Tag Archives: Morgidoo’s Christmas Carol

Facing Down A Writer’s Dilemma

©2016 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee

[caption id="attachment_3714" align="aligncenter" width="640"] Part of a little village...Morgidoo's Christmas Carol
'The tiny church on Blister Street'[/caption]    

A Writer's Dilemma


Well, how about that cool winter holiday,  people?

  It was a long, yes, but somehow, it seemed  a whole lot longer. I  have been mulling over  a writer's dilemma...which, sooner or later, like everything important,  must be faced down. Surprisingly difficult  decisions must be made in the writing life. Have you made any lately?

Publishing decisions, that is ... Simple?  No.   A writer's dilemma ,  two less-than-perfect choices, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.  Tough choices.

We have  been totally distracted here at Incoming Bytes.

Distractions put off decisions, but I tend to digress to allow time to think.  Does that happen to you?

  Even for the most savvy of writers hard decisions must eventually be made.  Get to it, a path must be chosen.   We're getting closer.

Let's procrastinate.   Coffee anyone?   See what happens?   Writing is  more than coffee, staring at that damned  cursor, having discussions with the muse,  and petting the pups. Decisions like going independent or renewing existing publishing contracts come up and must be made. To renew or not? To remain with a publisher or not?  Drop anchor, or set sail off into a stiff breeze?  There 'ya go. Decide already. Facing down a writer's dilemma... is much easier said than done.

Here's the thing;  as writers, we collectively desire success; we want  someone, anyone-- to actually buy and read our  novels, whatever we're scribbling.  Being 'out there' pretty as you please on a publisher's website  isn't enough. Reality sucks big time; in the starving writer's attic, dollars pay for bread.

We all dream that readers will  be interested enough to  bust the bank and buy  a real book, —a novel, preferably one  of our own.  Facing reality and the increasing cost of living, writers   dream not only of writing a winner, but of actually being paid, too —a lot more than the unrealistic  pittance called royalties now offered by publishers.  It's a tough game.

In theory the whole process is simple enough; write a great book,   find a great publisher, an insanely insatiable, interested community of readers, and sell, sell sell  to the right demographics, etc. etc...   The book simply has to fill a need and a niche.  It seems simple enough, but is not. 

Your book  must also fulfill  expectations.  Interpretation of your vision, book classification,  publicity, marketing, a timely launch.  All of the above. Your book must  be unique, well-written, formatted, edited, loved and mollycoddled by your publisher...and then sold all the way to the million copy best-sellers list...  Okay.  That's quite a lot to ask.

As an author,  success and financial returns are only one consideration. Future sales potential, future books,  perception of important  friendships, the supportive author community   —and so many other aspects also occur in an author/publisher business relationship. Simple enough?

What is not simple however, is how, or why, publishers make those all-important and critical production decisions made for your book.  Covers, formats,  fonts,  printing, marketing ploys,  write-ups, and ultimately promotions, discount sales, giveaways,  whatever.  Interpretations and decisions out of your control.  Everything a publisher does affects your book;  all of these 'production decisions'  are critical to success. Do some go astray?  We hope not, but, indeed, some inevitably must.

Keep in mind decisions made by  publishers are never   'wrong' from the publisher's point of view or master plan at the time... Good publishers have a vision they would like to see fulfilled— they, too, want success for their authors.  Does that success always happen? No.  Do publishers always make the correct written-in-stone decisions for every author, every book?  As the author, guess what? Only you can decide. In addition,  some decisions don't seem to work—for whatever the reason.

Let's talk about a specific book.  It is a good example.   The publishing contract  simply expired for my Christmas classic "Morgidoo's Christmas Carol, " so all stops are pulled;  it is now  top priority even though Christmas is still 10 months away.    Am I looking closely at all of the options available?  You bet. Including going Indie.

Morgidoo going Indie Well? Why not? I  published the 1st. edition back in 2011 as an eBook. MCC was subsequently picked up by Rocking Horse Publishing for the 2nd Edition (2013). 

Why change now? Two Years later...Sales have not been great.  Why?  For a much-loved Christmas classic written for all ages,  a unique story,  poor sales were certainly not expected, and realistically, the status quo is not going to cut it.    Not enough promotion? Who knows.  There can never be enough promotion for any book by author or publisher.


A  'Look at The Book'  View

 Let's get to it. Out in the market, the contentious square format apparently  labeled this Christmas classic  as  only a child's book —another writer's dilemma —and in fact resulted in negative feedback  to this author.

"Great cover, great story, but..." comes to mind.  Why?  Adults immediately perceive the square format to be a 'kiddie book" product. Subconsciously or not.   The surprising fact is,  adults apparently do not like  square, flimsy, skinny formats which demand table space instead of standing vertically on shelves  'like real books do'  as someone suggested, tongue in cheek.  Miffed upon hearing that possibility,  I did an unofficial experiment.

