Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Breaking Out (Or Not)

I got about a quarter of the way through the major surgery phase of revisions on the book yesterday, but this is the easy part because it's mostly the section that I submitted to the publisher, so it was pretty polished. And at the end of the day, I realized that I'd forgotten to add or fix a couple of the things I'd planned. I guess it's a good sign that I got so caught up in the story that I forgot about those things. Today I'll do that backtracking and then see how much more I can get to before choir practice. At least I don't have children's choir tonight.

I'm having my usual bizarre transition to Daylight Saving Time. The clocks have moved ahead, so everything feels an hour earlier than it says on the clock. And yet I've moved even earlier. I'm going to bed earlier and waking up earlier, and I'm getting more things done earlier in the day. I guess summer time fits closer to my regular body clock. I sleep later on Standard Time because when I naturally wake up, it feels too early to be getting up, so I go back to sleep and go through another sleep cycle before I wake up. During Standard Time, when I get sleepy earlier in the evening, it seems too early to go to bed, so I force myself to power through and get a second wind. Now, it seems like a reasonable time to go to bed when I get tired, and it's a reasonable time to get up when I wake up. And then through the whole day I feel like I have more energy, so I get more done.

The response to my Enchanted, Inc. series reread has been fun to see. It seems a lot of people love these books. And yet, they're still rather obscure. The major genre-related web sites haven't covered them or me. I've noticed in various fantasy-related groups that they're seldom mentioned when people are asking for authors or books that mine would fit into. I think some of that is on my original publisher because they didn't treat these books like fantasy, and so they didn't make much effort to promote them to that audience. It does seem as though fantasy readers who find them really like them, but a lot of my readers aren't the typical fantasy reader. I go to a lot of science fiction conventions, and my books seem to be popular there, but that doesn't seem to have spilled out to create any kind of overall fandom buzz, and I don't really know how to fix that. It's even harder now that the first couple of books are more than ten years old. Even if there were a new book, the major book news sites that didn't cover the earlier books aren't likely to cover the new book, and they're not going to get into a first book in the series that's ten years old. Still, the series keeps plugging away, and the first book is usually my highest-ranked book on Amazon at any given time.

It's been interesting going back and re-reading Once Upon Stilettos. I wrote the first draft of that book in the fall of 2004, did revisions in early 2005, and did copy edits in fall 2005. As a result, it's now been long enough since I wrote it that I can almost read it as a reader without trying to mentally edit it and without being constantly conscious of having written it. And at risk of sounding egotistical, I have to say that man, this book is good. The voice is strong, the writing just snaps and sparkles, and there are so many good moments. This book isn't usually top of mind for me. It's sort of a middle child of books, but when I really think about it, it may be my favorite thing I've written so far. I'm rather surprised, looking at it now, that this wasn't a breakout book that made the series really take off. It got up-front bookstore placement and was even in Target (though in small enough quantities that in my neighborhood store, it sold out within days and was never restocked). So I'm not sure what happened, but to me, being able to put aside my writer hat, this reads like a breakout book that should have just exploded and propelled the series to another level.

On the other hand, a lot of "breakout" books from that same time period are out of print, and this one is still selling well enough that I can't get the rights reverted.

I guess the answer is to keep plugging away, and maybe someday something I write will hit whatever magic formula that makes it break out, and that will then spread to everything else I've written.

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