More POD

One of the cool things that I saw at Dean’s workshop was books, a lot of books, from the other writers in the workshop.  Several people brought their POD paperbacks to show Dean.  Of course, that first night, I smacked myself in the head because I had intended to do the same, but forgot to pack the proof copy of Masters.  Fortunately, my better half is the bomb, and she mailed it to me so I could show off also.  🙂

A couple of those writers had long novelette/short-novella length books in POD.  That made me do a double-take because I had not really thought of putting such a short length book in print.  But turns out, it’s totally doable.  Dean broke out one of his Poker Boy short story collections, priced at $7.99 if I recall correctly, to show us how he did it.  Here was a book with five stories, about 15,000 words plus or minus, in a nice tight print edition.  Add in Mark Fasset with his Zombies Ate My Mom novella in print and I had a revelation.

There is no reason I can’t put out shorter length works in print as well.  And I damn well ought to.

So I decided to get A Jar Of Mixed Treats out there and, once I hear back from Writers of the Future about The Champion, put out my four novelettes as a print and ebook collection.

Today, I worked on A Jar Of Mixed Treats.  After going through the learning curve with Masters of the Sun, it only took me an hour or two this afternoon, in between kid interruptions, to get the interior layout and cover created.  Here’s the cover.  It’s simple, but then it doesn’t need to be fancy.  And I like simple.

It’s thin, just 80 pages in 5in x 8in format.  But it’ll work.  And that’s one more thing in print, which is a good thing.

I expect to have the files approved in the next day or so, and get the proof around the end of the week or early next week.  Pretty cool.  🙂

What’s cooler is that as soon as I finish Grandfather’s Pendant and hear back from Writers of the Future about The Blob On the Rock (Assuming I don’t win the contest.  Hey, stranger things have happened, right?) I’ll have another five stories that I can put into a collection.  And I’ll be able to make a collection of ten as well.

There are a few other stories lurking around that I’m working on too: the cop story I started a while back and The Wattery Tart, to name two.  And the longer heist story that I began and then sidelined last summer.  I should probably get back to them, now that I think about it.  But they’re mysteries, not SF or Fantasy, so they’ll go under a different pen name, Alex Mariner, which is the name I’m using for The Billionaire’s Daughter, which I finished during the workshop.  So before long I’ll have a collection ready to go under a different name in a different genre, too.

I tell you, the possibilities are limitless.  🙂

Right.  Back to writing.  Or something.

0 thoughts on “More POD

    1. Totally worth it to do so. You can also do Emergence and Shackled as one, and put all your short stories together in one as well. There’s a large percentage of the marketplace that buys (and will continue to buy) print. No reason not to go after them, IMHO.

  1. I just read your recent blog. I have two comments.

    One pen name is enough, isn’t it? I love the Michael Kingswood, name. It sounds so solid, powerful, like a successful writer. Why water down your name recognition, your identity? You are a great writer, regardless of the genre. I think you should be known as the great that can write anything and everything you want, versatile writer not a name quilt.

    Well, I forgot the second comment, for now. It may come to me again. Then, I will share it.

    But, really, I think you should stick with Michael Kingswood!

    1. It’s a marketing and branding thing.

      Why does Toyota have Toyota and Lexus? Why does GM have Cadillac, Chevrolet, Lincoln, and all the others? Why does Marriott have Spring Hill Suites, Residence Inn, and The Ritz Carlton (among others)? When you buy a Toyota or Chevy, or get a room in Spring Hill Suites, you expect a much different product than if you buy a Lexus or Lincoln, or get a room at The Ritz Carlton. It’s about setting customer expectation properly and thus having greater customer satisfaction.

      Kingswood writes Science Fiction and Fantasy. Including graphic horror or romance or mystery/police procedurals would dilute the brand of the pen name. Hence the need for others. Not everyone goes that route; some writers just say screw it and write it all under one name. But many (most?) of the most successful have different pen names for different genres, so as to not confuse the reader about what they’re buying.

      1. “But many (most?) of the most successful have different pen names for different genres, so as to not confuse the reader about what they’re buying.”

        I disagree. Pen names originally came around for mid-list authors. When a publisher wanted to drop an author due to low sales, no matter the next book, the author had a difficult if not impossible time getting re-signed. They submitted under pen names not to distinguish themselves in another genre (in fact, most authors submitted under the SAME genre), but to have a chance at getting published again. The pen name let them be “new” instead of “that writer with low volume sales”.

        Female writers also choose sexually ambiguous names (huge example: J. K. Rowling), because (especially in non-romance genres), men are more readily published. Rowling even admits she used her initials to increase her chances of being published.

        In newer instances, publishers want a pen name that is easily searchable. Michael Kingswood is a strong name. It’s easy to remember, and easily searchable. A name like Celine Stryzkowski, however, would be difficult to search for.

        Your above quote implies a majority of literature is written by a few authors with multiple pen names. It’s like casting a stone into a deep pond: You can tell me you did it, but until I see it, I have a hard time believing. Yes, some successful authors use multiple pen names. Yes, this can help brand and differentiate. Yes, some very big names have and are known to have multiple pen names. No, I don’t think everyone does it. I also don’t think many (traditional) authors publish outside of one or two genres. That’s not to say that’s not changing with indie pubbing.

        I also agree you shouldn’t start another pen name. I think you should be more concerned about building a good portfolio of solid works, than what “name” is shown. The only time I think a pen name is particularly appropriate, is when you write romance and non-romance. Buying into the romance category (or specifically not buying romance) is a very definite set of people!

        1. “Your above quote implies a majority of literature is written by a few authors with multiple pen names.”

          Well I certainly didn’t mean to imply that. 🙂 My bad there. I was only trying to talk about a reason why a person would voluntarily adopt a second pen name. Not the forced-into-it reasons you mentioned. 🙂

  2. Also I wanted to add, pen names are for very rapid writers. Publishers don’t move quickly and there is still a stigma that writing “quickly” equates to “poorly”.

    And an addendum: I said they originally came from mid-list authors, which is not to say they originated there, but became significantly popular.

    Sorry to hijack your thread.

  3. I’m in the process of formatting long novellas (30k-40k) into print and I’ve been surprised how much of a spine they had when I was designing the cover. It’s exciting to know even work shorter than a novel can see the light of day as a printed book. 🙂

    Your cover looks nice. Simple and to the point.

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