Category Archives: The Healers’ Road

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.

The Healers’ Home: We are liiiiiive!!


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.

The Medic and the Toymaker Short (1/1)

A short (5,000 words, to me that’s a short) that takes place during the first third of The Healers’ Road. Keifon, the medic, and Baran, the toymaker, seem to be friends, but it’s never really explored in the story. I thought I’d figure out how they got to be that way.

It’s a Keifon POV story from the first third of The Healers’ Road  (between Quickwater Crossing and the first Feast of the Resurrection), so this is angstypants sad. But not hopeless.

Spoilers for a couple of points of THR.

Continue reading The Medic and the Toymaker Short (1/1)

Oh, come on.

Pandora, you did not just serve up “Somebody I Used to Know” while I was working on a prequel scene with Keifon and Kazi. There’s song associations, and then there’s bleeding obviousness. Couldn’t find a song called “Oh No, My Ambitious Ex-Boyfriend is a Giant Bastard Literally and Figuratively”? Give it time, I guess.

Chronology notes and the New Year’s story

The sidebar / progress bar has said “THR 1.5, New Year’s Story, not sure what to do with it” for several weeks now. I think I’ve figured out what to do with it: hang onto it until a few more books are out.

This is probably a bad idea business-wise, but it’s what I think is right story-wise. 1.5 is a long short story / short novella-length interlude between The Healers’ Road and The Healers’ Home, when Agna and Rone meet up over New Year’s (the vernal equinox, in their world) to hash some things out. It’s the closing of the arc of their friendship as it exists in THR, all messed up with ambiguity and misunderstanding and all that dramatic stuff.

Verdict: It would work a lot better after we’ve seen Rone’s story. And while Rone’s story has been outlined for a while and a couple of chapters were included in early releases of THR, I really think the way to go right now is to finish out Agna’s story before jumping tracks. At the very least, THH needs to get out there. Considering the potential events of THR3, we may have to jump back into someone else’s story (Agna’s sister, most likely) and set some groundwork for larger world events before moving on, but the end result is: now is not the time for this particular story.

This is another How Not to Do Indie Publishing, but to be honest, it will happen how it happens or not at all. Someday, the chronology of these stories will be complete, they’ll all gain volume numbers, and one can start reading at the beginning and sail through to the end. In the meantime, we are in a Discworld situation, with arcs following various characters semi-separately from one another. I can live with that.

Three hundred books, five hundred days, lots of words

According to my calculations (?), between ebooks, paperbacks, and the two versions of Kindle Unlimited so far, 300 copies of The Healers’ Road have been purchased and/or read as of this week. (As the owner of a towering TBR stack, I do not expect everyone who’s bought it to have read it already.)

Woohoo? Maybe. Sure, why  not.

Coincidentally, as of yesterday the book is now 500 days old. That feels like forever, in some ways. I’m several weeks into edits on its sequel, and I’ve finished two and a half drafts of another novel* and a few short stories and novellas** since then, along with a boatload of test run / futzing around scenes – “well, this doesn’t fit into a real outline yet, but what would happen if I threw these characters into this situation?”

* as yet unfinished / ** as yet unpublished

Back when I listened to other people, I was told over and over that an indie book has no more than 30 days in its life cycle. You absolutely must hit a particular Hot New Releases chart on Amazon, immediately, and once you slide off it, you better have another book out or nobody is ever going to want to read your stuff again. Because that’s all there is, that one chart. That is the world in which indie books live, and there is no other. Just that chart.

My book is 16 times that age now. It’s apparently a Galapogos tortoise of a book. The weird thing is, though, out of those 300 copies, you know how many were in that magic 30-day window? Ten. So… I don’t know.

I’d still like to write faster, if I could. I’m aware that since I work so slowly, the first year’s worth of THR readers are going to have no memory whatsoever of me or my book. I built that uphill climb with my snail’s pace, and I’m going to have to live with it.

But hey, consider that I started the first proto-drafts of THR in 2006 and finished it in 2014, then wrapped up THH in roughly a year and a half (fingers crossed). That’s over five times faster. If that pace kept up, I’d have another book out in three months. And yeah, that probably won’t happen – but I learn something every time that gets applied to everything that comes after. I guess the goal is to take <1.5 more years to wrap up the trilogy, and then <1.5 years to start the next part, whether that’s Rone’s story or someone else’s.

Where was I. 0.6 copies a day. It’s nowhere near the New York Times list, but it’s still tortoising along.

I am excited and grateful for every blip on my sleepy little graph. I hope every person who takes a chance on my two cranky jerkface characters has a good time, whether they found the book 2 days or 250 days after it was released.

I’m not in any hurry. The books will be there. The journey starts over and over. That’s one thing I love about books.

Upcoming Sale & New Cover

In the continuing adventures of the most haphazard “marketing” “campaign” in publishing, I noticed that I had an available window for a sale on Amazon. So here we go! On January 5-12, 2016, The Healers’ Road will be .99 of the local currency in the US and UK.

I continue to apologize to the rest of the world. As soon as Book 2 is out, I will branch out into other sales channels, which should allow for more flexibility.

Now that the sequel is just over the horizon (really), and in the spirit of why-not-let’s-try-this, I’ve instituted the new cover.

The Healers' Road

I love those colors. LOVE.

The art is by RLSather, and it’s a premade cover from The typography is by my sister, after a couple of weeks emailing back and forth with strong feelings about faux-medieval fonts. I found that I can have deep loathing toward a capital H. However, this is a capital H that I like. (We ended up with MacHumaine for the caps and Wellsley for the lower-case, with some tweaks overall.)

Mind you, this is not one of those “use your family and friends for unpaid labor at random” dealies; she’s a graphic designer in real life, and works with type and graphics  all-day-every-day.

This cover will cover the digital edition; the print edition remains with the horse-and-carriage cover for now. [Edit for fun fact: I think doing this will make Amazon cling to the old graphic. Why it would prioritize Createspace over itself, I have no idea. Since I’ve sold all of 4 copies of the paperback via Amazon, it’s disconnected for now.)

So there we go: new cover, upcoming sale.

This is going to sound bad, but

Aaaahhhhh, so excited.

  1. New-old-new title for THR2, The Healers’ Home. That’s the theme; that’s the title; I cannot be more crafty than that.
  2. New almost-final cover for it, too, now in the sidebar. Cover art by RLSather; typography by my sister, who is so dang talented, seriously why did we not do this earlier.
  3. Relatedly – we have a new cover for THR to harmonize better with the second book, and I am positively gleeful about that one. I am restraining myself from switching out the covers as a bribe to myself to finish the second book. When that’s done, then I can launch both at the same time.
  4. Two beta readers “lined up” for THR2, by which I mean they have said something more or less like “send it when it’s ready.” I am not going to be a jerk about that, but hey, you open that door and I’m going to send it.
  5. Short story / novella between 1 & 2 is going well, and should be ready by the time THR2 is ready. Of course, that’ll need a cover and title too, so cue proverbial screaming and crying.