The following is a guest post (and part of the blog tour for her self-published novella that I’ll introduce at the end) by my good friend and fellow editor, Cait Spivey. It’s excellent information, as usual, but stay tuned after the post for some special announcements and cool reveals regarding Cait’s non-editorial efforts. I don’t want to take up too much space, so without any more preamble, here’s Cait!
Serial to Series, and Self-Pubbing by Accident
by Cait Spivey
I always considered myself a traditional publishing kind of girl. I figured I’d be happy to do a little marketing, get myself out there to events, and schmooze, but would prefer to have the support of a press to help me along. Self-publishing was fine and dandy, but not my speed.
Fast-forward a year or so into my publishing journey. I’d been querying a high fantasy to agents – -angling for that New York deal — with good interest but no contracts, and working on some other side writing projects. A sci-fi inspired by the “what if the Doctor were female?” question. And a little story about a girl being stalked by spiders.
I liked this little story. I liked the main character, Erin, whose voice came to me so easily. I’d originally planned it to be a full-length novel, but as I wrote, it became clear that this wasn’t a novel. It was the groundwork for something much larger.
So I finished it at almost 17,000 words, and wondered what the hell to do with it: too short to query, too long to be a short story. I thought about cutting it down and sending it to literary magazines, but there was no way to cut 10k words without completely changing the story. I thought about expanding it, but the ending was utterly fixed to me, and while I could have come up with more to pad the rest, it would have become out of proportion to the climax.
One of the presses for which I edit, Curiosity Quills, offers a few serials through their website, as does Kisa, my gracious host for today, and a number of other writerly friends I’d made. So I got the idea: why not put my spider story on my own blog? Otherwise, it was just going to sit rotting on my hard-drive.
I mocked up a little cover featuring a beautiful spider photographed by my friend Jo (http://thebrokenshelf.com/), scheduled all nine posts, and off we went. As the end of the run drew near, I thought it might be nice to have the whole thing available for download, as like a pdf or something. So this past March, I formatted I See the Web, made myself a less spider-rific cover that better represented the story, and uploaded it to Smashwords for free download when the serial run was over.
Then I realized: I’d self-published it.
And I’d done so with barely a scrap of marketing or other pre-launch build-up. Still, the book was downloaded pretty steadily, so after about a month of having the book up for free, I published it to Amazon through KDP and changed the price to $0.99.
I turned away from I See the Web and focused on other projects for a little while, but my little novella was still out there, still trucking along. As those other projects got more serious and as I made definitive decisions about my goals for the future, I decided it was time to come back and give Erin her due. If I wanted the book to do well, and if I wanted to bring attention to the sequel I was writing, I needed to give a proper marketing effort.
The result is this blog tour and cover reveal.
To say it’s been a learning experience would be an understatement, and if I can impart any advice, it would be this: have a plan ahead of time. While my experience with I See the Web has pretty much worked out, the past few months would no doubt have gone a lot better sales-wise if I’d thought ahead, made deliberate choices, and set specific goals.
Another important piece of advice: don’t treat any of your work as a throw-away. The reason I didn’t do much planning with I See the Web is because I thought it was going to be just a one-off, something unconnected to the rest of what I wanted to accomplish. Totally untrue! Not only is it my first published work, a place nothing else can ever supplant, it’s also become the anchor for a far-reaching series of loosely connected books, novellas, and short stories within The Web’s universe. While reading I See the Web won’t be necessary for any of those other stories, it will add to those reading experiences.
There are plenty of publishing paths available to authors these days and, for the most part, one is not better than any other. It may take some time to decide which one is right for you and your project, and that’s okay. But you can’t let publishing sneak up on you.
Pretty sound advice, no? I think a lot of us (myself included) could benefit from her lessons. I know I have a tendency to forget about certain projects, deeming them less worthy than others of time in the limelight and/or love. But she’s right; they’re all part of my writing career and deserve the respect of my attention.
But I promised goodies and reveals, and since I don’t have any for my own work that you don’t already know about, I’m happy to introduce you to Cait’s. First, here’s the information and buy links for I See the Web:
Seventeen-year-old Erin has a lot to look forward to, even if it suddenly seems like everywhere she turns there’s a spider staring at her. She’s finally out to her friends and family, surprising exactly no one. When Dawn, the love of her tender teenage dreams, corners her in the library, a whole new world opens up to Erin. From here on out, it’s all make-out sessions with her beautiful girlfriend in rooms stacked high with books.
Until the spiders start whispering.
Turns out the spiders aren’t just stalking her for kicks. They need her to be their voice, their vessel, whatever that means. But their timing is crap, because there’s no way Erin is giving up her human life just when things are starting to get amazing. Too bad the spiders just won’t quit. Like it or not, Erin will have to choose, and it won’t be nearly as easy as she thinks.
And now, I’m thrilled to help reveal the cover for I See the Web‘s highly anticipated sequeal, A Single Thread:
It’s been two weeks since Morgan Fletcher’s little sister, Erin, disappeared before his eyes in a flurry of spidersilk and blood. Probability says she’s dead; but when Erin comes to him in a dream, Morgan’s eyes are opened to a level of reality where probability doesn’t mean jack. His sister sees the web of time, and she’s got news for him: trouble is coming.
A cryptic riddle and flashing images of the future are all Morgan has to go on in order to save a mystery boy from a gruesome death. That’s if he even believes what’s happened to Erin. Is her spider-whisperer persona for real, or has his grief at losing her caused him to totally crack?
With a life at stake, Morgan isn’t taking any chances. Madness or no madness, he has to solve Erin’s riddle before it’s too late.
Releasing October 31st, 2014
And, because that’s not enough to convince you that Cait’s awesome and you should totally go support her, here’s a ridiculously amazing book trailer for A Single Thread: