An Over Extending Arc

Last night was one of those nights where the story kept me awake. I should say "stories", since the thing that has been bothering me the most is how to best utilize Obsidian now that I have the rights back to it. This seems like an easy enough thing. After all, the story is already edited and had an audience. I can either choose to find another publisher for it, or I can I can choose to put it out there myself. The problem with a new publisher is that most don't want a previously published work. It's really too bad since it's a good book. The second problem is that I have another book that I wrote as a semi-sequel to the book. I pitched it to the original publisher, but it was too off for them to want to publish it for a line that is primarily a library line. That was okay with me. I loved the characters. But what really threw me off was when I realized that out of the two fulls that I wrote after Obsidian was published, the one that I thought was the sequel wasn't the sequel. And the one that I thought was a stand alone was actually a sequel. Doesn't make sense, does it? It all has to do with the over extending arc of the story.

My haphazard definition of an over extending arc is... a plot in the story that spans the length of a series and slowly unfolds during each novel. The over extending arc is wrapped up (hopefully in the last novel). Case in point is my favorite Nora Roberts' series that deals with the keys. Each heroine in the series has their own missions to accomplish, but there is an over all arcing theme that runs throughout the books and that is how to accomplish all that they need to do and to free the sisters in glass. Nora is a genius when it comes to these series because she tied them all together so effectively that you are dying to get to the end of the series to find out how they did it. She does it with all of her books. As I said, she's really good at this.

So, why was I awake all night? Obsidian has a subplot of the uncle who is not who he appears to be. He talks about his brother dying and how he came to Maine to protect his niece and nephew. He disappears at the end of the book giving a great segue to the next book in the series. Not the book I thought I'd written.

The next book was Irish Rain (or Once a Hero) and this takes place in New Orleans. I start off the book with an explosion and a brother being killed, but the book has another underlying theme of a group of powerful men who have sent someone to kill him. My problem is that I didn't set up the brehon in the first book, Obsidian. What I did set up was a sequel featuring a USCG Communications Officer, Tom Kearsage. It was only when I started working on the over extending arc that I realized that MoonCussers is the sequel to Obsidian and that leaves Once a Hero as the first in a series with a tie in to Obsidian. Anybody confused? I am. I think that's what has always bothered me about the stories. I love all my stories and I love all my characters. That love has gotten me into the mix of it all. I don't see a problem with the tie in to the original book, but they are different series in the making. The Obsidian series is basically a New England setting centered around a coastal mystery/suspense theme. Once a Hero is set in New Orleans and the books that follow it (yes, they are partially written) take place in London and Northern Ireland.

Want to know how this is all going to turn out? Me, too! But I think this is just the beginning of a fantastic and confusing journey. Care to come along for the ride?

How Much is Too Much and How Much is Not Enough?

If you've been in indie-publishing for any length of time and done any kind of research then you know that the market is as fluid and volatile as the river behind my house. One minute things are calm and smooth, flowing along in a steady, peaceful manner and the next a flood of information comes along that makes the current kick up and the urgency levels to rise.

What am I talking about? Pricing.

I was one of those that jumped on the KDP Select Program bandwagon, signing up for a limited three month term with my novella, STEALING DARKNESS. I set the price at a .99, believing that since it was a novella the limited price would make it attractive to buyers. I was also interested in the free days promotion that is part of the Select program, but what I have discovered is that I may not have made the best choice. You see, I undervalued my work. In order to put myself in a competitive place for selling my novella I put my price lower than would be a benefit to me... the person who labored and loved over the work to bring to market. I was also guilty of giving prospective readers a faulty sense of lack of value. What????
Really what I mean to say is that by valuing my work at a lower price I lowered the expectations of my readers. Isn't the work worth more?

About a month ago, around the same time that I put Three Truths up on Smashwords, I raised the price of the book from .99 to 1.99. I did this believing that the difference in price was justified by the size of the book I was offering. If I was offering a novella at .99 I could surely offer a full book at 1.99. It wasn't long after that the Smashwords founder published his own findings on the buyers reactions to pricing. Myself, along with a host of other authors out there began to realize that maybe we had taken the wrong route when it came to pricing our work.

So, as of today, as I prepare my next novella in the Darkness Paranormal Series for publishing, that my prices need to reflect my work. I raised Three Truths to $3.99 and I've raised Stealing Darkness to $2.99 in hopes that this will bring my work more in line with the current market and maybe give them a fighting chance at finding a readership that will appreciate them as much as I do.

It may not work. I may find that it discourages more than encourages more readers, but for now I'm willing to take the chance.


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