Learning Experiences!

So the new novella has been out for three whole days now, and I have learned a few things, which I will inflict on you in case any of you have ever thought of self-publishing, or in case you already self-publish and want to point and laugh at someone else (or perhaps nod knowingly and reach for the bottle.)

Doing this right is hard.

I have burst into tears once, sulked twice, screamed multiple times, ran out of a coffee shop like my ass was on fire and my head was catching, and uploaded at least six versions to Smashwords.

We shall not number the hard drinks consumed, for yea verily, the path of the author is strewn with dying liver cells.

It may be easier with practice (I hope) or for some other people (I suspect) but seriously, every typo has filled me with burning shame before my ancestors, and I know for a fact some of my ancestors thought “wash” was spelled with an R.

Which leads me to the second point–oh my god, so many errors!

And I was GOOD! I hired a copyeditor and she is a very good copyeditor and caught hundreds of them before they could do more than squirm and hiss on the page! But two people going over something with a fine-toothed comb doesn’t cause perfection.

Now, I sort of suspected that, because hell, there are typos in the Dragonbreath books—the paperback version of Book One has two About the Author pages facing each other, and a whole print run of Digger 2 went out missing a page. So even meticulous professional publications go out with typos. I expected that.

I did not expect how mortified I would be by each one–oh god oh god everybody can see this they will see I am an unprofessional hack who didn’t care enough to go over it enough times to fix it oh god oh god the goblins deserve better than to have me for an author oh god-–and never mind that we DID go over it. (I take all the blame—a couple of the typos were even knock-ons from me having fixed other ones she caught in the final draft!)

This experience actually makes me cringe a bit because “typo-ridden” is so commonly thrown around as one of the big problems with much self-published work and I thought “Ha! I shall be better than this!” and then, oh god, like ten errors. Each one a small, mistyped dagger in my heart.

So, I’m probably less judgy now. That’s probably good. I guess. Or at least I have judged myself.

It’s like being Catholic AND an editor. God help us all.

I have also learned that if I do this again, the day it comes out is a total loss. No work will be done. It will be all putting out fires and tearing out hair. I will make a note of it.

Now, the good bits!

The nice thing about this is how nice everyone has been—y’all have been wonderful about reporting errors without going “Write it better next time, jackass!”

The other nice thing is that it’s fixable. I admit, I did not expect how many updates I’d have to do–I THINK I just sent out the last set, which had an exhaustive list of teeny changes—THANK YOU, DRAGONLADY!—but of course someone could turn up tomorrow and say “Yeah, so, that last update did something weird and Sings-to-Trees is now named “Craw-bob” and all the scenes with the trolls have been replaced with an ad for Liquid Plumber.” And that would be bad.

One nice thing—it earned out quickly and is now making money. (I had about $500 worth of expenses.) So in that regard, it’s a great success–we’re well over 300 copies, which is respectable for three days of self-publishing under a pen-name in a weird little niche market (and yes, I did just call you guys a weird little niche market, but I mean it in the nicest possible sense.) I have high hopes that it’ll crack a thousand. (And we were actually in the top 20 epic fantasy on Kindle for a bit there, so that was neat! Obviously George RR Martin was most of the other 19…)

That said, obviously I’m not throwing over Dragonbreath tomorrow–I mean, Book One is cruising towards the 200K mark at a good clip. Different worlds entirely.

However, it’s actually really gratifying to get this weird little story out there. (Heck, it’s just nice to write for grown-ups again—I am good at writing for kids, but I do occasionally want to start throwing corpses around.)* No, it’s not a huge sum of money (although a few thousand dollars and a long tail is absolutely nothing to sneeze at–a novella that pays the rent for two months and buys me occasional coffee is VERY SUCCESSFUL compared to a novella that lives on my hard-drive and moulders!) but finally I’ve inflicted the goblins on other people. And mostly people seem pleased with it. And that’s pretty cool.

So thank you all for being so patient with the typos and my flailing around like a panicked bird on a window-pane. I hope to do this again soon!

Like…err…next year or something.

