Small Excitements

So I started poking at the Thing With The Goblins yesterday, and realized a couple of important facts.

I’m proud of it.

People who liked Digger may like it.

It’s a novella at best.

It’s never gonna be middle grade or YA or anything like that, which is the only way that 40+K novella gets to be a normal book.

This makes it about as marketable as ringworm in the usual markets. Novellas are just not a great length to work with.

My agent loves it. She’s tried to sell it a couple of times to all kinds of different places, and there is just plain no home for it (barring that moment when I am so wildly famous that people will fight to publish anything I write, which is likely a fictional boundary.)

So, with her blessing, gonna try to self-publish it.

As I’ve said before, self-publishing is awesome at the stuff that self-publishing is awesome at. A small weird story with a small weird audience strikes me as the sort of thing that it’s likely to be awesome at…and while I grit my teeth and whimper at the work involved in Actually Doing All That Pre-Press Crap Myself…at least at the end of it, I’ll be able to talk more sensibly about the process than I do from the “Well, I had this webcomic…” front.

A few notes, before you ask!

1. No release date as yet. Believe me, you’ll know. *grin*

2. Please hold all “Does this mean we’ll see X now?!” questions until the end. I am thrilled that y’all have stories you want to see finished. That’s enormously gratifying as an author. But I have a very very very good career in trade publishing, and it’s the market I default to. And also I may get to the end of the goblin thing and go “Oh god! No! Never again!” We’ll see how hard it is to do right.

3. No, there will not be a Kickstarter. We just took a lot of money in for the Digger omnibus. I’m not asking anybody for money for anything until every single one of those books gets delivered, and that includes Santa Claus.

4. Probably 2.99, maybe 3.99. It’s a novella, after all.

5. Smashwords and Amazon.

6. It will be under a pseudonym. This is purely because “Ursula Vernon” is now known, to over a hundred thousand kids, as a children’s book author, and there’s a real tendency to just buy anything that comes out and assume it will be children’s book stuff. I’ll start censoring myself just in case, and that’s the road to a crappy book.

Plus it’s no bad thing to have a secondary name out there. It’ll be easy to find out that it’s me, it’ll be all over my various sites, it’s not a JK Rowling thing, but it’ll hopefully be a handy genre separation thing. I’m leaning toward something like “T. Kingfisher” that is so obviously a pseudonym that nobody thinks twice about it. (My buddy Mur suggests “T. Supervolcano.” The T stands for “The.” We may have been drunk.)

7. This will be e-book only. Mucking around with print volumes is more trouble than I personally can bear.

8. It will not be illustrated. I illustrate a LOT of books, and I’ll be honest, the joy is harder and harder to find. Given the chance to not illustrate something, I’m inclined to go “Oh god, yes!”

Anyway! So that’s what’s going on here. I’m excited, with a healthy dose of “Oh god, now I finally have to figure out layouts…”


(If anyone has any links to good tutorials on manuscript layout for e-book format, let me know!

13 thoughts on “Small Excitements

  1. tanita says:

    Wow. This is informative on several levels – one, I’ve always thought I’d like a pseudonym, but my editor discouraged me, saying that my name was a “known” and I’d have to fight for recognition and essentially start over writing under a pseudonym. However, I think I agree with your point on self-censoring, and I really think it would be freeing, and I will be giving it some serious thought!

    Secondly, Gail Gauthier will be an invaluable resource on ebook self-pubbing, as she took a book from her backlist recently and did the whole deal herself. She has a lot of knowledge to share, and she’s really open about that.

    Good luck!!

  2. Will "scifantasy" Frank says:

    I do a bit of ebook formatting in my free time–I recommend using Sigil to create the basic epub out of the story, and then converting it to mobi with Calibre.

    (And if you decide to subcontract that work out, email me.)

  3. Mean Waffle says:

    Woot! Story coming! Ahem.

    If you’d like to use either May Padian or Edward Othniel as a pseudonym, you are welcome to them. They’re from a collection of names to be used in stories that I’ve never written. I think they were originally two different species of dinosaur that sounded sort of namelike and so got jinked around.

    I also checked an anagram maker. Ursula Vernon can be rearranged to make both Lunar Nervous and Raven Soul Urn. Those both sound completely fake.

  4. Loweko says:

    If you’re going for T. Supervolcano (and I would buy the heck out of a book with that on the cover, just to put it on the shelves behind my desk and grin as people notice it), I recommend adding a first name. “Thaddeus T. Supervolcano”.

    My friend Mahmoth suggests “Dr Thaddeus X. Supervolcano”, but I cannot endorse the X. T is a funnier middle initial than X.

  5. Uzuri says:

    As a random aside, if you were to be thinking print, Amazon’s CreateSpace doesn’t require anything upfront any more. They must be doing true POD now.

    Shocked me, too. After my little self-publishing foray went out of print I’d looked into putting it out again and their prices had climbs so high that I didn’t bother going back until someone stroked my ego and asked if I had any print copies. Then I got a pleasant surprise.

    (And I second Loweko’s name proposal)

  6. Owlor says:

    Things have changed, hasn’t it? When I first saw your stuff, I mainly knew you as a fantasy artist who occasionally drew cute animals and who joked about how she would never be able to do a childrens book cus it’d end up extremely deranged… Believe me, I am NOT complaining about being able buy book about those cute cartoon animals in actual stores, it’s just curious to think about.

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