To Shelve or Not to Shelve, That Is the Question

Good Morning, Folks! I stand (sit) before you (on your monitors) today to ask a question. Or two. About writing. Specifically, when to admit that you are getting nowhere with your latest WIP.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have the proverbial writer’s block, and I never have had it. Yet. What I have is a bit more insidious in some ways. This is how it’s all been playing out. When I finished the third book in my Wake-Robin Ridge series, I ended on a note that would work if there were no more books forthcoming for Rabbit and his family. I left the ending open so I could write more if I decided to, but I really didn’t plan to. I wrapped things up in a way that gave readers a pretty good idea of what was waiting for the Cole family in the years ahead, then moved on to the 3rd book in my Riverbend series, which I intend to continue for some while, yet.  And following that book, That Darkest Place, I wrote The Emissary, my first novella, as a spinoff of the Riverbend books.

During the interim, I began to get requests for more stories about Rabbit. Lots of them. Okay, then. I figured if that’s what readers wanted, I’d write a 4th book, and I got started on WRR4–about two days before we were slammed by a tornado spawned by Hurricane Irma. Many of you know that normal life around our house came to a screeching halt at that point. We spent more than six months dealing with every headache you can imagine. Weeks of carpenters hammering, electricians cutting the power, and roofers stomping around overhead. And that doesn’t include all the frustrating calls to the insurance company, inspectors, and the like .

tried to keep writing, really I did. But I don’t work well with non-stop interruptions and headaches of every kind for months on end. Suffice it to say that try as I might, I fell farther and farther behind  on my book. I also felt less and less joy in the process of writing, something I’d never had happen before. The end result was that even though I have what I think is a pretty good story to tell, I completely lost my enthusiasm for working on this one. I was plodding through the draft without a shred of joy in my storytelling.

So, I took a few weeks off and reassessed, thinking maybe I should just scrap the whole book and move on with my next Riverbend story. My beta readers (who follow along with my draft, chapter by chapter, and keep me on my toes) weren’t happy with that idea at all. They seem to like what I’ve done so far, so I thought about it some more.

My final decision was to shelve WRR4 for a couple of months and write a second novella in my Emissary spinoff series. The first one was the most fun of anything I’ve written to date and only took me 2 months to go from draft to published. Seemed like a perfect fit, so that’s where I am. I’m starting on The Emissary 2 and after it’s published, will take a look at WRR4 again. Hopefully, taking a break for a couple of months will let me get back to work on it with fresh eyes and a joyful approach to finishing the tale. It has good bones, I think, so that’s what I’d like to do.

My question for you guys (you knew I’d get back to it, didn’t you?) is this: was shelving this book for a couple of months a better plan than just scrapping it? Have you ever come back to a book after taking a break to write something else,  and found you were able to finish it? What about the ones you may have scrapped completely? Do their ghosts haunt you in the dark of night? 

Inquiring minds wanna know. Hope you’ll take a minute and share your thoughts. THANKS!

Help Needed for Author of Children’s Books

I have been asked for help by an author who is ready to publish her first children’s book. She’s interested in self-publishing, and has the finished book with illustrations ready to go, but has no idea what to do next. While I’m very happy with CreateSpace, and could offer her help with them, I’ve read they are not necessarily the best choice for image-intensive books.

Can any of you offer alternative suggestions that I can pass on to this writer? I’d love to be able to point her in the right direction.


Question on Copyright Dates


I know this is probably dumb, but I’d rather ask a dumb question than make a dumb mistake. As you know from my Summer Magic cover post, I’m getting ready to put this collection of poetry out in printed form. It’s been an eBook since 2013. Do I use that as the copyright date for the print book, too, or does it get its own? Seems to me, the material was copyrighted in 2013, and that should be the date, forever, but just in case . . . ?? Anyone? It IS going to be slightly expanded (one or two more poems added, and some bonus material from other books of mine), and that will be done to the eBook, BEFORE I publish the print one. Does any of that make a difference?

#Smashwords and KDP Questions


Question for you authors who publish on Smashwords, or on  Smashwords AND KDP, combined. I’m planning to move my first Wake-Robin Ridge novel from KDP Select to “regular” KDP, so I can permanently reduce the price on the book. I want it to be a “funnel” book to the Wake-Robin Ridge series. I realized that taking it out of Select means I can open it up to other “venues.” I’ve heard good things about combining KDP with Smashwords, and thus getting the book wider exposure.

