

If you know how to write a fucking awesome ending… to every chapter.

If you know how to create characters that people give a damn about.

If you’re not afraid to put those characters into situations that even YOU don’t know how they’ll get out of…

Then serial fiction is the way to go. But then, I’m biased. Pretty much everything I’ve ever written was presented serially, one chapter at a time. I’m not sure I know how to write any other way. What… write a novel that nobody actually reads until you’re DONE!? Oh HELL no…

But serialized fiction has been good to me. I’m hoping it will be good to me again. My mission here is to rebuild my audience, and I can’t really say I know any other way to do it than the way I did it the first time: One. Chapter. At. A. Time.

Damn, those where the days

What does this mean to you, though? Will I be starting on some new serial fiction project in the near future? Probably. Right now there are three ideas jumping up and down, demanding to be written. And they’re multiplying… there used to be only two! The one thing I have to watch out for is that I have time and attention constraints. I can’t dive right into three different simultaneous stories like I did in the past. There’s too much real-life crap going on, and that shit is multiplying just as fast. So I need to decide on ONE story to write, and I probably don’t need to start with a novel-length work right off the bat. I’ll let those ideas marinate (and multiply) for a while while I chew on a few smaller projects. Like finishing off a certain Dragon’s Inn flashback story, perhaps. Then maybe I’ll have a clearer idea of what I want to do and how I want to do it.

The whole “making money” thing will have to be factored in, of course, but I’ve got some ideas on that, too.

29 Jul

Missing in Action

I met my deadline.

As of today, Sunday July 29th, the Library is complete. It now contains all of my work to date.

Almost.

That all depends on the definitions of “all” and “complete”, right?

There are some holes that need to be addressed. Some stories are missing… some intentionally, others accidentally. Two of them, “Captive Souls” and “The Forgotten” were left out intentionally because they are unfinished. “The Forgotten” WILL be finished eventually, and “Captive Souls” may or may not be, depending on whether I can get in touch with my co-author or not. I do intend to post them regardless of whether I finish them or not, but I just want to put some thought into it first. I may do something… else.

Also, “The Unseen” and “The Quick and the Dead” are missing because… for some reason that escapes me… they were never a part of the LAST website redesign. I don’t know whether I just forgot them or if there was some reason I left them out.

“The Unseen” is a major collaborative work from my early, early, early days at the Dragon’s Inn newsgroup. It features Warrynt and the Siege in is the only story other than their intro where they appear (Yes, the Siege is a character). It also features about SIX co-authors, and THAT may be the reason it was left out last time. The story was my idea and was under my control, but the words on the pages weren’t significantly mine. It was a fun story, though. If I find it, I’ll post it…. but I’m not likely to find it.

“The Quick and the Dead” is a Blaymore solo story. No co-authors on that one, and I can’t seem to find it in my files. It may be a casualty of the infamous Hard Drive Apocalypse of 2007. I’ll keep looking, but if it’s gone… it’s just gone.

There were a couple of other collaborative stories that were intentionally left out specifically because they WERE collaborations in which my characters only played a part. They may have been significant parts, but if the story itself wasn’t mine I didn’t want to confuse people by putting it in my library. One of them was named “The Trial”. The names of the others escape me for the moment, but one of them dealt with Kultra.

Obviously, the Library does not contain any of my work from Crusade or The Book of Dark Places. Those materials have homes of their own.

So that’s it.

With the exception of hunting down a couple of missing minor stories… I’m done. I think it’s time to open this baby up and invite the new fans.

29 Jul

Santa’s Sleigh

A Christmas story!?!

Yeah… a Christmas story!

When fellow Dragon’s-Inn author Grey Feathers (Louisa King) approached me about doing a collaborative Christmas tale set in Montfort, I jumped at the chance. Santa’s Sleigh is the result of that collaboration. It’s a Christmas story in the sense that Black Christmas is a Christmas movie. It’s about an evil Santa that has kidnapped the real deal and is using Santa’s resources to bring evil toys to well-deserving townsfolk. And their children. He must be stopped, but not before the blood and body parts start flying around like enchanted reindeer. It’s every bit as bloody and evil as you’d expect from me… plus a little more.

BTW: Louisa and I also collaborated on Ladies Night, which you will also find in the Library. It’s less bloody (slightly) but has more action. Plus, it has a shit monster. No, that wasn’t a typo.

29 Jul

Shadow of a Doubt

The first Blaymore solo adventure, Golem Lord, could be described as a science fiction story with all the scifi trappings removed and replaced with their fantasy equivalents. It’s a story about robots.

