Category Archives: The Healers’ Home (THR2)

On second, third and fourth thought…

Never mind on the book posts. I’m still reading, of course, but there’s not much point talking about it. My read-books list should be public over in the sidebar. I am happy to report that my TBR list is below 80 now, and I hope to keep whittling it down.

I had meant to set aside November to work on the next book, but it’s been extremely difficult to keep going in the wake of the second book’s failure. I tried to educate myself on plotting and tried to write a book that was better than the first, but it simply did not work. Maybe a little structure is worse than no structure, in the end. I’m not sure what exactly went wrong, but wrong it went, all the same.

It’s no mystery that my mild depressive tendencies make this more difficult, as well. Where others might have powered through and locked down what it takes to improve the third book, I floundered.  There’s so much I don’t understand — why the first book occasionally sells a copy despite its age, why the second was so much worse than the first (3%!), how to make the third book better than the second. There just aren’t answers, and so it isn’t clear how to make things better.

I’m working on an outline for book 3, slowly, sporadically, trying to impose as much structure as I can. My brain just doesn’t work in terms of plot points, beats, rising action, etc., so it’s like herding cats. Meanwhile, the numbers question why I’m doing any of this. 3% of 3% would equal less than one sale, if the drop-off in quality continues at this rate.

99% of the time, when I get home, I just retreat to reading other people’s books and playing other people’s games and running from the whole debacle. Maybe, in time, I’ll have the energy to pour into a wholly useless pursuit just for the sake of doing it. It’s difficult right now.

Second Year Recap: Doing It Wrong, For Fun

It has to be longer than that. Right? It’s been… it’s only been two years? I mean, that’s 20 years in indie pub terms, but… two years? Huh. (OK, it’s a few days short of 2 years, but this week is going to be hectic from here on out.)

I wrote a draft of a two-year retrospecticus at about 1.5 years, because this year was so intensely frustrating and defeating that I didn’t see any other way it could end. And yeah, it was pretty much like that. But not entirely.

Theme song: “The Poet” – Bastille (as noted in the liner notes for THH, I listed to a lot of bombastic arena rock this year)

Continue reading Second Year Recap: Doing It Wrong, For Fun

In which Our Heroine cannot see the future

I’d like to pile something a little more amusing on top of that downer post. I find it amusing, anyhow.

Today I made a small continuity fix to the text of The Healers’ Home, in the chapter “Your Mornings”. I was skimming through the book to make geographical notes, because next up on my agenda is a finalized map of the city in which books 2 and 3 take place. I’m highlighting references to placement, distance, direction, that kind of thing.

However, I discovered, after half a dozen reads through the book, that one of the characters accidentally sees the future:

“I think I’ve got my first round of backers,” she said. “Agent Shora, Quasta Kalen, Sister Sulli, and Keth Vogal. Quasta Kalen isn’t entirely on board yet, but I’ll work on it.”

She has, however, not met Sulli or Keth yet. Ahem. This is a remnant of having swapped the order of chapters around; previously, the meetings with the various backers, separately and together, came at different points in the story. As I recall, I meant to fix another continuity glitch in this line of dialogue (I don’t remember what, exactly) and introduced a new glitch instead.

Here’s the new line:

“I think I’ve got a start on my first round of backers,” she said. “Agent Shora and Quasta Kalen, and then I’d like to get someone from the Church of Tufar and someone else from the logging industry. Quasta Kalen isn’t entirely on board yet, but I’ll work on it.”

Ahh. Nice and vague.

Fixing things, and a bunch of acronyms

Changelog of the THH release fuckery, last updated 9/8/16.

  • Mailing list: Still broken. Help request submitted on 9/1. I’ve set up a non-Gmail address instead, but Mailchimp locked my account “for review” back on 9/1 and apparently never came back. Okay then… uh… yeah. Hm.
  • Cover: FIXED. Amazon got back to my help request. The uploader was mis-reading the file type as something it wasn’t meant to be, i.e. the file was wonky. Re-uploaded a new file. Good to go.
  • Table of Contents: FIXED. Here’s the problem, so I don’t do it again: I had carefully coded up my formatting in HTML/CSS, but I had coded my chapter headings as a special kind of paragraph, not realizing how deadly seriously Amazon/Kindle takes the difference between P tags and H tags. OMG. The chapters are now H1, the TOC should work, here we go.
    • I had to do all of this in Word this time, but it should be okay in JEdit next time. Just make them freaking H1s or H2s, for the love of all that’s good and holy.

More on the TOC / formatting:

Why am I having more problems this time around? Because I tried to get under the hood instead of WYSIWYGing everything. For book 1, I wrote in Word, I exported from Word, the end. For book 2, I wrote in Scrivener (which is generally a terrific program, and helped me write this thing in half the time of book 1), exported to JEdit, followed a formatting guide, and tried to format everything by hand instead of letting Word throw in whatever spaghetti-mass of code it wants.

This is, generally, not a bad thing. However, once you’re trying to do everything yourself, you may run into some bumps that the WYSIWYG-type editor usually smooths out for you.

I also found that KDP seems to play nicer with DOC files than HTML or pre-built MOBI. Which is to say, it plays at all. (I made the mistake of trying to upload an HTML file just to try it, and it froze for half an hour.)

So export from Scrivener into HTML, fix up in JEdit (italics, centering, headings, etc.), import into Calibre, export as DOC, check and make sure the TOC works there, then upload to KDP. Sounds stupid, but I think it’s working.


Interesting/baffling note on titles, 9/6/16: In the week and a half since Book 2 flopped out of the gate, Book 1 has out”sold” Book 2 on Kindle Unlimited by 5 to 1. I numbered them as Books 1 and 2 in their listings, but I guess the titles are still too similar, and it’s causing confusion?

That, or the lack of functioning cover on Book 2 is such a problem that people assume Book 1 must be the newer one.  But that’s unlikely, considering that the publishing date of 2014 is visible on Book 1’s page. That book was done and dead 630 days ago. That’s enough time for anyone else to write a 21-book series. I do not understand this.

Folks, The Healers’ Road is book 1. The Healers’ Home is book 2. That’s the “new” one, though it’s now 9 days old. Okay? Okay.

P.S. Things, Sort Of

After the sort-of announcement, I posted July/August’s reading list, which was hellaciously long. So here’s a reminder/pop-back-up: The Healers’ Home is out, but its listing on Amazon is borked-ish, Mailchimp has banned me for some reason, etc. etc.

We’re having technical issues, is what I’m saying. So I have not sent an announcement to the mailing list or done much announcing overall. I hope to have all of these issues ironed out soon.

The Healers’ Home: We are liiiiiive!!

thr2-cover-proof2

The Healers’ Home is out now! Amazon, get on updating that cover image, okay?

The first book has also dropped to $1.99 (US) for the foreseeable future. Both volumes are available for free through Kindle Unlimited.

They’re also now labeled as Book 1 and Book 2, although I do hope to write more that take place before the current Book 1. But for the sake of being clearer in the meantime, I decided to label them.

“Okay, So Why Not” Day Is Nigh

The final(?) draft was finished. One beta reader loved it, the other kind of hated it, or at least parts of it. Months of agonizing followed.

This week, stuck at home with the flu, I decided to do one more pass through the draft with the beta notes on hand. I made it through. I pared out another 2,000 words. So far, the same as always.

Here we are on the high-dive board. The final(!) draft is not perfect. This is a problem, right? Everything has to be perfect to be worthwhile, right? You have to make everyone happy all the time, right?

Well…

Every so often, a time comes when a perfectionist gets tired of waiting, and just… lets the chips fall where they may.

It’s in progress now; Amazon takes a little while to “go live.” But it’s coming. I’m not waiting for the book to be perfect anymore. I love it,  and I’ll live with its flaws. I want to move on to what’s next.

Post Type 2: Still No Release Date

Still building the crap kingdom. I do not know why. Some of the short pieces are winding down (as with the one posted previously), so I’m poking at the idea of writing Lina’s story — Agna’s herbalist sister. It would be fun to kick around that setting for a while.

One of the beta readers has finished Book 2. I have not had time to read the notes; real life intervened. Soon. I know one excellent read-through isn’t enough to justify publishing. I’ve lost hope of that. But it’s something.

edited to add: …wow. So… wow. Um… yeah. Uh, this book has PROBLEMS, evidently. I think… I think I’m done.

La la la limbo

See previous: same situation. I am not being chill about being in limbo. I foam at the mouth regularly. I want a direction for Book 3, which I can’t chart until I know whether Book 2 makes any sense to anyone. (Again, beta reading is always always always open. I am this close to nailing copies of this damn draft to telephone poles with tear-off strips that say “Please Please Please Somebody Give Me a Fricking Opinion I Need to Fix Whatever Issues I Can’t See And Now I’m So Bored It Hurts Help.” They would be long strips.)

In the meantime, I’m reading as much as I can stand, and spinning my 500-words-a-day wheels by writing prequels, sequels, history, story-encyclopedia entries, journaling, and, recently, a wow-how’d-this-get-so-long potential (but unlikely) future short set about 10 years after Book 2. I may write a couple more of those, and see whether any of them makes sense for an eventual direction for that part of the series.

This situation is deeply frustrating. I’ve offered to beta-read and line-edit other people’s books, because I’m good at it, and skill trade is a great idea in theory. Nothing. I’ve begged for help from friends to no avail. The only leverage I don’t have is money, and that seems to be the only thing that will wring anything but silence out of this world. So… here we are. Yay money, you make all things possible.

Every cell in my being screams that I cannot, CANNOT OMG WHAT ARE YOU THINKING put up a book that hasn’t been through >1 pre-readers. But that’s what I’m facing: publish a nearly un-pre-read book, or never publish again. I’ll go back to my list of priorities and ponder this for a couple of weeks. And then we’ll see.

THR2/THH Update: SOON.

The sidebar has said that the next book is coming in “April/May” for a while, and we’re nearly through May. I know. But listen. At this stage in my life, I am helped along this vale of tears by some talented folks whom I cannot pay. And I appreciate their efforts too much to carp about timelines.

In other words, the beta readers are still working on it, so it’s out of my hands. I sincerely believe that it’s just around the corner, even with all of my entrenched pessimism.

I’ve poked at it as much as I can at this stage, so as soon as I get some notes back, I’ll pull those together, consider, make more edits, and then we’re good to go. Cover’s ready, blurb is as ready as it’s going to get.

I could put it up for presale now, and if I were a model indie who Does Everything Right, I’d do just that. But I know me, and I know that if I pin the release date to 3 months from now and the beta notes come in tomorrow, I’ll be kicking myself. So it’ll be up when it’s up. Soon.

In the meantime I’ve been rambling around side stuff – story-world stuff / lore, shorts that may or may not go anywhere, one big side project, etc. I’ll see whether anything’s fit to post between now and the release.