I have been away and back, have seen houseguests come and go, and over the last week pitched myself back into my work with some vigor. Catching up on crits, on plans—I finally booked my flights for Readercon—and most of all, trying to write.
I say trying because I am pushing myself through the first draft of the last novelette I had wanted to get done this year. First drafts are both wonderful and difficult, and towards the end they just become difficult, as the thing both takes shape and shows its rough patches, and you start anticipating how you’re going to end the damn thing . . . I’m guessing that right now I’m 3/4 of the way through, and during the last week or so of trying to push on it I’ve written a separate 2k story and a guest post for a blog, read innumerable web pages about anything and nothing, weeded half the garden, and took my first dip into the self-publishing waters.
If nothing else, at least I’m productive in my procrastination.
Behold: a tale of two covers:
“Clotho” came out about a year ago in Niteblade; more importantly, though, it was the first story I published when I started writing again . . . in a small anthology called Orbital Hearts that promptly folded a few months after appearing. 😉 All the ups and downs of publication at once!
The story is dear to my heart, and yet it comes from a much earlier time in my writing—I wrote the rough draft about eleven years ago now. It looks a little out of place with my later work, so I don’t think it will ever make it into a collection; as such, it seemed the perfect thing to play around with. I had tried publishing an even older story a couple years back, but this one felt more promising, more in keeping with an overall career path.
So why two covers? Nudity. I prefer the cover on the left, which is still on the Amazon version (more about Amazon in a sec); but I went to tweak something on the Smashwords version and it got flagged for nudity. “No floppy bits” they kindly told me. This is annoying as it’s not pornographic to my mind, but a good artist should be able to work within constraints, so I came up with what is hopefully a tolerable alternative.
As for Amazon. I wanted “Clotho” to be permafree; for one thing, it’s already available on Niteblade, and for another, well, we’re in an odd cultural moment where all the old ideas of how much to pay for art are up in the air, and at this point audience is worth more to me than a few dollars. However, you cannot simply make something free on Amazon. As I understand it, you put it up and then you point out to Amazon that it’s cheaper elsewhere (free, in fact) and if you can get their attention they will lower their price to match the competition. So if you want to read “Clotho” on your Kindle, and don’t want to pay the buck because no one else is, you can tell Amazon about other places it’s free. It’s not yet through the Nook and Kobo processes, but it’s up at Apple now:
Or you can just go to Smashwords and grab the mobi there:
Overall the process has been . . . interesting. A lot of little pieces I hadn’t anticipated, but also nicely familiar—all those years working in publishing, they were good for something. Too, it gives me an idea of what I would want to do, need to do really, should I start putting things out there for money.
But one step at a time, one step at a time. As is the case with all this writing business.