Archive for February, 2010


How much would you pay?

Sorry for the lack of a post earlier this month — I was, at the time, scrambling to finish a draft and send it away before the approaching deadline made my head explode.  (Funny, how internally-set deadlines are worse for me than external ones.)  But now that’s off and away, I can step away from one fictional world (and immediately start tinkering in a new one), and, having sent the manuscript off at the end of last week, I can finally relax . . .

. . . just in time for the whole Macmillan/Amazon debacle.

A lot of people have already written more cogent and informed posts on the subject, and at the moment it appears that the wrangling stage has passed.  But because some of this centered on what the two different companies wanted to charge for eBooks, it’s got me thinking about a side tangent.  (Yes, I do this a lot — grab a marginally-relevant idea and run with it, maybe knitting it back into the original problem later on.)

Specifically: what makes you willing to spend more money on a book?

For a long time I refused to buy hardcovers — not because of the price, but because I was moving a lot, and every large heavy book I bought would be one more large heavy book that I’d have to pack, carry, and unpack.  Not to mention the everpresent problem of shelf space.

Even then, though, I’d shell out money for certain hardcovers when they came out.  Usually it was for one of two reasons: I’d been craving the next in a series and didn’t have the patience to wait at the library (or beg whatever friend had bought the book and then emailed me to gloat), or I’d fallen for an author’s style and trusted this new book to be worth price and weight both.

Now that I’m a little more settled and have more discretionary income, I’m more likely to pay more for a book regardless of whether it’ll fit in another box (or even on the shelves…again).  But there’s a weird sort of mental calculus that comes into play when deciding whether to buy the hardcover/paperback/trade paperback, and I’m not entirely sure what feeds into it.

For example, I’ll buy manga even after I’ve read the entire series online, so the excuse of  “must know what happens next!” that feeds my series-buying doesn’t enter into it.  I could say that it’s a desire to give my business to this author in gratitude for her work, but somehow I doubt that sort of noble impulse is more than a later rationalization.

Some of it has to do with how familiar I am with the author’s work, how likely I am to reread this book (very likely, most of the time) and whether I’ve been wanting more in this series.  For books by an author whose work I love and whose style I know I’ll come back to repeatedly, I’ll shell out full hardcover price — and it’s possible I’d even pay more.  For books that I loan out again and again, I’ll buy more than one copy, just so when I get the urge to read it I won’t have to figure out which of my friends currently has it. (I’ll only do this with paperbacks, though.)

What about you?  What makes you wait for the paperback, purchase the hardcover, go for the deluxe foil-stamped limited edition?  Hell, what makes you more likely to wait at the library or pick it up used?  And if you’ve started at the library or used book store, what will make you buy a new copy?


A day in the life of someone who (ahem) “doesn’t work”

Someone recently said to my husband something on the order of, “Well, your wife doesn’t work…”

Needless to say, my reaction when he shared this with me this was something along the lines of MUSTSTABKILLSLAYOMFGWTF???

Ahem. After I calmed down a smidge (and, trust me, a smidge isn’t very much at all) I considered the reasoning for the REALLY STUPID AND RIDICULOUS remark. I mean, after all, I don’t actually GO anywhere for work (except for the occasional convention, though those have been referred to as my “vacations”. Yes, more STABKILLSLAY moments ensued.) I sit at home on my butt (why, yes, that’s usually how one sits) and “play” on the computer. And, my writing-related income has been approximately $0.00 since last July thanks to the change in publishers. (Though, since the new contracts were sent back a few weeks ago, that should change very soon. Whew.)

So, since I’m not allowed to do any actual stabbing and slaying and killing, I’d like to go into what my normal weekday has been like this past month (and will likely continue to be through most of February.)  See, I have a deadline of March 1st for the third Demon book, which is contracted to be approximately 100K words. (Let’s just say that I’m not there yet.)


Wake up 5:30am. Let the dog out. Make coffee and toast. Get the newspaper. (Doesn’t this sound so homey and domestic?!) Drink coffee, eat toast and read paper for twenty minutes. Check email and do my blog-surfing for about half an hour. Wake the Kid and get her ready for school. Walk the Kid to the bus stop. Put the Kid on the bus, walk home. Have conversation with the husband, then kick the husband out of the house (nicely!)

By this time it’s about 8am. Respond to emails that have to be responded to. Open the file for Book 3 and skim through what I was doing the day before. Find my notes on what scenes still need to be written. Get more coffee. Start writing. Oh yeah, breakfast would be nice.

Get more coffee. Write some more. Oh, crap, it’s 10:30 already? Grab a snack. Let the dog out. Get more coffee. Respond to more emails that need to be responded to. Ignore the phone for all but a select few phone numbers. Look at the scary white board with the To-Do list on it that says “Promo stuff for Blood of the Demon.” Oh crap, I have a release coming up and I’ve done NOTHING. Also on the To-Do list is “Answer interview questions for [various blogs.] Oh, double crap. Coming up with witty and interesting interview answers takes me hours, and I’m too stressed about the status of book 3 to be willing to take the time out to do those right now. Maybe tomorrow. No, really.

It’s noon? How the hell did it get to be noon? Make another pot of coffee. Heat a can of soup up. Look at what I wrote this morning and decide that maybe it doesn’t suck too hard. Dive in to the next scene that needs work. Write some more. Snarl at dog for interrupting me simply because he has to pee. Why the hell can’t he use the cat box like the rest of the animals in the house?

2pm. Wow. Have managed to write almost 3000 words. Makes up for the day before when revisions of the previous chapter gave me a negative total for the day. Pour last cup of coffee that I can have and still maintain any hope of getting to sleep tonight. Go back through previously written stuff and realize that there is a Giant Gaping Plot Hole of Doom. CRAP! Fret and fume. Look at the clock and realize that it is too late in the day to start a total plot overhaul (which involves the majority of my living room wall, a lot of butcher paper, and many different colors of sharpies) because at 3pm I need to stop writing so that I can ride my stationary bike for half an hour before showering (yeah, haven’t done that yet) and then leaving at 4pm to go pick the Kid up from aftercare and take her to her karate. Bring laptop to karate and work on edits while Kid is doing her class. Come home and accept that there won’t be any uninterrupted time to write for the rest of the day.

Do evening stuff with Kid and Husband. Tell myself that I’m going to get to sleep by 9:30 so that I can get a full night’s sleep. Actually get to bed around 10:30. Lie awake for half an hour worrying about the Giant Gaping Plot Hole of Doom.

Wake at 5:30..

 But, y’know, I don’t actually work.