One of my favourite hobbies is observing people, so during the recent Christmas season, I  stood about and, interestingly, observed that shoppers tend to studiously ignore tables loaded with a great variety of  "square format" books.  "Those are  kid's books", some commented. "They're not real books, and are really overpriced for what you get".   "I don't buy them for my kids. "I don't bother with them." "I don't have kids."  That last comment was reasonable, but the comment  "I hate skinny, square books..." was an eye-opening response received from one shopper.  Verbatim. "...they're awkward to read, and you have to pile them up somewhere."

That said it all.  Fair enough. The square format could potentially be detrimental to the sales of books mature readers might otherwise consider.  In marketing, not a happy thought.

  I thought about that conundrum for quite a while.  Reality is an incredibly steep learning curve.  Learn by making mistakes, and don't get paid for it.

Bottom line,  I was forced to conclude:   "Politically-correct or not, publisher decision or not the square format was likely a bad choice;  perception is everything,  the book-buyer makes the ultimate decision, the customer is always right, yada-yada. Time for reality.


Decision Time. 

As a result, the 3rd Edition  of  Morgidoo's Christmas Carol  will  now  be re-edited, re-formatted to it's original  vertical format, and coincidentally,  will be launched under my own publishing label,  (Whitewood Forge Publishing.)  New cover, new format,  true to the original edition, even subtitled "The Bells of Blister" which was the original file subtitle. But still  new.

You got it. New. Reshaped.  More consumer-friendly.  Will these marketing choices work?  Only time will tell.

Morgidoo's Christmas Carol (The Bells of Blister) will be issued both in print and as a Kindle eBook. Be advised the 3rd. edition will look VERY, very  different.  It will look like the timeless classic it IS...suitable for readers of all ages.

Watch for it...........  Coming soon.

How about that. Another writer's dilemma faced down.

Is that Incoming I hear?

  Photo credit: © 2016 'The tiny church on Blister Street'
Posted in Books, Business, Life, Publishing, Reflections, Uncategorized, Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Cursor Clown

©2015 by Raymond Alexander Kukkee [caption id="attachment_1459" align="aligncenter" width="800"]Mimi & Eunice, “Contribution” Mimi & Eunice, “Contribution”[/caption]

Writing Life:  Technology and the Cursor Clown

  Have you ever noticed how a blank computer  screen stares endlessly back at the writer? It can be mesmerizing, it may even be unnerving, to say the least. The arrogance of technology .  The defiance of the cursor clown. That reminds me.  I'm convinced my old laptop screen, somehow mysteriously still attached to this cranky old Gateway,  has learned to smirk.  As we speak, it has a smirk. That's it.  It's smirking.  Smirking at the dedicated writer, the word-cobbler,  the famous scribbler of great words, the eternal optimist, yes, even the creator of The Fires of Waterland and Morgidoo's Christmas Carol and all varieties of other interesting written stuff. "You jest, I dare 'ya, do it again."   it says. "It's only fiction"  it says.  "Got writer's block, have 'ya?" The cursor clown  blinks, the  computer laughs raucously  and beeps it's approval. Defiance. I don't reply to raucous laughter, taunts, smart-assed comments, or blackmail. "You're dispensable"  I caution, quite firmly too.  I refuse to blink, stirring black coffee, waiting for the inevitable one-line comeback. I might even read the comics while I'm waiting. It seems technology arrogantly defies dreams and aspirations, hastening to trip up even the most stalwart. It may be assisted with a screechy, smoking hard drive and dying battery. The screen, with it's blank face, impenetrable walls and innocent iconic game distractions may be a computer's best ally and defense against arbitrary, timely words, regardless how creative and elegant they may be. Worn-off letters on sticky keyboards, crabby software, updates, and devious social media distractions and icons  all conspire, but the most evil of all must be the cursor clown. The blinking  cursor. That's why it's called the cursor. That must be it. The  nervous, stuttering cursor, the unreliable genetic offspring of respectable, aged,  tapping 2H pencils,  blinks merrily;  a foolish, dancing hooligan with silly grin, top hat, cane and invisible tap-dancing shoes. The invisible clown dances on an invisible banana-peel on the screen,  cane flashing into sight to tease rather than please, offering  little inspiration, not a shred of helpful advice, and fleeting offers annoying as  a buzzing mosquito. Swat. Smack. The cursor clown  may be seen  hastily back-stepping, with a ferocity at times that may have been learned from scruffy, junkyard dogs snapping sandwiches, fingers, and beautiful eligible words out of sight and back into oblivion. Off on, off on, off on....you get the idea. Off on. Off on. Off on. Backspace, delete, bite me, you're it. Surprisingly, a poor imitation of an old-fashioned two-step. The dancing, cursor clown. "I'm on the stage, writer-man, admire me, worship me; feed me again,scribbling person, I dare'ya."  The cursor clown taunts wickedly.   "Where's my spiral notepad and pointy 2H with all the teeth-marks on it?" I ask, most  innocently, of course.   Beep....Silence. Words appear magically on the screen...and remain.... Imagine that...it seems subtle threats work after all... Maybe I'll crank that noisy old pencil-sharpener just a bit too, for good measure...  #   Is that Incoming I hear?        
Posted in Reflections, The Human Mind, Writing Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments