I get a lot of the same questions, but only until yesterday (Feb. 10, 2012) did the proverbial light bulb click on above my head and say: "Grrrrl! You love reading FAQs on other sites, so do yer dang own FAQs section that'll help readers."
So, that's what this is. When I update to add new questions or to add to answers, I'll mark the change somehow. If you want a question answered and it isn't here, check out Potpourri and Potpourri 2. Also email me anytime (yllek_q(at)yahoo(dot)com).
Do you use DRM?
No. I want to make readers' experiences as hassle free as possible.
I want to buy one of your books/some of your books. I wanted to ask you the best way to do it because I want to make sure you get your money's worth. So, where should I buy my copies? The basic answer is: I want you to do whatever is easiest for you. That said, I love that you want to do what might be be best for me. The answers aren't as simple as they might seem and are somewhat different for print and ebook, so I'll address each separately.
Ebook: I have my ebooks in pretty much any e-reader store (Amazon, BN, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, etc.). It is because of Smashwords that I have distribution in the smaller stores, although that distribution takes a bit of time. I don't do a lot of direct e-book sales, but you can certainly get an e-copy from me in any format. Anyway, Amazon has a dang good royalty rate for us indies, and each purchase on Amazon gains me more exposure and ranking (these Amazon algorithms). Amazon also pays monthly. I didn't realize how big this was to me until I waited for Smashwords to pay quarterly. Other than direct sales, Smashwords gives the most proceeds but pays only four times a year. Kobo recently established a self-pubbing program like Amazon's KDP and BN's Pub It, and Kobo pays between 70 percent and 80 percent, so that is good too. However, if I were a customer and wanted a book, Smashwords is where I'd go. How can you beat having the book in a gazillion formats? Barnes and Noble is another other option. Lowest royalties (but still good). BN makes up (perhaps surprisingly) the smallest percentage of my sales, lagging even Amazon DE (Germany). Order from BN if that's what you want, though. I have a Nook, and I like buying directly from stores. So, I order lots from BN. If you buy from Apple, Sony, etc., don't worry, I still get about 60 to 65 percent royalty after Smashwords and the e-store takes its cut.
Print: Direct print sales are what I prefer, although, again, I say do what's easiest for you. My royalties from CreateSpace and from Amazon are still high. If you want to order from a store, do CreateSpace if possible. (All ordering info/links are on the top right corner of my blog.) My print books are also available in expanded distribution (meaning BN and other stores). Libraries and universities can order them.
How can I help you and other indie writers?Thank you so much for wanting to help! Here's a post I did on that (pretty much works for any author, really, but I tried to give this post indie flavor).
Who does your covers?
Joy Argento did "Strange Bedfellows," and I did "The Odd Couple" cover. The others have been a collaboration with me and a woman named Leigh. I'm hoping to have her on the blog soon to discuss her experiences. (Update: Leigh discusses her experiences here.)
Which of your books is your favorite?
Asking an author this is like asking a mama which child is her favorite. Officially, I don't have favorite children. Unofficially (shh shh shh shh), I'd say probably a tie between "Third" and "Waiting."
How do you know when an idea is good enough for a book?
When it claws at me to get out. And if it isn't clawing, chances are it'll be great for one of my short stories. Some of my short stories come when I'm compelled to write something. I sit at the computer for a few hours, and that's enough to get the meat of the short story out. This provides a nice sense of accomplishment compared with the time writing a novel takes.
How do you prevent/overcome writer's block?
This is a popular question. Fortunately, I haven't had to deal with writer's block since the second phase of my writing career started. (I call the first phase the one that started with publication of the first edition of "The Odd Couple" and that ended when rights were returned to me.) I don't see myself having writer's block anytime soon, if ever. Prevention...hmm. I think it's just the mindset. I try to have a clear plan for what I'm writing that day. If I don't, writing a later scene often helps.
What do you like least about being a writer?
Tax stuff. I just want to sit and write, not deal with tax stuff. But at least it means I have enough income coming in to be taxed. That's huge.
In "Third," you write about a polyamorous relationship. So, are you, you know?
I've heard other writers say that many readers tend to think anything to do with sex must be from the writer's personal experience. Makes sense, right? After all, sex is so intimate and close. Other stuff (characters' jobs, other problems, etc.) readers don't automatically think the writer must have experienced. I could be evil and say, "Wellllll, I'll just leave this up to y'all to guess," but no. I'll be nice. I'm not in a poly relationship. Nor have I time traveled into the past.
Taking risks/writing about risky or taboo subjects seems to be your forte. Most writers would not take the risk because of sales. How did you decide to take that risk?
I'd never seen it as a risk. (I do now, a bit, but then I also see it as a pro.) First, let me explain why I never saw it as a risk. I write what I feel compelled to write (what claws at me). That's what I HAVE to write. If I try writing other stuff, it won't work. So, for me, idea is #1, sales is #2. I never imagined "Strange Bedfellows" would be seen as risky, but to some people, it was. I read lots of gen fic, including stories from so-called bad guys' POVs. What other people might see as a risk, I don't. One author said she knew the "Miss Lucy Parker" collection would cause controversy because of a few stories in it. This caught me by surprise because I'd never thought the collection would be seen as controversial. Thought-provoking, yes, but controversial to the point of outrage? I didn't think so. But, yeah, it did. In the lesfic community only, and it's a gen fic collection. Now I know if I write these types of stories again, I have to promote more selectively.
I believe "Third" is the first book I came into consciously aware of the risk. "Third" hasn't sold too well so far, although it's gotten good reviews. I'm hoping it just needs time to catch on. If it doesn't, I have strategies I'll use to help it pick up a bit more steam.
Now to explain the pro part. I've carved a nice niche for myself as a writer who blends serious issues into romance. I like putting characters into situations in which you'd think: "No way could they fall in love," and yeah, they do. Convincingly, too.