How many of you have tried this, and can you share your experiences with us here on The Write Stuff? Thoughts, anyone?



Yesterday, I was watching the number of followers on The Write Stuff edge toward 700, and looking forward to seeing it tick over into that area. Today, I got up, took a look to see if it had done so, and found it showing 2, 216 followers! An increase of 1,946 followers, OVERNIGHT. What the . . . ??? Not that I don’t love that new number, you understand. It’s just that I don’t trust it. I can’t imagine what happened after I fell asleep last night that inspired nearly 2,000 more folks to follow my blog.

Anyone ever have anything like this occur? My other two blogs remain exactly where they were yesterday, so I don’t think it’s a system-wide thing. But I do find it pretty strange. Just wonderin’ . . .

Amazon…Anyone Else Having Issues?

I seem to be locked out of anything to do with purchasing books, checking on my sales, or otherwise doing business with Kindle this morning. I can access my book pages, but the options to buy on the right side are gone. When I go to my Sales Report/Bookshelf pages, they aren’t available. The last time I checked, I did get a message that said “Sorry. This feature isn’t available. We’re working to resolve the problem.” So I’m guessing it’s not just me. Wondering how many of you are affected, as well?

Can you buy books this morning?

Marketing Help?


Is anyone interested–or know of someone who’d be interested–in taking over some of the marketing aspects of my self-published books? I simply have not been able to find the time to figure out which advertising is right for me, which email lists I should strive to get on, the best promotions to run, and so forth. I can’t afford a big-time marketing firm, needless to say, but would love to find someone familiar with the best way to go about this, and looking to augment their income with a (very) small account. Anyone have any ideas? I’m open for suggestions, recommendations, and warnings. 🙂 Thanks!

Sound off on Select!

Well, I’ve done it. I’ve delisted my books on D2D and as soon as that’s done going through at all the retailers, I’m going back into KDP Select. Three months is a short term commitment so you wouldn’t think this would be an especially angsty decision, but I think you need to be really careful about bouncing in and out of the other retailers too much. I doubt I’ll go wide again with these books until the series is finished in the spring of 2016.

So what’s your process for deciding whether or not to go Select? What factors do you consider?

Ghostwriting, Anyone?


Hope all you wonderful folk have been having great weekends. Here in central Florida, our two-day brush with winter is over, and temps have risen. It was a really beautiful day today. As was yesterday. Weather was just perfect for my Meet the Author presentation at DeBary Hall Historic Site, and I had a great time. The audience seemed to enjoy themselves, I sold books, signed my hand into a cramp, and met a lot of nice people.

One of the people I met is looking for a ghostwriter for a project that sounds really interesting. It involves a family history, and entails a murder-for-hire plot, with a lot of rather lurid tidbits that would make a great book. She brought along old newspapers filled with headlines, and frankly, done right, it could be an opportunity worth looking into. If any of you are interested, email me offlist, and I’ll put you in touch with this lady. (My contact information is under the About link at the top of the page.)

Now I’m off to finish getting ready for my daughter & grandson to visit this week.  I might be scarce for a few days, but I’ll check in during the evenings. Have a great week!

Another Thought On Freebies & Other Promos

cover at 35%      WWR box set graphic1

By releasing a boxed set of my Wake-Robin Ridge series, I may have boxed myself right into a corner, pun intended. I now have both Wake-Robin Ridge and A Boy Named Rabbit out as individual releases, regular price $4.99. Plus a boxed set of the two for $5.98, which means buyers would be getting WRR #1 for 99 cents.

I don’t have the time or energy (still not back to normal 100%) to do a major launch with blog tours and give-away parties, so I’m going for a more basic KDP Select freebie style promo, at least for now. I made a mistake when I said you have to wait 30 days to offer a new book for free. That only applies to a countdown promotion. So. If I offer Rabbit and WRR both for free simultaneously, I’m negating the point of the boxed set. At least for the duration of the promo. Could be worth it, anyway.

OR…I could offer Rabbit free for those who’ve already read WRR #1,  and the boxed set for free for those who haven’t, and want to read both.

I like this idea better, myself, but I’m wondering if it makes sense to anyone else? To me, it seems like the logical thing to do. And later, I can permanently reduce the price WRR #1 to encourage future readers to start the series. Any thoughts, anyone?