Anyway, latest version available at:



and still hoping that it will hit iBooks/B&N/Kobo at some point. (If you can’t wait, Smashwords has many formats available, it’s just a matter of delivery to various devices.)


*Somewhere, my editor just twitched and isn’t sure why.

10 thoughts on “Learning Experiences!

  1. Uzuri says:

    I hear ya on the typos, sister.

    I self-pubbed as a fundraiser for a project I’m on once and was mortified to have a really boneheaded misspelling on page 2.

    The only thing that made up for it is that I’ve only managed to find three errors in the entire book since. But one just HAD to be that early on.

    Thankfully they put us out of print a while back and I fixed the thing in the Kindle edition. But I still only own a first edition. I guess maybe it’s a good exercise in ego deflation or something.

  2. Emily says:

    I read the preview part and I just wanted to let you know that I am gonna buy it. I am *so* gonna buy it, and usually I object to Kindle books, but this one is coming home with me. Soon. Not today, because Reasons, but soon.

  3. Don Hilliard says:

    Ursula –

    Not A Real Author, but someone who’s written a million words in such things as technical specifications for ships in the last decade or so, and I will tell you: It will never be perfect.

    The stuff I write – for pay, anyway – involves things that cost the taxpayers thousands – sometimes many thousands – of dollars, and involves some theoretical risk to people’s lives. And it will never be perfect.

    The “ulp” factor in reading it the tenth time may range from “I could have worded that better” to “OH CRAP THANK GOD THE CONTRACTOR KNEW WHAT I MEANT”, but It Will Never Be Perfect.

    (And I am an almost pre-computer – Dad bought his first when I was 7 – child of the ’70s, who knows what word-processing used to look like and what bits still haven’t caught up 30+ years on. It. Will. Never. Be. Perfect.)

    I have several loved friends who are artists. I have had the conversation with them when they were deciding whether to put a piece in the convention art show. It Will Never Be Perfect.

    And y’know what? That’s OK.

    I can wince at the odd misspelling. I can laugh my ass off at the odd AutoCorrect. (My favorite to this day is the murder mystery wherein the victim died of “loss of blond.”)

    But I can also tell the difference between sloppy and Oops.

  4. Mean Waffle says:

    Ooooo. She called me a weird little niche market. Squeeeee.

    Bought it. Will read it as a reward for meeting deadlines that, um, aren’t quite dead yet. I’ll go and stab them a few more times, now.

  5. Jen says:

    I wish the typos had been more obvious and annoying, I almost froze to death reading this because I was too interested in the story to get up and put on a sweater. 😉

  6. DraggonLaady says:

    You’re absolutely welcome, and just to be clear – none of the typos detracted from the story!

    I can’t wait for the next story you put out! (Well, and for the Digger Omnibus to arrive, I loaned my copies of the paperbacks to my MIL and may never get them back…hah!)

  7. Maggie says:

    I bought it the day it came out–I don’t have a Kindle or anything, so I had to read it on the computer–and I got very little work done that day because despite my best efforts I kept going back to read more! So two thumbs up from me, and I’d love to read more about them!

  8. Pippen says:

    This book was awesome. Thank you. It also really needs a sequel. seriously, I loved this.
    Although I do have to ask, are you even considering finishing up Orc vs Elf, because, cliffhanger! Gack!

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  10. Kristian says:

    This was the first new book I’ve read since I got Pratchett’s Raising Steam. And there was more of the spirit of Pratchett in the first twenty pages of Nine Goblins than in the entirety of Raising Steam. (In case I am being unclear: Loved Nine Goblins. *Niiiice* book. Murr!)

    Regarding the elven veterinarian: Have you been reading Herriot, or do you just have a friend who’s a vet? 🙂

    As for typos, I didn’t see one. Either I was too busy enjoying the book or they’ve all been squashed now.

    Thank you for writing. I don’t have any interest in bird-watching or gardening, but your every blog-post is a joy regardless. Only a few authors I know can write whatever and make you enjoy just their voice in your head: Late Asimov, some of Mccaffrey, Dan Simmons, the aforementioned James Herriot. You have that gift, that skill. May you have long years in which to use it.

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