Now, the SECOND Blaymore solo story is entirely different. Shadow of a Doubt is… well… a scifi story with all the scifi trappings removed and replaced with their magical equivalents. Hell, it’s even got a cyborg in it. Not just ANY cyborg, either… I’ve got my very own T1000 running around.

I think I’m beginning to see a pattern here.

ANYWAY, Shadow of a Doubt was intended to be a fantasy/horror story. I don’t think I managed to pull off the “horror” aspect as well as I would have liked, but the suspense is definitely there. I was going for a mixture of The Thing and the Terminator, with magic instead of science. What I got was…. Shadow of a Doubt. Check it out.

BTW, yes it is Kultra that is mentioned in the beginning of the story. And yes, this tale is definitely related to the Temple of Xno flashback story, although Xno is not a pre-requisite. It’s just a nod to the people who read everything. Originally, the character of Hax was to share some background with both Warrynt and Chain, in that they are all products of K’Sano’s search for the perfect weapon. Does this mean that K’Sano had his very own “Weapon X” project going on? Why, yes… yes it does. Makes you wonder what ELSE might be out there….

29 Jul

Ladies Night

Dark Icon does not play well with others.

That’s the dirty little secret of my early days writing for the Dragon’s Inn newsgroup. The whole idea was that it was a shared world for collaborative fantasy writing efforts… but my sharing and collaborating efforts were limited to minimal guest appearances of other people’s characters in stories that were essentially MINE.

Ladies Night is a rare exception.

My co-author was Louisa J. King, a UK author that I lost touch with over the years. She was (and hopefully still is) one HELL of a writer. I don’t know who came up with the idea of putting our two main characters… Zade and Val’Keth… together in one story, but the result was what I can definitely call home run. When we started writing, everything just clicked and the words flowed like water.

The story takes place in the aftermath of Streets of Ice, when Zade was still unaware of her lycanthropy… a “curse” which undoubtedly saved her life numerous times. Val-Keth the dark elf was my favorite of all Louisa’s characters, and I was happy to have her along for the ride All the major antagonists and secondary characters were mine, with the exception of the demoness written by Greg Dewey in a cameo appearance. Lovvorn, Eric Hood, December, and Theesa all make cameos as well, with Lovvorn actually sticking around to do some of the heavy lifting in one fight scene.

I don’t know where the idea of the shit monster came from, but it HAD to have been a nightmare.

Yes, that’s right.

I said “shit monster“.

28 Jul

Hell, why not just go for it:

Anybody got $30,000 they can give me? I won’t pay it back, but I promise I’ll write a lot of stories. Good ones, too.
How about $15,000? I’ll only write half as many stories, but that’s still a lot.

Anybody?

….hello?

27 Jul

Making money with ebooks?

This fellow here has an interesting website. It’s not genre, but its relevant to my situation so I check him out every once in a while. I haven’t bought his ebook since I can pretty much guess at what’s in it based on the other content on his blog, but who knows… I might give him twenty bucks and take a look for myself one day. The reason I mention him is because of one of his recent posts where he claims to be on path to making four figures monthly with a single ebook.

Heh… that’d be nice, wouldn’t it?

Could I do that? I’ve considered it, but making an ebook and hawking it on this site is not on my short-list of ideas to try first. It’s on my try-eventually list, but maybe I should move it up. Or not.

Could it be done? Well… the one big MAJOR difference between me and guys like this is that their products are targeted toward people who are wanting to make money. Making money online is such a common pipe-dream of so many people that even with cheapskates and skeptics like me around, there are still LOADS of suckers people who are willing to pay money to find out how to do it. All you have to do is advertise it enough… cast your net far enough… and you’ll rake in a reasonably large haul.

Fiction, on the other hand, is different.
Full Story »

27 Jul

Dragon’s Inn Short Stories

I’ve just finished adding all of the Dragon’s Inn short stories to the Library. The only things left are a handful of longer novella-length stories that I’ll add to the novels section, hopefully this weekend.

I’ll say right now that the order in which the stories appear on the page is NOT the order in which they were written, nor is it the order in which they should be read. I tried to group related stories together because that just makes sense for a “Library”… but doing so completely scrambles the timeline. And for some of these stories, the timeline is important. The December novels (at the top of the page) are in the correct order, so if you are a new reader you should occupy yourself with them until I can get a proper Reading List put together.

If you’ve already read those, then you can have fun with the Kultra stories, since they are largely unrelated to the December series.

25 Jul

Writer’s Creed

“I can’t deal with the real world any more. It’s broken and I can’t fix it. So I’ll just create another one.”

-Dark Icon