Reflections & Book Update on Nuts

One of my friends reminded me yesterday that The Almshouse is approaching its one-year anniversary.

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I must say, I’m proud of the little book. Though it dipped in rankings, the book held out its own since early February 2016. I feel a little like a parent whose kid is self-sufficient, and claim no credit to its ventures or its friendship with its readers.

Thinking back, the story used to be just questions floating in my head, keeping me occupied in class while my teachers went on and on about some form of math. I found an old copy of the manuscript from my teenage years, back when I still scribbled in notebooks. For some reason, I thought clam chowder served as a better soup than chicken, and Lyle had spent a great deal of time teaching Julia to dance rather than playing his violin. It’s a good thing I wrote the story in drafts.

Along the same lines of nostalgia, I thought of the little girl who inspired the story, and wondered what she’s been up to. She had been a pretty little girl: blond, with curly hair, around my age at the time I saw her. We had both been preteens, though she a much better dressed one than I. I should also revisit the cemetery that inspired Mansion Park, maybe finally read the epithet on the headstone the girl had been staring at. (When I was younger, I tried to make out the words below the date, but had to leave because my friends wanted to go for ice cream.)

Anyway, I’m working on a prettier cover for the paperback version. The sequel is ~ 33% done, and the third book is ~20% done. Sincerely, From the Other Side is a spin-off, written long ago during homeroom and English, and tags on after the third book. I should probably learn to write in order.

nutsBook update on Nuts: It’s 95% done. I had originally planned to finish the book by September and launch it this month. Instead, it’s November, and Nuts sits one chapter away from completion. It’s been this way for months. (I will ramble about it below.) The copy editor has already started reading the beginning, and I’ll finish it by the end of next week in time for him to get through it.

I really shouldn’t make excuses. The trouble started after I returned from a business trip in early August. I’m an attorney by trade, working in a large law firm with rules, regulations, and people that remind you of the TV shows Suits and The Good Wife. If those shows teach anythings, it’s that law firms are no strangers to bad news. So when I got back to the firm, I found that the partners funding our practice area left with the business. Skedaddled, vamoosed, ran away and left behind a handful of associates. As the most junior person (I graduated law school last December), I found myself with half a team left at a firm targeted by major legal news outlets and headhunters. It was open season on our business, our associates, our clients. Every week, someone left. Every week, headhunters poached us. The legal news outlets went crazy: our firm is sinking, they said. Our firm might collapse, they said.

Well, they’re wrong. We did not collapse, thanks to management rescuing as many folks as they could. The remaining younger associates got sent to different departments, and older partners called in favors to help rescue the team. We’re now a different firm, but at least we’re stable… only we won’t be “we” anymore. I’m off to a new venture, to clerk for a judge. It was something I had planned for next year, but given recent developments, I thought I’d head off now and come back later. Hopefully, this will allow me to do what I really want to do: be a prosecutor.

Lessons on Writing: Covers

I’ve learned that I like making book covers.

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It’s relaxing, especially when I get stuck on my new manuscript or have reached my character-butchering limits for the day. As much as I like writing thrillers and horror, I try not to kill off more than a handful a day.

It started when I saw a fall in sales for my first book. I had just launched the thing, and already by the second day, I had half the number of sales as the day before. I ran off to consult established authors, and was told by many to change my cover.  My original cover was mediocre, and I had slapped it together on Canva in five minutes. Needless to say, it did nothing for my sales.

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I left the lights on in the house, something no self-respecting burnt building should have….

 

 

 

At first, I considered upping my promotional efforts instead of changing the cover. That was a mistake. After a few more days of falling sales, I gave in and made a new cover. It’s similar to the old cover, but I changed the arrangement and lettering.

Sales picked up after that, just a few everyday, but it was enough to keep the book afloat. I got the impression that most people wouldn’t mind paying a dollar for something that’s at least nice to look at when they open their kindle libraries.

So I started making more covers. I changed the covers for my short stories as well. As much as I liked my doodles, they weren’t as pretty as photos.

I’m still experimenting with text and layout. One of these days, I’ll write a fantasy book (or have a friend write one) and make a cover for it.